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Epic and Empire : Politics and Generic Form from Virgil to Milton - David Quint

Epic and Empire

Politics and Generic Form from Virgil to Milton

Paperback Published: 14th February 1993
ISBN: 9780691015200
Number Of Pages: 448

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Alexander the Great, according to Plutarch, carried on his campaigns a copy of the "Iliad," kept alongside a dagger; on a more pronounced ideological level, ancient Romans looked to the "Aeneid" as an argument for imperialism. In this major reinterpretation of epic poetry beginning with Virgil, David Quint explores the political context and meanings of key works in Western literature. He divides the history of the genre into two political traditions: the Virgilian epics of conquest and empire that take the victors' side (the "Aeneid" itself, Camoes's "Lusiadas," Tasso's "Gerusalemme liberata") and the countervailing epic of the defeated and of republican liberty (Lucan's "Pharsalia," Ercilla's "Araucana," and d'Aubigne's "Les tragiques"). These traditions produce opposing ideas of historical narrative: a linear, teleological narrative that belongs to the imperial conquerors, and an episodic and open-ended narrative identified with "romance," the story told of and by the defeated.

Quint situates "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained" within these rival traditions. He extends his political analysis to the scholarly revival of medieval epic in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and to Sergei Eisenstein's epic film, "Alexander Nevsky." Attending both to the topical contexts of individual poems and to the larger historical development of the epic genre, "Epic and Empire" provides new models for exploring the relationship between ideology and literary form.

Introductionp. 3
Epic and the Winnersp. 19
Epic and Empire: Versions of Actiump. 21
Repetition and Ideology in the Aeneidp. 50
Epic and the Losersp. 97
The Epic Curse and Camoes' Adamastorp. 99
Epics of the Defeated: The Other Tradition of Lucan, Ercilla, and d'Aubignep. 131
Tasso and Miltonp. 211
Political Allegory in the Gerusalemme liberatap. 213
Tasso, Milton, and the Boat of Romancep. 248
Paradise Lost and the Fall of the English Commonwealthp. 268
David's Census: Milton's Politics and Paradise Regainedp. 325
A Modern Epiloguep. 341
Ossian, Medieval "Epic," and Eisenstein's Alexander Nevskyp. 343
Notes to the Chaptersp. 369
Indexp. 427
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691015200
ISBN-10: 0691015201
Series: Literature in History
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 448
Published: 14th February 1993
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 16.51  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.61