Reading Epic: An Introduction to the Ancient Narratives

By Peter Toohey | Go to book overview

6

THE ALEXANDRIAN MINIATURE EPIC

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A MINOR GENRE

It is not often that we can watch the birth, death, and resurrection of a literary genre. We can do this with a version of the small-scale epic developed in Alexandria at the time of Apollonius. This type of poem (sometimes termed the 'epyllion', or the 'miniature' or even the 'minor' epic) became very popular, not just in Alexandria, but also in Rome. But it did die-some time in the first century of our era. The trouble was that, like the Tasmanian Tiger, it was too specialized. New literary predators and new literary colonists rendered it extinct.

What of the resurrection? That took place with a series of selfconscious revivals as late as the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries (Vessey 1970:38): from the sixteenth century there are Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis (1593) and Rape of Lucrece (1594) (Donno 1963), then, much later, Pope's Rape of the Lock (Tillyard 1954).

Yet sometimes its very existence is denied (Allen 1940; Vessey 1970; but Hollis 1990). Rather, there were epics of considerably shorter length than those produced by Homer, Apollonius, Naevius, and Ennius (Newman 1986:31). Short epics had always been composed (Hollis 1990:25): Hesiod's Shield of Herades or his didactic Theogony and Works and Days may be typical; from late antiquity many examples survive (Chapter 11). During the Hellenistic period, however, there were at least two identifiable types. The first is simply a narrative on a mythological, sometimes heroic theme told sequentially and without the encumbrance of 'digressions' or multiple stories within the same poem. There was also a second, more eccentric type whose prime trait is the 'digression'. This second type

-100-

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
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Reading Epic: An Introduction to the Ancient Narratives
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Epic- The Genre, Its Characteristics 1
  • 2 - Homer, Iliad 20
  • 3 - Homer, Odyssey 44
  • 4 - Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 68
  • 5 - Beginning Epic in Rome 90
  • 6 - The Alexandrian Miniature Epic 100
  • 7 - Virgil, Aeneid 121
  • 8 - Ovid, Metamorphoses 144
  • 9 - Lucan, the Civil War 166
  • 10 - Roman Epic and the Emperor Domitian 186
  • 11 - Ends and Beginnings; Late Ancient Epic 211
  • Appendix- The Epic and the Novel 224
  • Bibliography 230
  • Index 242
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 252

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.