The Fortunes of Epic Poetry: A Study in English and American Criticism, 1750-1950

By Donald M. Foerster | Go to book overview

Preface

In ancient Greece, as everyone knows, Homer was the "Bible" of the people. In ancient Rome, it is said, Virgil was the favorite of emperor and clown. In Elizabethan England, the Graeco- Roman epic was considered indispensable for the training of princes and gentlemen. In the England of Cromwell and Charles II, the epic seemed to Milton, as poet, the best means of explaining how evil came into the world. In the England of Anne and the Georges, as in the America of Thomas Jefferson, no man could pretend to be educated unless he knew large portions of Homer and Virgil by heart, and no poet, it almost seemed, could hope for laurels unless he had published an Epigoniad or a Columbiad.

But in our world, the epic has fallen upon evil days. What remains of its high prestige? Critics affirm that heroic poetry is an anomaly in our unheroic age, that science has destroyed man's love for the mythical and supernatural, that global warfare and modern political beliefs have made us indifferent to the aristocratic Greek chieftain and his small-scale battles beneath the walls of Troy. Other critics observe that the tempo of twentiethcentury life precludes reading of long narratives in uniform verse, or that new concepts of the nature of poetry have led readers to prefer the modern lyric, intellectualized and tightly complex, to rambling epics of adventures on land and sea, of struggles between an autocratic Hebrew God and an altogether too human Satan, of trials of the soul in its ascent into the Christian empyrean. Still others imply that the day of poetry--all poetry--has apparently come to an end, that the mushrooming of natural, psychological, and social sciences has established the realistic novel as the appropriate literary form for the contemporary mind.

-vii-

Notes for this page

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 book

This book 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 book

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

Cited page

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 page

Bookmark this page
The Fortunes of Epic Poetry: A Study in English and American Criticism, 1750-1950
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

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
/ 250

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.