Homer’s Thamyris: Artistic Self-Awareness in Homeric Studies and the Development of an Empirical Methodology for the Study of Creativity

By Charlayn Imogen von Solms.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As the crux of art-making as research is located in the production of an artwork, addressing the complexities of invention via its own processes presents a possibility for the development of an empirical methodology for the study of creativity within creative industries themselves. Although authors’ and artists’ use of metaphorical devices results in a conceptual distancing compounded by a high degree of subjectivity (which renders analysis difficult), inquiries into fundamental aspects of creative processes may nonetheless be determinable within their work. Considering the strides made in Homeric studies towards acknowledging ancient oral poets’ comprehension of their own creative decision-making during composition, it is conceivable that this knowledge could be applied to the broader project of studying creativity. An analysis of the Homeric version of the myth of Thamyris, for example, reveals a far more complex artistic self-awareness on the part of the Iliad’s author than the famous invocation to the Muses which precedes it in the Catalogue of Ships. If the production of an artwork specifically as a means of interrogating creative processes could be considered to constitute an empirical analysis of how creativity functions, then Thamyris’ antagonistic interaction with the Muses could constitute an informative description of a creative process.

Keywords: Creativity, Homeric Studies, Thamyris, Artistic Self-Awareness

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.221-230. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.150MB).

Charlayn Imogen von Solms

Lecturer, Department of Fine Art, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Charlayn Imogen von Solms specializes in sculpture (assemblage/constructivism) and Homeric studies, with a particular interest in the study of creative processes as experienced by creative practitioners during the production of artworks.


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