Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer, Apollonius, Virgil: With a Chapter on the Gilgamesh Poems

By Charles Rowan Beye | Go to book overview

Further Reading

As one might imagine in the case of poems that have for so long a time been considered so important, the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid have generated over the centuries a prodigious amount of commentary. (The Argonautica, by contrast, has been virtually ignored.) The scholars of Alexandria set the standard by producing far more commentary on the Homeric epics than on any other text, and there survive in considerably larger amounts the commentaries of Servius, Donatus, and Macrobius on the text of Virgil. To this day more is written about these three epic poems than about anything else that survives from antiquity; indeed, more is written about them than can be read or digested by any one person. It is natural that readers wish to decide what a work "means." That is their way of taking control of an external stimulus, assimilating it or making it their own. Some readers, however, are content with the experience of reading a work. They put it aside with contentment, their assimilation having taken place on an unconscious level. But making meaning, apart from the simple exposition of fact or explication of difficulties, is a very big academic industry. In the literature sector of this industry entry-level jobs, salary increases, academic advancement, tenure, grants, and prizes rest on making meaning in print: hence the vast array of printed material about these poems, most of

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Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer, Apollonius, Virgil: With a Chapter on the Gilgamesh Poems
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface to the Second Edition vii
  • 1: Oral Poetry 1
  • 2: The Poet's World 43
  • 3: Poetic Technique 74
  • 4: The Iliad 113
  • 5: The Odyssey 144
  • 6: The Argonautica 187
  • 7: The Aeneid 219
  • Further Reading 257
  • 8: Gilgamesh 279
  • Further Reading Revisited 303
  • Index 311
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