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A Companion to Ancient Epic by John Miles Foley

By John Miles Foley

"For those who find themselves attracted to Greek and Roman epic, the publication is a treasure-house of wonderful variety.... The editor and the writer either deserve compliment for a truly advantageous volume." (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society)

"Blackwell's better half to old 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 could are looking to immerse themselves in those poems.... the various highlights during this better half reveal the price of asking students to put in writing for non-specialists. That undertaking offers a stimulus for brand spanking new degrees of concentration and readability; even principles and fabrics which may be prevalent turn into clean back after they are provided in such succinct distillations." (Bryn Mawr Classical assessment)

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Extra resources for A Companion to Ancient Epic

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Does performance length depend on where the ‘‘epic’’ was shared (during work or festivals, in royal hall or tavern)? Could a 50-line version still be ‘‘Beowulf ’’? Does cosmic scale demand extreme length? ). Such questions arise especially with ancient texts for which we have multiple versions, such as Gilgamesh. They can be approached, if not positively answered, by examining such Indic traditions as Ramcaritmanas, of which even a brief song session by women at local shrines is still regarded as ‘‘epic’’ recitation.

What has led handbook writers to associate as ‘‘epics’’ such disparate compositions as Beowulf and Paradise Lost, over and above the features of content just mentioned, are roughly comparable formal features including the length of a poem; the very fact of poetic form (‘‘heroic’’ verse lines); musical accompaniment or song style; highly rhetorical speeches by heroic figures; invocations or self-conscious poetic proems; similes; and ‘‘typical’’ or recurrent scenes and motifs. These formal features are usually treated rather clinically as isolated textual markers, rather than as intertwined relics of possible performances.

643). A minor variation of the same poetic verse introduces the night-long narrative session shared by Odysseus and Penelope upon his return (Od. 301; note that the concluding portion of the hero’s tale is called epos, Od. 342). The main distinction ˆ thoi seems to be whether music is involved, and whether the between aoideˆ and mu performer is a professional. Both Odysseus and Achilles straddle the line by being expert ˆ thos-speech and also like bards (Achilles when he plays the phorminx at Il.

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