New PDF release: A Companion to Ancient Epic

By John Miles Foley

ISBN-10: 1405188383

ISBN-13: 9781405188388

"For those who find themselves drawn to Greek and Roman epic, the e-book is a treasure-house of perfect variety.... The editor and the writer either deserve compliment for a truly high-quality 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 significant other will convey new readers why they may are looking to immerse themselves in those poems.... the various highlights during this better half display the price of asking students to write down for non-specialists. That recreation presents a stimulus for brand new degrees of concentration and readability; even rules and fabrics which may be popular turn into clean back once they are provided in such succinct distillations." (Bryn Mawr Classical evaluate)

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Extra resources for A Companion to Ancient Epic

Example text

One such, the Maninka jeli, recites the epic at high speed, accompanying himself on a small four-string instrument. Epic as Genre 17 Joyce Flueckiger’s research in northern and central India shows not only that ‘‘epic’’ can be done in widely different styles, but that even the same long, heroic narrative, like the Dhola-Maru tradition, sung in communities a few hundred miles apart, qualifies as ‘‘epic’’ in one but not the other (1999). Community self-identification, caste ambitions, and local religious cult all determine whether a people views the epic as its own defining narrative.

Finally, the stories of the shaman-like adventures of the philosopher-priest Pythagoras, to whom hexameter verses were also attributed, fit into this expanded ‘‘wonder epic’’ category. The usefulness of such a broadened class, within Greek tradition, becomes clear when we look once again at the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. The audiences for both epics surely obtained additional meanings from the way in which these poems drew on material with an oblique connection to their more obvious ‘‘heroic’’ themes.

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. If the usefulness of ‘‘genre’’ is to provide a heuristic tool for honing inter-cultural communication, the good of ‘‘epic’’ lies in its power to craft, through generations of performers and audiences, larger harmonies, in which the discrete pieces of the individual’s life fit and make sense.

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A Companion to Ancient Epic by John Miles Foley


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