New PDF release: A Companion to Ancient Epic

By John Miles Foley

ISBN-10: 1405188383

ISBN-13: 9781405188388

"For those people who are drawn to Greek and Roman epic, the publication is a treasure-house of best suited variety.... The editor and the writer either deserve compliment for a really nice volume." (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society)

"Blackwell's spouse to historic Epic does simply what the identify indicates: it accompanies readers on trips of exploration during this large (in each feel) box. simply as importantly, the better half will convey new readers why they may are looking to immerse themselves in those poems.... the numerous highlights during this spouse display the price of asking students to jot down for non-specialists. That undertaking presents a stimulus for brand new degrees of concentration and readability; even principles and fabrics that could be conventional turn into clean back once they are offered in such succinct distillations." (Bryn Mawr Classical assessment)

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Extra info for A Companion to Ancient Epic

Example text

All are supposed by him to be forms of ‘‘imitation’’ but differing in their means, manners, or objects of representation (1447a). What distinguishes ‘‘epic’’ in this connection is its representation of characters who are ‘‘noble’’ or ‘‘people of quality’’ (spoudaios: see Poetics 1449b10), a point to which we shall return. e. dactylic hexameter); at considerable length; with many episodes; through a combination of narrative and character speeches and using elevated vocabulary and unusual words (1459b9–18).

Are we dealing with a historical development or something deeper, embedded in the very nature of an art form? In the light of the Greek evidence above, particularly about the status of epos as both marked (in literary history) and unmarked (in Homeric diction) we might notice that ‘‘epic’’ as a genre, as seen from a non-western stance, illustrates exactly this paradoxical bifocal relationship. On the one hand, it is as pervasive as everyday speech: intimate, simple, potential in any utterance. It can happen at any time; it can embody any matter and make it significant.

In the light of the Greek evidence above, particularly about the status of epos as both marked (in literary history) and unmarked (in Homeric diction) we might notice that ‘‘epic’’ as a genre, as seen from a non-western stance, illustrates exactly this paradoxical bifocal relationship. On the one hand, it is as pervasive as everyday speech: intimate, simple, potential in any utterance. It can happen at any time; it can embody any matter and make it significant. On the other, ‘‘epic’’ – like the plural epea and especially its most famous occurrence, in the formulaic phrase describing speech as epea pteroenta ‘‘winged words’’ – is a mode of total communication, undertaking nothing less than the ideal expression of a culture.

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A Companion to Ancient Epic by John Miles Foley


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