Remember the Epic Tale: Be It the Alamo or Celtic Cattle Thieves

By Rubin, Merle | The Christian Science Monitor, May 21, 1997 | Go to article overview

Remember the Epic Tale: Be It the Alamo or Celtic Cattle Thieves


Rubin, Merle, The Christian Science Monitor


The Alamo

By Michael Lind

Houghton Mifflin 351 pp., $25 The Raid By Randy Lee Eickhoff Forge 283 pp., $22.95 The very earliest great works of many of the world's literatures were epics. The "Iliad" and "Odyssey" of Homer, the Sumerian "Gilgamesh," the Indian "Bhagavad Gita," the Anglo-Saxon "Beowulf," all were stories detailing the exploits of heroic figures who exemplified the most admired values of the cultures which gave birth to them. Later authors sought to continue in the epic tradition. Virgil consciously modeled his epic of Rome, "The Aeneid," on Homer's masterworks. Dante went so far as to actually incorporate Virgil as a character - Dante's own personal guide - in his epic, "The Divine Comedy." In the Renaissance, some of the most ambitious poets, such as Edmund Spenser, Ariosto, and Milton, dedicated themselves to achieving monumental greatness in this form. Certainly, any writer who declares he is writing an epic nowadays places himself in an egregious position. The very idea seems so archaic, it is hard to guess how seriously he intends to be taken. Now, Michael Lind, a poet, novelist, journalist, and native Texan, boldly offers us not only a bona fide epic about the legendary, real-life, historical heroes of Texas' fight for freedom in The Alamo, but also one that is written in the time-honored epic form of verse: rhyme royal, employed by Chaucer in his "Troilus and Criseyde" (Cressida) and by other classic poets. Clearly, Lind expects - and deserves - some credit merely for daring to undertake such an enterprise. He is swimming against the current of the mainstream of most modern and postmodern poetry, not only in his choice of a traditional (perhaps even archaic) genre and an old-fashioned verse form, but also in his unabashed celebration of old-fashioned American freedom fighters, like the band of stout-hearted Texans who defended the Alamo. Everyone knows the expression "Remember the Alamo," but one wonders how many of today's students understand that this was not some American "imperialist" war against Mexico, but a rebellion against the tyranny of a Mexican military dictator, Santa Anna, who was also the bane of Mexican liberals. All this and more is made vividly clear in Lind's lively and colorful recreation of the stirring story. Major characters such as Jim Bowie, William Travis, Stephen Austin, and Sam Houston are deftly limned in rhyme, whether by narrative description: "If even Austin, peacefulest of all/ the Texan leaders, could be seized and penned/ without a hearing, what fate might befall/ those fellow Texans aching to defend/ their chartered rights with more than ink and wind?" Or in dialogue, such as these words spoken by Sam Houston: "There's nothing in the world that's worse than war,/ with one exception, and that is defeat. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Remember the Epic Tale: Be It the Alamo or Celtic Cattle Thieves
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.