By Charles Rowan Beye
Charles Rowan Beye's seriously acclaimed interpretive advent to the epic poetry and poets of old Greece, Rome, and Assyria is the following reprinted in an multiplied moment variation with a brand new preface, new bankruptcy on Gilgamesh, and an Appendix of extra studying 1993-2005. for hundreds of years the beginnings of the literary heritage of the West have been outlined through the Hebrew Bible what most folks name the outdated testomony and Homer's epic poems, the Iliad and Odyssey. those texts have been as soon as naively speculated to have occur in fantastic isolation both as a miracle of divine production or the spontaneous combustion of the 'Greek genius'. The effective movement of phrases down over the millennia to our personal time are such a lot of generations of offspring nonetheless one way or the other beholden to their preliminary begetters.
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Extra info for Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer, Apollonius, Virgil with a Chapter on the Gilgamesh Poems
W hat w as rejected? The critic w h o w ould answ er those questions definitively is a bold person indeed. R enew ed reading of either poem w ill m ore often than not lead the reader to reconsider and change ideas that w ere previously thought to be fixed. T hroughout the Iliad and the Odyssey the narrators allude to other stories and other hero figures. O ne thinks of the M eleager story in the Iliad, Book N ine, or the reference to the A rgonauts in the Odyssey, or the references to H ercules everyw here.
W hile the central narrative unfolds, w e are forever being sh ow n other scenes occup ying other places in other times, so that the effect is a cosmic vision encom passing the totality of experience. In this respect, epic achieves a realism that other forms of literature w hich narrow ly restrict the scene cannot produce. The saga background perm its the poet to m ake allusions that are often obscure to us but probably w ere not so for the poem 's original audiences. T hey w ould know this material as a sm all-tow n resident kn ow s the tow n gossip.
A ll this, and the story has scarcely been begun. A n yo n e w h o will give Books T w o through Seven some careful stu dy cannot help but com e aw ay aw ed not only by the tight control exercised over material that could easily com e apart but also by the narrator's insistence upon a story logic that is not really there. The tight control and the insistence suggest that a master narrator, secure in all the techniques of oral perform ance, is fashioning this story. O f course, w e w ill also assum e that the poet is perform ing for an audience so familiar w ith the details of the foreground and the background that the chronological priorities o f the narrative can be ignored.
Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer, Apollonius, Virgil with a Chapter on the Gilgamesh Poems by Charles Rowan Beye