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Yamamoto, Kumiko (2000) From storytelling to poetry: The oral background of the Persian epics. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The present work examines the role played by oral tradition in the evolution of the Persian (written) epic tradition, which virtually began with the Shadhname of Ferdowsi (ShNF). The text is also the culmination of a long development that stretches back into ancient times. In the process of transmission of narratives, both writing and oral tradition are assumed to have played a role. While Ferdowsi's written sources have been studied, the influence of oral tradition on his work remains largely unexplored. In order to explore oral influence on the ShNF, the thesis suggests a new approach. Based on formal characteristics of naqqali (the Persian storytelling tradition as it is known from later times), a set of criteria is proposed to demonstrate the extent to which a written text shows structures which could be explained as deriving from oral composition, here called "Oral Performance Model" (OPM). The OPM consists of formal and thematic criteria. The former consider whether a text can be divided into a sequence of instalments, and the latter examine how instalment divisions affect the thematic organisation of the story. By applying the OPM to the ShNF, it becomes clear that Ferdowsi used techniques associated with oral storytelling. Such findings on the ShNF throw new light on the later epics, which are not only influenced by the ShNF as a model but are also influenced by oral performance. To demonstrate this, the OPM is applied to the Garshaspname of Asadi (GN). While oral performance continues to influence the structure of the text, it is also clear that literary elements play a greater role in the GN than in the ShNF. Despite his literary ambitions, Asadi displays his implicit dependence on oral performance, which seems to have fundamentally shaped his perception and appreciabon of heroic stories.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:14

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