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The Epic: A Very Short Introduction [#753]
The Epic: A Very Short Introduction [#753]
  • Introduces epics, some of the world's great literary works, exploring the themes and problems they confront
  • Takes a comparative and thematic approach to epic literature
  • Employs fresh interdisciplinary research in fields such as orality and literacy, mythology and folklore, genre theory, gender studies, and comparative literature

The epic is an ancient and universal form of artistic expression. Storytellers around the globe have long told of heroes who are touched by greatness and win lasting fame. These sprawling heroic tales convey the grandeur and pain of human life. They have been preserved for millennia in Sumerian clay tablets, Egyptian papyrus rolls, fragmentary manuscripts salvaged from European monasteries, oral traditions in Africa and Central Asia, and contemporary poetry and film.
In this Very Short Introduction, Anthony Welch places the Western epic canon alongside traditional heroic poetry from Asia, Africa, and the Near East. Tracing shared themes and practices that unite the world's epic literature, the author asks what roles epic poets serve in society and how do they differ from other narrative forms. Welch argues that the epic confronts key aspects of the human condition - heroism, community, sacrifice, death - with special force and urgency. Ranging widely from Gilgamesh to Derek Walcott's Omeros, this book acquaints readers with some of the world's greatest literary works and asks why the epic holds such power over our imaginations.



1:A Story of All Things
2:The Singer and the Song
3:The Epic Hero
5:Family Ties
6:Civilization and the Wilderness
7:Epic and Modernity

References and Further Reading

About the author: 

Anthony Welch is Associate Professor of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His publications include The Renaissance Epic and the Oral Past (2012) as well as essays on Milton, Spenser, Dryden, and the European epic tradition in English Literary Renaissance, Milton Studies, MLN: Modern Language Notes, Modern Philology, Spenser Studies, and several edited collections.

Product details

ISBN : 9780198795124

Anthony Welch
160 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Nov 2024
Very Short Introductions
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The Epic: A Very Short Introduction [#753]

The Epic: A Very Short Introduction [#753]

The Epic: A Very Short Introduction [#753]