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Intertextuality and Assyrian Royal Texts: Theory, Methodology and Case Studies

  • Johannes Bach, University of Helsinki
Wednesday 21 November 2018
P.N. van Eyckhof 3
P.N. van Eyckhof 3
2311 BV Leiden

The talk will address various issues pertaining to structural intertextual research of Mesopotamian literature, specifically Assyrian royal narrative texts. Firstly some modern day theories on inter- and transtextuality will be introduced and discussed briefly, with a short evaluation of their usefulness, respectively: applicability. The theory of transtextuality by GĂ©rard Genette will be discussed in more detail, since it is the most useful approach to the subject. Next, the talk will focus on the subject of architextuality and genre formation (form, mode and content) and highlight some developments of the so-called narrative form of Assyrian royal narratives texts (narratorial perspective, focus, distance, narrative content). After this, the talk will focus on a 5-step methodology for a structural study of inter- and transtextualities, and elucidate on every step with a row of examples.

In the second half of the talk two case studies will be presented. The first case study discusses allusions to the Gilgamesh epic under the Sargonids, and analyses prominent intertextualities following the scheme presented in the first half of the talk. The first case study will focus on the texts "Sargon's Eighth Campaign" and "Esarhaddon's Apology", and will try to show how a new way of presenting royal identity was established by using intertextual methods. The second case study discusses a specific part of the so-called "Underworld Vision of an Assyrian Prince" as well as this text's connection to the Gilgamesh epic, and offers a comparative evaluation of its poetics, essentially declaring parts of the text as a form of "Ancient Science Fiction".

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