By Charles Rowan Beye
Charles Rowan Beye's significantly acclaimed interpretive creation to the epic poetry and poets of historical Greece, Rome, and Assyria is right here reprinted in an increased moment variation with a brand new preface, new bankruptcy on Gilgamesh, and an Appendix of extra interpreting 1993-2005. for hundreds of years the beginnings of the literary historical past of the West have been outlined by means of the Hebrew Bible what most folks name the outdated testomony and Homer's epic poems, the Iliad and Odyssey. those texts have been as soon as naively alleged to have turn up in fabulous isolation both as a miracle of divine production or the spontaneous combustion of the 'Greek genius'. The effective circulation of phrases down over the millennia to our personal time are such a lot of generations of offspring nonetheless by some means beholden to their preliminary begetters.
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Additional resources for Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer, Apollonius, Virgil with a Chapter on the Gilgamesh Poems
The oral poet tells his auditors exactly w h at to think, and in the fleeting m om ent o f his delivery they have no chance to be reflective. T h ey are obedient as ever: Thetis is grieving over her son's grief for Patroclus and nothing more. Present-day critical interest in intertextuality has inevitably led to speculation about the relation betw een the Iliad and the Odyssey. O nce they w ere assum ed to have been com posed b y the sam e m an, the H om er of G reek tradition. T oday few favor that idea.
For instance, any reader of the Od yssey is free to enjoy the delicious irony that the language in w hich the disguised O d ysseu s replies to Eum aeus's suspicions about the possibility of his lying exactly repeats the h augh ty disdain for liars w h ich A chilles directs at O d ysseu s in the Iliad (II. 312-13; Od. 14. 156-57). M ore to the point, as Thom as Flesher points out, O d ysseu s in qualifying his contem ptible liar as m otivated by poverty rem inds us that he him self lies for fun.
These narratives slow ly began to lose their topicality, their regionality, as the tw o stories grew and becam e constantly more refined, more elab orate, more com plex, spreading throughout a larger and larger region. A s they lost their narrow local focus, they also took on more and more the universality of view that marks the Homeric poem s as w e know them. These poem s w ere so popular that despite generations of subtle experim entation and im provem ent the telling w as increas ingly fixed, as it m ust be w ith preliterate people, w h o have a tenacity of m em ory far superior to that o f readers.
Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer, Apollonius, Virgil with a Chapter on the Gilgamesh Poems by Charles Rowan Beye