Wikipedia has it that Ring Structures or chiastic structures are prominent in antique literature, and cites the Bible, the Quran, Iliad and Odyssey, Herodot, Beowulf, and other examples from antiquity. Examples from the Book of Mormon can hardly come as a surprise, since that book is heavily modeled on the style of the Hebrew Bible.

The term „Ring Structures“ in the sense that we want to use it on this blog was coined by the anthropologist Mary Douglas in her 2007 book Thinking in Circles: an essay on ring composition. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press). Douglas describes rings in so diverse works as the book of Leviticus and Tristram Shandy. Her definition seems to be the most exhaustive so far, and we will quote it at length in a separate entry.

Donald Ostrowski finds a ring structure in the Primary Chronicle from Kievan Rus. (Ostrowski, Donald (2006). „The Account of Volodimer’s Conversion in the „Povest‘ vremennykh let“: A Chiasmus of Stories“Harvard Ukrainian Studies. Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. 28 (1–4): 567–580.)

Bill Benzon finds ring structures in even more places – a perfectly symmetrical poem by Dylan Thomas, in Samuel Coleridge’s Kubla Khan (see also here, here, here and here), but also in Japanese horror movies, and, astonishingly, in stories generated by ChatGPT. See his blog here.