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Stealing HelenThe Myth of the Abducted Wife in Comparative Perspective$
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Lowell Edmunds

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691165127

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691165127.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Stealing Helen

Lowell Edmunds

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter undertakes a comparison between a folktale and a Greek myth. It attempts to define the folktale through two avenues concerning genre and terminology as well as mode of communication. Here, the chapter relates the folktale of “The Abduction of the Beautiful Wife” to the Greek epics such as the Iliad, eventually focusing the discussion on the story of Helen of Troy. To aid in the discussion, the chapter introduces the comparative circle, which begins from the perception of a similarity between the target text and some other text, and proceeds from this second text to a third and so forth, until the scholar constructing the circle decides to return to the explicandum.

Keywords:   folktale, myths, legends, Greek myth, abduction, Helen of Troy, comparative circle, story patterns, motifs

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