Lauri Honko in collaboration with Chinnappa
ISBN 951-41-0814-0 (hardback)
42 euros (hardback)
Lauri Honko in collaboration with Chinnappa Gowda, Anneli Honko and Viveka Rai: The Siri Epic as performed by Gopala Naika. Part II.
ISBN 951-41-0816-7 (hardback)
31 euros (hardback)
|Mr Gopala Naika is one of the many talented singers of oral epics in Tulunaadu, the land of Tulu speakers in southern Karnataka, India. The Finnish-Indian team, Prof. Lauri Honko and Ms Anneli Honko, M.A., from the University of Turku and Prof. Viveka Rai and Dr Chinnappa Gowda from the University of Mangalore, documented his 15,683-line performance of the Siri epic on audio and video tape in December 1990. Only five lines shorter than the Iliad, this purely oral epic, published in Tulu and English, constitutes a point of comparison for researchers interested in the making of oral epics. At the same time it is a tribute to the rich oral poetry in Tulu, a Dravidian language, and the vigorous epic traditions still to be found in many parts of India.
In the brief introduction the vicissitudes of the Oral Epics Project, supported by the Academy of Finland and the Alfred Kordelin Foundation, Helsinki, are outlined. The cultural background, fieldwork on oral composition and textual problems encountered in the transcription and translation of the Siri epic and the nature of “oral text” in general are brought into focus.
The primary oral textualisation and the secondary written codification of the epic are described in detail in a separate introductory volume (FFC 264), which expands to account for the complex religious and profane contexts of epic performances in Tulunaadu. Eleven earlier cases of textualisation, from Lönnrot and Radloff to Johnson and Smith, are reassessed from the methodological point of view. Several core problems of tradition research are discussed, and new concepts, such as “mental text” and “multiform”, are introduced for the analysis of oral composition. Folkloristics, comparative religion, ethnopoetics and comparative research on epics are pooled in this piece of “textual ethnography”.