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The essays in the final section of the volume—"Epic and Pedagogy"—ask directly what many of the other essays imply.

Critical Perspectives on Derek Walcott. We exclude from the arena of study myth and other kinds of tales that depend largely on magic many epics include briefer magical episodesand we also exclude epics in prose, although in historical perspective it is clear that the novel, tun one example, is a form of the epic. Martin has pioneered an explicit connection between Lord's empirical observations about performance in living oral traditions and J.

Or that Homeric song cssual epic? The position of epic is especially vexed in those countries involved in postcolonial debates about the relation of their national literatures to the canons of Western and classical literature, which, as part of a colonial educational policy, often were imposed on school curricula.

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Translated by Anna Bostock. They are what Susan Slyomovics has called the "poet outcasts" in an example from the Egyptian oral epic tradition.

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With the Latin poet Statius, this struggle ends with the "triumph" of the former, as the bitter world of civil war renders heroic action finally incapable of attaining the level of glorification. Ssx the role of Balkan epic in the development of nineteenth-century literature, Margaret Beissinger illustrates the use of an oral genre for political purposes, revealing how gender is appropriated in literary epic as an instrument of nationalism.

Nonetheless, it is rare when critical readings of oral and literary verbal art are truly exchanged; the distinction between "us" and "them" still tends to dominate scholarship, from whichever perspective.

In offering this definition of genre, I follow Tzvetan Todorov in chapter 2 of his Genres du discours; for him, genres are "principles of dynamic production" of discourse in society. If we follow Slatkin's formulation of genre in oral traditions, it is the principle of complementarity here wantnig defines epic as genre, in opposition to the genre of tragedy.

One might argue that on numerous occasions, announcements of the death of Western epic have in fact been premature. gun

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Copnhagen They all manipulate devices and techniques by which their art is revealed, whether those devices are orally transmitted or rooted in literacy. In an essay that will interest readers of books 9—12 of the Odyssey, where Odysseus tells his own heroic tale to the avid Phaiakians, Dwight Reynolds shows how the performer of Arabic oral poetry makes his own speech act equivalent to that of the hero.

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It is precisely through the juxtaposition of oral and literary epic in cases like these— and the recognition of a larger concept of epic that transcends orality and literacy—that a more complex sense of the interactions of form, genre, politics, and culture may be brought to the interpretation of the genre. Dwight Reynolds's study, for example, is a bracing of the multivalent strategies and variety of speech acts to which the poet has access in any given performative situation.

I draw attention to the inclusiveness, the notional wholeness, of Homeric poetry. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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While individual performers of epic each with varying levels of creativity are appreciated, anonymity and collective involvement surround authorship per se. From the perspective of scholars of folklore, literary epic, unlike oral traditional epic, is usually seen as the creation of a single author, immersed in literacy and everything that literacy brings with it. The art of oral epic singing is by and large—though not always—an art perpetuated by men for public performance.

In the exploration of various forms of verbal art, there is a point at which one can speak of a larger Copehnagen that embraces both the oral and the literary. Weeping becomes a constant and necessary element of epic from Gilgamesh through Paradise Lost, after which the act of lament becomes a private gilrs than a public affair.

Furthermore, literary epic allows for and even expects the author's original and creative expression in narratives that adroitly challenge readers with their well-deed tropes and innovative uses of textual conventions and themes.

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As we read the words of the fourth-century Athenian statesman Lycurgus Against Leocrates declaring that only the epe —which we may now confidently translate "epic"—of Homer could be performed at the Feast of the Panathenaia in Athens, we can be sure of what he means: for Lycurgus, only the Iliad and the Odyssey can be considered true epic. The epic is also a vital contemporary art form, both in writing and in performance.

In certain cultures, epic is even perpetuated by a "class" of singers who are effectively on the margins, both ethnically and socially, of the community. The concern in written epic with wordplay, image, and trope is matched in the oral epic such as in the Egyptian genre by the marked use of punning, as well as the interplay between overlapping levels of verbal performance. The essay by Philip Hardie nonetheless exposes the instability and often unintentionally subversive function of allegoresis.

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Benjamin, Walter. Ultimately, epic poets, be they oral or literary, all create.

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Several of the essays in this volume that give detailed s of performances suggest the virtues of this approach. The essays by Susan Slyomovics and Dwight Reynolds on Egyptian oral epic poets provide especially rich examples of this detailed analysis of performativity. Bakhtin's version of epic has never existed—indeed, as a theory it ignores what has always been present in epic's dialogic voices but the desire for his version of epic have long existed, as attested by the allegorists whom Andrew Ford discusses.

The volume's organization speaks to the shared concerns of scholars of oral and written sdx, as well as to the methodologies and strategies that distinguish the two forms.

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The fact that the Iliad's supposedly profound inimitability becomes a criterion for distinguishing an epic poem is thereby problematic, particularly given what we know now to have been the performative conditions for that work. In post-Homeric contexts, as I have argued elsewhere, the words alethes, "true," and aletheia, "truth," evolve in explicit opposition to the word muthos in contexts where true speech is being contrasted with other forms of speech that are discredited, that cannot be trusted e.

One critique of both these idealizations is that they each in different ways obfuscate precisely the political effects of epic poetry—whether the potentially propagandistic effect of glorifying the current rulers or the more complex cultural imperialism ni in many epic poems.

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