Rethinking Scribal Performance: From Medieval Manuscripts to Kalevala and Current Poetry

–– Frog (University of Helsinki)

‘Scribal performance’ developed as a way to talk about variations introduced into medieval or ancient manuscripts based on a scribe’s tradition-based knowledge. I revamp and theorize it to approach the performance of a traditional form of verbal art through a written medium. The approach is illustrated through a variety of cases, including a 17th-century boom in copying long-dead poems, encoding them with performance rhythms and sometimes collapsing the boundary between copying and composition; Elias Lönnrot’s ever-transforming epic Kalevala, based on oral poetry; and current oral poets transcribing recordings of their performances. Conclusions consider academic editing and digital discourse.

Part of 03-14 Text, Translation, and Documentation, Thursday, October 13, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm