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How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics (Calvert Watkins) Paperback Book, (Oxford University Press, 1995) 9780195144130
How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics (Calvert Watkins) Paperback Book, (Oxford University Press, 1995) 9780195144130
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Title: How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics

Author: Watkins, Calvert

Publisher: Oxford University Press; Publication Date: 1995

Paperback; ISBN: 9780195144130

Volumes: 1; Pages: 640

List Price in Paper: $40.00 Our price: $31.99

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In How to Kill a Dragon Watkins uses the comparative method to reconstruct and examine the structure of the dragon/serpent- slaying myths, which recur in various guises throughout the Indo-European poetic tradition. He finds the "signature" formula for the myth--the divine hero who slays the serpent or overcomes adversaries--occurs in the same linguistic form in a wide range of sources and over millennia, including Old and Middle Iranian holy books, Greek epic, Celtic and Germanic sagas, down to Armenian oral folk epic of the last century. Watkins argues that this formula is the vehicle for the central theme of a proto-text, and a central part of the symbolic culture of speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language: the relation of humans to their universe, the values and expectations of their society. Therefore, he further argues, poetry was a social necessity for Indo- European society, where the poet could confer on patrons what they and their culture valued above all else: "imperishable fame."
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