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

By Donald M. Foerster | Go to book overview

3 The Early Epic in the Age of
Wordsworth:
Homer, Ossian, and Virgil

THE TERM "ART-EPIC" did not become common currency in England until well along into the nineteenth century, until the theories of the Grimm brothers began to infiltrate literary criticism. Nevertheless, Romantic theorists were of course well aware that the modern epic, far from being the product of pure spontaneity, involved imaginative meditation and conscious craftsmanship. If they tried to show why a poem like Paradise Lost deserved its fame, they did not fail to mention that Milton had been an omnivorous reader, that he had pondered long the riddle of the cosmos, and that he had chosen and fashioned with extreme care the fable that appeared best suited to his over-all purpose. Furthermore, in the selection of imagery, language, and rhythm, he was believed to have proceeded with great circumspection and deliberation. "Milton," observed Wordsworth, "talks of 'pouring easy his unpremeditated verse.' It would be harsh, untrue, and odious, to say there is anything like cant in this, but it is not true to the letter, and tends to mislead. I could point out to you five hundred passages in Milton upon which labour has been bestowed."1To about the same degree, Paradise Lost and the Divine Comedy as well appeared to be both spontaneous and "conscious."

No such generalization could be made at that time about pagan epics. These poems belonged to various times, various nations,

-56-

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.