The idea of epic is elusive. The classical tradition of epic poetry emerged from the heroic poetry of one tribe of one people, the Ionian Greeks. The fame of the Iliad and Odyssey inspired emulators and created a genre which remained in high favor throughout the classical epoch and was revived in the Renaissance. Modern literature, however, has neglected it and the word "epic" no longer connotes a literary form. J. B. Hainsworth explores the development of the epic genre, the causes of its success in classical literature, and the reasons for the failure of the genre after its triumphs in the Renaissance.
The idea of epic, Hainsworth argues, is composite. As the offspring of a tradition of heroic poetry, it is a narrative of historical or fictional events. However, the Homeric epics try to make sense of events by relating them to some theme, for example heroism, and explaining them in terms of a metaphysical idea such as destiny or the will of God. In the literary epic of the classical period the narrative element divided into historical and mythological forms; authors exploited national, political, and romantic themes. Hainsworth examines the way in which these ideas intersect in classical criticism and in Hellenistic and Roman epic.
Hainsworth demonstrates that after its first flowering the epic became an artificial literary form justified by the authority of the Homeric poems. When the poetic form was abandoned the idea of epic dissolved, leaving as its ghost the expression in other forms of the metaphysical ideas of the Greek and Roman epics.
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"Dr. Hainsworth is one of the best Homeric scholars alive today, and this book makes it abundantly clear that his expertise in classical epic extends down through Latin epic and far into the mediaeval period."—Mark W. Edwards, author of Homer: The Poet of the ILIADAbout the Author:
J. B. Hainsworth is Professor of Classics at New College, Oxford.
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Descrizione libro University of California Press, 1991. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. First. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0520068149
Descrizione libro University of California Press. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0520068149 New Condition. Codice libro della libreria NEW6.1179075
Descrizione libro University of California Press, 1991. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110520068149
Descrizione libro Condizione libro: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Codice libro della libreria 97805200681481.0