The Formula in Oral Poetry and Prose | College of Foreign Languages and Cultures of University of Tartu

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Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
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    Lossi 36–301, 51003 Tartu
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    Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
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Faculty of Science and Technology
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Vanemuise 46–208, 51014 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46–208, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
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    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
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  • Institute of Physics
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    Ravila 14a, 50411 Tartu
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    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
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  • Tartu Observatory
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  • Institute of Technology
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    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
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    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Institutions
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Support Units
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    Faculty address: 
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    Faculty address: 
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  • Marketing and Communication Office
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    Faculty address: 
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    Faculty address: 
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Other Units
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  • University of Tartu Press
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
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  • University of Tartu Foundation
    Faculty phone: 
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    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • View all other units

Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2, rooms 116–121, 51005 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116–121, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5651
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5221
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5314
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 309–352, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5223
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 16, 51003 Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18–310, 50090 Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, 51003 Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 435 5232
    Faculty address: 
    Posti 1, 71004 Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5957
Faculty address: 
Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5900
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Education
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6440
    Faculty address: 
    Salme 1a–29, 50103 Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5582
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36–301, 51003 Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6310
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 4, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Psychology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5902
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 2, 50409 Tartu
  • School of Law
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5390
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 20–324, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Social Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5188
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Narva College
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 1900
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 2, 20307 Narva
  • Pärnu College
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 445 0520
    Faculty address: 
    Ringi 35, 80012 Pärnu
Faculty of Medicine
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5326
Faculty address: 
Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5326
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4210
    Faculty address: 
    Biomeedikum, Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Pharmacy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5286
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Dentistry
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 731 9856
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 6, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5323
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 8, 50406 Tartu
  • Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4190
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5360
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 5–205, 51005 Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5820
Faculty address: 
Vanemuise 46–208, 51014 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46–208, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5445
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 671 8902
    Faculty address: 
    Mäealuse 14, 12618 Tallinn
  • Institute of Physics
    Faculty address: 
    W. Ostwaldi 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Chemistry
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5261
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 14a, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5860
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5011
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23, 23b–134, 51010 Tartu
  • Tartu Observatory
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4510
    Faculty address: 
    Observatooriumi 1, Tõravere, 61602 Tartumaa
  • Institute of Technology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4800
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5835
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Institutions
  • Library
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5702
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Youth Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5581
    Faculty address: 
    Uppsala 10, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Genomics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4000
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23b, 51010 Tartu
  • Museum
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5674
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 25, 51003 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6076
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5606
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6339
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III floor, 51003 Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6600
    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5137
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Finance Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5125
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 4, 51005 Tartu
  • Grant Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6215
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III floor, 51003 Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6000, IT-help: +372 737 5500
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Human Resources Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5145
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090 Tartu
  • Internal Audit Office
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 17–103, 51005 Tartu
  • Marketing and Communication Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5687
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 102, 104, 209, 210, 50090 Tartu
  • Office of Academic Affairs
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5620
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • Procurement Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6632
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Rector's Strategy Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5600
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • Student Council
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5400
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18b, 51005 Tartu
Other Units
  • University of Tartu Academic Sports Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5371
    Faculty address: 
    Ujula 4, 51008 Tartu
  • Tartu Student Village
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 9959
    Faculty address: 
    Narva mnt 25, 51013 Tartu
  • Tartu Students’ Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 730 2400
    Faculty address: 
    Kalevi 24, 51010 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Press
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5945
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 1a, 50406 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Foundation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5852
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • View all other units

The Formula in Oral Poetry and Prose

New Approaches, Models and Interpretations

1st Symposium of the Project “Formulae in Icelandic Saga Literature”

Tartu, December 5-7, 2019

In 1928 Milman Parry presented his definition of formula in the Homeric epics. It was followed by a series of articles which resulted in a new view of oral poetry in general. The centre of this view was precisely the formula, which also gave the name to the theory which Parry and his disciple Albert Lord established: “the Oral-Formulaic Theory.” The theory brought together poetry from genetically unrelated traditions into a universal model. It affected the research on various literary traditions, not least the Eddic poetry and the saga prose, and resulted in many reinterpretations. But the theory has also been questioned and revised. New approaches in the study of formulas have been developed among linguists and folklorists.  The present symposium aims to discuss new approaches, models and interpretations of formulas in traditional poetry and prose. The symposium will have a special focus on Old Norse literature, but it attempts to integrate the research on several different cultures and let the knowledge of and research on them shed light on each other.

Invited speakers:

  • Frog, Helsinki University, “Formulaic Language and Organizing Principles of Discourse: Making Sense of the Phenomenon in ‘Poetry’ and ‘Prose’”
  • Stephen Mitchell, Harvard University, “Memory, Formulas, and Merging Revisited”
  • William Lamb, University of Edinburgh, “The Formula in Narrative Prose: Recent Research and Future Challenges”
  • Paul Acker, Saint Louis University, “A History of Oral Formulas and Eddic Poetry”
  • Bernt Øyvind Thorvaldsen, University of South-Eastern Norway, “The Eddic Formula: Methodological Considerations”
  • Slavica Rankovic, Independent scholar, “The ‘No Reaction’ Formula in Íslendingasögur: A Distributed Reading of Grettir’s Temper Management”
  • Jonathan Roper, University of Tartu, “Formulas in Anglophone Tales

All researchers (including PhD students) who are interested in presenting their ideas or research results connected to these or similar topics are encouraged submit proposals for 20-minute paper presentations (followed by 10 minutes of discussion). The venue of the symposium will be University of Tartu, Department of Scandinavian Studies.

Please send short abstracts by September 1 to daniel.savborg [ät] ut.ee.

The symposium will focus on the following sub-topics:

  • The degree of universality of the formula concept: Is it possible to see formulas as a universal phenomenon, as Albert Lord did, with an essentially similar function and manifestation in unrelated, traditions, or is it necessary to define the concept ‘formula’ for each tradition?
  • The function of the use of formulas: While Lord claimed that the use of formulas mainly was a practical tool for the performer, more recent scholars such as John Miles Foley have argued that formulas are signals to the listener for how individual passages should be interpreted. How should the function of the formulas be understood and is there a universal answer?
  • Formulas in narrative prose: Prose is left outside Parry’s and Lord’s model, since that model is already in its definition related to the metrical form, but several scholars have nevertheless used the concept of ’formula’ in research on traditional prose. Can formulas in prose be analyzed in the same way as formulas in poetry, or do they differ in fundamental ways? Which tools can be used for analyzing formulas in prose?
  • The distinction between formulas and other meaning-bearing units: If one accepts that a ‘formula’ must not be a completely fixed string of words, as in Parry’s and Lord’s definition, it might be a problem to decide the degree of variation that can be allowed. How can we draw dividing lines between e.g. formulas and motifs, or do we need to define new concepts for formulaic units of a borderline character?
  • Formulas in oral poetry and ’formulaic language’ within linguistic theory: In which relation do these formula concepts stand to each other and to what extent can the linguistic formula concept, developed for analysis of ordinary discourse, be used for analysis of poetic formulas?
  • Formulas and oral tradition: Is the concept of ‘formula’ applicable to only oral tradition or is it possible to talk about formulas (of essentially the same character) in written literature too, when that has a background in oral tradition? Is it possible, as some scholars have claimed, to use the frequency of formulas as a criterion for determining the oral origin of a work?