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The foundation of this book is a line-by-line analysis of enjambement, or the syntactical relationship between successive verses, in the Iliad. Such a study develops naturally from Milman Parry's work, which sought to show the importance for oral composition, and specifically for Homer, both of the syntactical link between lines and the frequency of each type of enjambement.
In contrast to earlier studies, which utilized only portions of the text, Dr. Higbie's book is unique in presenting analyses of the complete poem. In doing so, she makes material available which can be used to answer larger stylistic questions of genre, effect, and the manipulation and enjambing of formulae. Speeches, similes, battle scenes, and catalogues, for example, can be distinguished by the length and structure of the sentences, as well as by the relationship between the individual
sentence and the hexameter verse. Moreover, the flexibility and survival of the formula depend in part upon its grammatical construction. The importance of enjambement to Homeric verse makes this book an essential reference work for scholars and students of Homer alike.