Or so argues historian and linguist at large Andrew Dalby in his new book, Rediscovering Homer
. Though examination of "The Illiad" and "The Odyssey" for gendered textual clues will always by necessity result in specious argument, Dalby argues quite believably that only an aristocratic "kept" woman would have had the means, patience, and motivation to have such unprecedentedly long oral poems written down. Which would have required literal weeks sequestered in a private place alone with a scribe and God only knows how much more time in advance practicing aloud what would eventually be written down without the automatic acclaim of an audience. Would a talented and popular MALE oral poet have likely agreed to those terms when the result would be something there had never been a public demand for before? Well, MAYBE. But a woman, idle and used to being shut in with nothing better to do than practice her poetry, would seem to be the obvious natural candidate for such an endeavor.
Well. Color me convinced. After all, which gender wrote Genji Monogatari