From the very outset in the West-from the time of Homer himself in about 750 BCE-the epic has been the most highly regarded of literary genres. It is rivaled only by tragedy, which arose a bit more than two centuries later, as the most respected, the most influential, and, from a slightly different vantage point, the most prestigious mode of addressing the human condition in literary terms. The major epics are the works that, from the very outset, everyone had heard of and everyone knew, at least by reputation. They are the works that had the most profound and most enduring cultural influence. And they are very much with us still, some more than others, but all-or all the most successful ones-are more or less firmly enshrined in cultural memory. They are still read. They are still taught. They still gain imitators and admirers. The stories they tell still shape our imagination and aspirations. In this course, we will revisit the epics, examining the stories told and the characters. We will consider the various styles represented and the societies in which these epics were constructed. Finally, we will arrive at an understanding of the epic as a genre and as a reflection of ancient history.
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by Timothy B. Shutt
by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins
"This fourteen-lesson course surveys the Western epic tradition from Homer's ILIAD and ODYSSEY through Milton's PARADISE LOST. Professor Shutt has a larger-than-life speaking style, which is oddly appropriate for the larger-than-life quality of epic literature. His voice is almost bombastic, reminiscent of a certain daytime radio personality. But with his voice and his unwavering enthusiasm for the topic, Shutt is successful at bridging the gap between college podium and audiobook. Other epics addressed in this series are THE AENEID, BEOWULF, and Edmund Spenser's THE FAERIE QUEENE. Shutt also explores the fate of the epic in more recent literature, considering HUCKLEBERRY FINN, DON QUIXOTE, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and STAR WARS as possible epics. S.E.S. (c) AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine"
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