Das „Incompatibilitätsgesetz“ Th. Zielinskis: Eine kolumbische Entdeckung

Zielinski ’s “law of inconsistency” has been lively discussed since the early seventies, as the Homeric scholarship following the way pioneered by Parry and Lord began to focus more and more on narrative technique. The criticism expressed by the German-speaking scholars (H. Patzer, A. Rengakos, and R. Nünlist) has reviewed all the aspects of Zielinski’s theory, pointing out firstly that the sequence of events, as presented by Homer, is sufficiently reasoned (consequently, there is no difference between ‘real time’ and ‘apparent time’), and secondly, that Homer actually describes simultaneous actions as simultaneous. It can be added, thirdly, that the Homeric narrator can, in fact, turn back, pick up a different strand, and set forth again through the same time period. However, Zielinski rightly maintained that the Homeric treatment of such actions differs significantly from what can be considered ‘normal.’ Indeed, even Vergil’s narrative, modeled on Homeric example, is quite different in this respect. Vergil explicitly synchronizes concurrent actions using coordinate clauses, whereas Homer joins successive as well as parallel action by means of a short coordinate word, most frequently by just one stand-alone δέ. Thus, the reader of Vergil never loses the connection between concurrent events, while the audience of Homer is often not sure about the actual parallelism or succession of events; we have to conjecture on where and when the strands actually coincide. What Zielinski discovered, then, was not the law of succession (in fact, there is no such law), but a lack of explicitness in Homer’s spatio-temporal coordination, resulting probably from the (intended?) deficiency in literalicity that is characteristic of the Homeric poems.

Pozdnev M.M. Das „Incompatibilitätsgesetz“ Th . Zielinskis Eine kolumbische Entdeckung