Homer in Albania: Oral Epic and the Geography of Literature

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare's engagement with the work of the Homerist and folklorist Albert Lord. This discussion is prefaced by a review of cross-disciplinary shifts in the understanding and definition of epic in the 20th century, and the effect that these shifts had on the relationship between literature, oral epic, and Homeric poetry. Turning to Kadare, the chapter explains some of the ways in which Lord's research inspired Kadare's novel The File on H through its different Albanian, French, and English incarnations. In particular, it suggests that Lord's research on Serbian epic and its relationship with Homer enabled Kadare to sidestep the conventional canon of Western literature, but that this same strategy of appealing to Lord's work also serves to inscribe Kadare's own work within mainstream European literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHomer in the Twentieth Century
Subtitle of host publicationBetween World Literature and the Western Canon
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191711602
ISBN (Print)9780199298266
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • African epic
  • Albert lord
  • Ismail kadare
  • Milman parry
  • Serbian epic
  • The file on H


Dive into the research topics of 'Homer in Albania: Oral Epic and the Geography of Literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this