Question:

What are five characteristics of epic poetry?

Answer:

The five characteristics of epic poetry are hero, setting, action, supernatural forces and the style. You have a great day!

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An epic (from the Ancient Greek adjective (epikos), from (epos) "word, story, poem") is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form. Another type of epic poetry is epyllion (plural: epyllia), which is a brief narrative poem with a romantic or mythological theme. The term, which means 'little epic', came into use in the nineteenth century. It refers primarily to the erudite, shorter hexameter poems of the Hellenistic period and the similar works composed at Rome from the age of the neoterics; to a lesser degree, the term includes some poems of the English Renaissance, particularly those influenced by Ovid.][ The most famous example of classical epyllion is perhaps Catullus 64. Some of the most famous examples of epic poetry include the Ramayana, Mahabharata, the Ancient Greek Iliad and the Odyssey, the Old English Beowulf, or the Portuguese Lusiads. The first epics were products of preliterate societies and oral poetic traditions. In these traditions, poetry is transmitted to the audience and from performer to performer by purely oral means. Early twentieth-century study of living oral epic traditions in the Balkans by Milman Parry and Albert Lord demonstrated the paratactic model used for composing these poems. What they demonstrated was that oral epics tend to be constructed in short episodes, each of equal status, interest and importance. This facilitates memorization, as the poet is recalling each episode in turn and using the completed episodes to recreate the entire epic as he performs it. Parry and Lord also showed that the most likely source for written texts of the epics of Homer was dictation from an oral performance. Epic: a long narrative poem in elevated style presenting characters of high position in adventures forming an organic whole through their relation to a central heroic figure and through their development of episodes important to the history of a nation or race. (Harmon and Holman) An attempt to delineate ten main characteristics of an epic: The hero generally participates in a cyclical journey or quest, faces adversaries that try to defeat him in his journey and returns home significantly transformed by his journey. The epic hero illustrates traits, performs deeds, and exemplifies certain morals that are valued by the society the epic originates from. Many epic heroes are recurring characters in the legends of their native culture. Conventions of epics: Literate societies have often copied the epic format. The earliest surviving European examples are the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes and Virgil's Aeneid, which follow both the style and subject matter of Homer. Other obvious examples are DionysiacaNonnus' , Tulsidas' Sri Ramacharit Manas. (The date of compositions of Babylonian epics is often hard to determine, as they may survive on manuscripts that are much later than the first composition. There is also the complication that they underwent successive revisions and redactions.) The dates of origin these Hindu epics are hard to determine, as they existed for a long time in history as oral traditions with numerous versions and also in different regions of India and South Asia. . Byron’s Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is an example of an epic because it narrates the travels of Childe Harold. Byron's Don Juan is an example of a “mock” epic in that it parodies the epic style of Byron’s predecessors. It is a long narrative poem that describes the adventures of Don Juan.
Indian epic poetry is the epic poetry written in the Indian subcontinent, traditionally called Kavya (or Kāvya; Sanskrit: काव्य, IAST: kāvyá). The Ramayana and Mahabharata, originally composed in Sanskrit and translated thereafter into many other Indian languages, are some of the oldest surviving epic poems on earth and form part of "Itihāsa" (which roughly means tradition, or (oral) history). The ancient Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, also termed Itihāsa ("History") or Mahākāvya ("Great Compositions"), refer to epic poems that form a canon of Hindu scripture. Indeed, the epic form prevailed and verse remained until very recently the preferred form of Hindu literary works. Hero-worship was and is a central aspect of Indian culture, and thus readily lent itself to a literary tradition that abounded in epic poetry and literature. The Puranas, a massive collection of verse-form histories of India's many Hindu gods and goddesses, followed in this tradition. Itihāsas and Purāṇas are mentioned in the Atharva Veda and referred to as the fifth Veda. The language of these texts, termed Epic Sanskrit, constitutes the earliest phase of Classical Sanskrit, following the latest stage of Vedic Sanskrit found in the Shrauta Sutras. The famous poet and playwright Kālidāsa also wrote two epics: Raghuvamsha (The Dynasty of Raghu) and Kumarasambhava (The Birth of Kumar Kartikeya), though they were written in later Classical Sanskrit rather than Epic Sanskrit. Other Classical Sanskrit epics are the “Slaying of Śiśupāla” Śiśupālavadha of Māgha, “Arjuna and the Mountain Man” Kirātārjunīya of Bhāravi, the “Adventures of the Prince of Nishadha” Naiṣadhacarita of Śrīharṣa and "Bhaṭṭi's Poem" Bhaṭṭikāvya of Bhaṭṭi. Kannada epic poetry mainly consists of Jain religious literature and Virashaiva literature. Asaga wrote Vardhaman Charitra (Life of Vardhman Mahavir), an epic which runs in 18 cantos, in 853 CE, the first Sanskrit language biography of 24th and last Thirthankara of Jainism, Mahavira, though his Kannada language version of Kalidasa's epic poem, Kumārasambhava, Karnataka Kumarasambhava Kavya is lost. The most famous poet from this period is Adikavi Pampa (902-975 CE), one of the most famous writers in the Kannada language. His Vikramarjuna Vijaya (also called pampa bharatha) is hailed as a classic even to this day. With this and his other important work Adipurana he set a trend of poetic excellence for the Kannada poets of the future. The former work is an adaptation of the celebrated Mahabharata, and is the first such adaptation in Kannada. Noted for the strong human bent and the dignified style in his writing, Pampa has been one of the most influential writers in Kannada. He is identified as Adi kavi. (First poet). It is only in Kannada that we have a Ramayana and a Mahabharata based on the Jain tradition in addition to those based on Brahmanical tradition. Shivakotiacharya was the first writer in prose style. His work Vaddaradhane is dated to 900 CE. Sri Ponna (939-966 CE) is also an important writer from the same period, with Shanti Purana as his magnum opus. Another major writer of the period is Ranna (949-? CE). His most famous works are the Jain religious work Ajita Tirthankara Purana and the Gada Yuddha (The Mace fight), a birds' eye view of the Mahabharata, set in the last day of the Battle of Kurukshetra and relating the story of the Mahabharata through a series of flashbacks. Structurally, the poetry in this period is in the Champu style, essentially poetry interspersed with lyrical prose. The Siribhoovalaya is a unique work of multi-lingual Kannada literature written by Kumudendu Muni, a Jain monk. The work is unique in that it employs not alphabets, but is composed entirely in Kannada numerals. The Saangathya metre of Kannada poetry is employed in the work. It uses numerals 1 through 64 and employs various patterns or bandhas in a frame of 729 (27×27) squares to represent alphabets in nearly 18 scripts and over 700 languages. Some of the patterns used include the Chakrabandha, Hamsabandha, Varapadmabandha, Sagarabandha, Sarasabandha, Kruanchabandha, Mayurabandha, Ramapadabandha, Nakhabandha, etc. As each of these patterns are identified and decoded, the contents can be read. The work is said to have around 600,000 verses, nearly 6 times as big as the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata. The prabhulingaleele, Basava purana, channabasavapurana, basavarajavijaya are few of the epics under virashaiva tradition The post-sangam period (2nd century-6th century) saw many great Tamil epics being written, including Cilappatikaram (or Silappadhikaram), Manimegalai, Civaka Cintamani, Valayapathi and Kundalakesi. Later, during the Chola period, Kamban (12th century) wrote what is considered one of the greatest Tamil epics — the Kamba Ramayanam of Kamban, based on the Valmiki Ramayana. The Thiruthondat Puranam (or Periya Puranam) of Chekkizhar is the great Tamil epic of the Shaiva Bhakti saints and is part of the religious scripture of Tamil Nadu's majority Shaivites. Out of the five, Manimegalai and Kundalakesi are Buddhist religious works, Civaka Cintamani and Valayapathi are Tamil Jain works and Silappatikaram has a neutral religious view. They were written over a period of 1st century CE to 10th century CE and act as the historical evidence of social, religious, cultural and academic life of people during the era they ere created. Civaka Cintamani introduced long verses called virutha pa in Tamil literature., while Silappatikaram used akaval meter (monologue), a style adopted from Sangam literature. Tamil epics such as Silappathikaram and Periya Puranam are unique in Indian literature as they employ characters and stories associated with the people and language of the poets (Tamil) and take place within the Tamil country. This is in contrast to other Indian languages which are based on Sanskrit works and deal with Sanskrit mythology based on North Indian works. The first epic to appear in Hindi was Tulsidas' (1543–1623) Ramacharitamanas, also based on the Ramayana. It is considered a great classic of Hindi epic poetry and literature, and shows the author Tulsidas in complete command over all the important styles of composition — narrative, epic, lyrical and dialectic. He has given a human character to Rama, the Hindu Avatar of Vishnu, portraying him as an ideal son, husband, brother and king. In modern Hindi literature, Kamayani by Jaishankar Prasad has attained the status of an epic. The narrative of Kamayani is based on a popular mythological story, first mentioned in Satapatha Brahmana. It is a story of the great flood and the central characters of the epic poem are Manu (a male) and Shraddha (a female). Manu is representative of the human psyche and Shradha represents love. Another female character is Ida, who represents rationality. Some critics surmise that the three lead characters of Kamayani symbolize a synthesis of knowledge, action and desires in human life. Apart from Kamayani; Kurukshetra (Epic Poetry) (1946), Rashmirathi (1952) and Urvashi (1961) by Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar' have attained the status of epic poetry. Likewise Lalita Ke Aansoo by Krant M. L. Verma (1978) narrates the tragic story about the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri through his wife Lalita Shastri.
Lyric poems typically express personal or emotional feelings and is traditionally the home of the present tense. They have specific rhyming schemes and are often, but not always, set to music or a beat. Aristotle, in Poetics 1447a, mentions lyric poetry (kitharistike played to the cithara, a type of lyre) along with drama, epic poetry, dancing, painting and other forms of mimesis. The lyric poem, dating from the Romantic era, does have some thematic antecedents in ancient Greek and Roman verse, but the ancient definition was based on metrical criteria, and in archaic and classical Greek culture presupposed live performance accompanied by a stringed instrument. Much lyric poetry depends on regular meter based either on number of syllables or on stress. The most common meters are as follows: Some forms have a combination of meters, often using a different meter for the refrain. ... For the ancient Greeks, lyric poetry had a precise technical meaning: verse that was accompanied by a lyre or other stringed instrument (e.g. the barbitos). The lyric poet was distinguished from the writer of plays (although Athenian drama included choral odes, in lyric form), the writer of trochaic and iambic verses (which were recited), the writer of elegies (accompanied by the flute, rather than the lyre) and the writer of epic. The scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria created a canon of nine lyric poets deemed especially worthy of critical study. These archaic and classical musician-poets included Sappho, Alcaeus, Anacreon and Pindar. Archaic lyric was characterized by strophic composition and live musical performance. Some poets, like Pindar extended the metrical forms to a triad, including strophe, antistrophe (metrically identical to the strophe) and epode (whose form does not match that of the strophe). Among the major extant Roman poets of the classical period, only Catullus (nos. 11, 17, 30, 34, 51, 61) and Horace (four books of Odes) wrote lyric poetry, which however was no longer meant to be sung, but read or recited. What remained were the forms, the lyric meters of the Greeks adapted to Latin. Catullus was influenced by both archaic and Hellenistic Greek verse and belonged to a group of Roman poets called the Neoteroi ("newer poets"), who spurned epic poetry, following the lead of Callimachus, and instead composed brief highly polished poems in various thematic and metrical genres. The Roman love elegy of Tibullus, Propertius and Ovid (Amores, Heroides), with its focus on the poetic "I" and the expression of personal feeling, may be the thematic ancestor of much medieval, renaissance, Romantic and modern lyric poetry, but these works were composed in elegiac couplets, and so were not lyric poetry in the ancient sense. In China, an anthology of poems by Qu Yuan and Song Yu, Songs of Chu, defined a new form of poetry that came from the area of Chu during the Warring States period. As a new literary style, chu ci abandoned the classic four-character verses used in poems of Shi Jing and adopted verses with varying lengths. This gave it more rhythm and latitude in expression. Originating in 10th century Persian, a ghazal is a poetic form consisting of couplets that share a rhyme and a refrain. Formally it consists of a short lyric composed in a single metre with a single rhyme throughout. The central subject is love. Notable exponents include: Hafiz, Amir Khusro, Auhadi of Maragheh, Alisher Navoi, Obeid e zakani, Khaqani Shirvani, Anvari, Farid al-Din Attar, Omar Khayyam, and Rudaki. The ghazal was introduced to European poetry in the early 19th century by the German writers Friedrich Schlegel, Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who called Hafiz his "twin". Lyric in European literature of the medieval or Renaissance period means a poem written so that it could be set to music—whether or not it is. A poem's particular structure, function or theme is not specified by the term. The lyric poetry of Europe in this period was created largely without reference to the classical past, by the pioneers of courtly poetry and courtly love. The troubadors, travelling composers and performers of songs, began to flourish towards the end of the 11th century and were often imitated in successive centuries. Trouvères were poet-composers who were roughly contemporary with and influenced by the troubadours but who composed their works in the northern dialects of France. The first known trouvère was Chrétien de Troyes (fl. 1160s-80s). The dominant form of German lyric poetry in the period was the Minnesang, "a love lyric based essentially on a fictitious relationship between a knight and his high-born lady". Initially imitating the lyrics of the French troubadours and trouvères, Minnesang soon established a distinctive tradition. There is also a large body of medieval Galician-Portuguese lyric. A bhajan or kirtan is a Hindu devotional song. Bhajans are often simple songs in lyrical language expressing emotions of love for the Divine. Notable exponents include: Kabir, Surdas and Tulsidas. Hebrew singer-poets of the Middle Ages include: Yehuda Halevi, Solomon ibn Gabirol and Abraham ibn Ezra. Chinese Sanqu poetry was a Chinese poetic genre from the Jin Dynasty, 1115–1234, through the Yuan Dynasty, (1271–1368), to the following Ming period. Playwrights like Ma Zhiyuan (c. 2170-1330) and Guan Hanqing (c. 1300) were well-established writers of Sanqu Dramatic Lyrics. This poetry was composed in the vernacular or semi-vernacular. In Italy, Petrarch developed the sonnet form pioneered by Giacomo da Lentini, which Dante used in his Vita Nuova. In 1327, according to the poet, the sight of a woman called Laura in the church of Sainte-Claire d'Avignon awoke in him a lasting passion, celebrated in the Rime sparse ("Scattered rhymes"). Later, Renaissance poets who copied Petrarch's style named this collection of 366 poems Il Canzoniere ("Song Book"). Laura is in many ways both the culmination of medieval courtly love poetry and the beginning of Renaissance love lyric. Thomas Campion wrote lute songs. Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare helped popularize the sonnet. The Naga-Uta is a lyric poem, popular in this era, in alternating five and seven lines and ending with an extra seven-syllable line (see also the earlier choka version). In France, La Pléiade aimed to break with earlier traditions of French poetry (especially Marot and the grands rhétoriqueurs), and, maintaining that French was a worthy language for literary expression, to attempt to ennoble the French language by imitating the Ancients. Among the models favoured by the Pléiade were Pindar, Anacreon, Alcaeus, Horace and Ovid. The forms that dominate the poetic production of these poets are the Petrarchan sonnet cycle and the Horatian/Anacreontic ode. The group included: Pierre de Ronsard, Joachim du Bellay and Jean-Antoine de Baïf. Spanish devotional poetry adapts the lyric for religious purposes. Notable poets include: Teresa of Avila, Saint John of the Cross, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Garcilaso de la Vega, Lope de Vega. Although better known for his epic Lusiadas, Luís de Camões is also considered the greatest Portuguese lyric poet of the period. Lyric is the dominant poetic idiom in 17th-century English poetry from John Donne to Andrew Marvell. The poems of this period are short, rarely tell a story and are intense in expression. Other notable poets of the era include Ben Jonson, Robert Herrick, George Herbert, Aphra Behn, Thomas Carew, John Suckling, Richard Lovelace, John Milton, Richard Crashaw, and Henry Vaughan. A German lyric poet of the period is Martin Opitz. Matsuo Bashō is a Japanese lyric poet. In the 18th century lyric poetry declined in England and France. The atmosphere of the English coffee-house or French salon, where literature was discussed, was not congenial to lyric poetry. Exceptions include the lyrics of Robert Burns, William Cowper, Thomas Gray and Oliver Goldsmith. German lyric poets of the period include Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Novalis, Friedrich Schiller, Johann Heinrich Voß. Kobayashi Issa is a Japanese lyric poet. In Europe the lyric emerges as the principal poetic form of the 19th century, and comes to be seen as synonymous with poetry. Romantic lyric poetry consists of first-person accounts of the thoughts and feelings of a specific moment; feelings are extreme, but personal. The traditional form of the sonnet is revived in Britain, with William Wordsworth writing more sonnets than any other British poet. Other important Romantic lyric writers of the period include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley and George Gordon, Lord Byron. Later in the century the Victorian lyric is more linguistically self-conscious and defensive than the Romantic lyric. Victorian lyric poets include Alfred Lord Tennyson and Christina Rossetti. Lyric poetry was popular with the German reading public between 1830 and 1890, as shown in the number of poetry anthologies published in the period. According to Georg Lukács, the verse of Joseph von Eichendorff exemplifies the German Romantic revival of the folk-song tradition, initiated by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Gottfried Herder and receiving new impetus with the publication of Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano's collection of Folk Songs, Des Knaben Wunderhorn. The 19th century in France sees a confident recovery of the lyric voice after its relative demise in the 18th century. The lyric becomes the dominant mode in French poetry of this period. Charles Baudelaire is, for Walter Benjamin, the last European example of lyric poetry "successful on a mass scale." The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries constitute the period of the rise of Russian lyric poetry, exemplified by Aleksandr Pushkin. The Swedish "Phosphorists" were influenced by the Romantic movement and their chief poet, Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom produced many lyric poems. Italian lyric poets of the period include Ugo Foscolo, Giacomo Leopardi, Giovanni Pascoli and Gabriele D'Annunzio. Japanese lyric poets include Taneda Santoka, Masaoka Shiki and Ishikawa Takuboku. Spanish lyric poets include Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Rosalía de Castro and José de Espronceda. In the early years of the 20th century rhymed lyric poetry, usually expressing the feelings of the poet, was the dominant poetic form in America, Europe and the British colonies. The English Georgian poets such as A. E. Housman, Walter de la Mare and Edmund Blunden used the lyric form. The Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore was praised by William Butler Yeats for his lyric poetry and compared with the troubadour poets, when the two met in 1912. The relevance and acceptability of the lyric in the modern age was, though, called into question by modernist poets such as Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, H.D. and William Carlos Williams, who rejected the English lyric form of the 19th century, feeling that it relied too heavily on melodious language, rather than complexity of thought. After World War II, the American New Criticism returned to the lyric, advocating a poetry that made conventional use of rhyme, meter and stanzas, and was modestly personal in the lyric tradition. Lyric poetry dealing with relationships, sex and domestic life constituted the new mainstream of American poetry in the late 20th century, influenced by the confessional poets of the 1950s and 60s, such as Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton.
A national epic is an epic poem or a literary work of epic scope which seeks or is believed to capture and express the essence or spirit of a particular nation; not necessarily a nation state, but at least an ethnic or linguistic group with aspirations to independence or autonomy. National epics frequently recount the origin of a nation, a part of its history, or a crucial event in the development of national identity such as other national symbols. In a broader sense, a national epic may simply be an epic in the national language which the people or government of that nation are particularly proud of. It is distinct from a pan-national epic which is taken as representative of a larger cultural or linguistic group than a nation or a nation-state. Thus, Beowulf can be the national epic of England, yet England is part of Western civilization and thus also subscribes to the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer and the Aeneid of Virgil as pan-national epics.][ In medieval times Homer's Iliad was taken to be based on historical facts, and the Trojan War came to be considered as seminal in the genealogies of European monarchies. Virgil's Aeneid was taken to be the Roman equivalent of the Iliad, starting from the Fall of Troy and leading up to the birth of the young Roman nation. According to the then prevailing conception of history][, empires were born and died in organic succession and correspondences existed between the past and the present. Geoffrey of Monmouth's 12th century classically inspired Historia Regum Britanniae, for example, fulfilled this function for Britain. Just as kings longed to emulate great leaders of the past, Alexander or Caesar, it was a temptation for poets to become a new Homer or Virgil. In 16th century Portugal, Luis de Camões celebrated Portugal as a naval power in his Os Lusíadas while Pierre de Ronsard set out to write La Franciade, an epic meant to be the Gallic equivalent of Virgil's poem that also traced back France's ancestry to Trojan princes. The emergence of a national ethos, however, preceded the coining of the phrase national epic, which seems to originate with Romantic nationalism. Where no obvious national epic existed, the "Romantic spirit" was motivated to fill it. An early example of poetry that was invented to fill a perceived gap in "national" myth is Ossian, the narrator and supposed author of a cycle of poems by James Macpherson, which Macpherson claimed to have translated from ancient sources in Scottish Gaelic. However, many national epics (including Macpherson's Ossian) antedate 19th-century romanticism. In the early 20th century, the phrase no longer necessarily applies to an epic poem, and occurs to describe a literary work that readers and critics agree is emblematical of the literature of a nation, without necessarily including details from that nation's historical background. In this context the phrase has definitely positive connotations, as for example in James Joyce's Ulysses where it is suggested Don Quixote is Spain's national epic while Ireland's remains as yet unwritten: They remind one of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Our national epic has yet to be written, Dr Sigerson says. Moore is the man for it. A knight of the rueful countenance here in Dublin.
Examples of epics that have been enlisted as "national" include: United States Some prose works, while not strictly epic poetry, have an important place in the national consciousness of their nations. These include the following:
The chansons de geste, Old French for "songs of heroic deeds" (from gesta: Latin: "deeds, actions accomplished"), are the epic poems that appear at the dawn of French literature. The earliest known examples date from the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, before the emergence of the lyric poetry of the trouvères (troubadours) and the earliest verse romances. They reached their apogee in the period 1150-1250. Composed in verse, these narrative poems of moderate length (averaging 4000 lines) were originally sung, or (later) recited, by minstrels or jongleurs. More than one hundred chansons de geste have survived in around three hundred manuscripts that date from the 12th to the 15th century. Since the 19th century, much critical debate has centered on the origins of the chansons de geste, and particularly on explaining the length of time between the composition of the chansons and the actual historical events which they reference. The historical events the chansons allude to occur in the eighth through tenth centuries, yet the earliest chansons we have were probably composed at the end of the eleventh century: only three chansons de geste have a composition that incontestably dates from before 1150: the Chanson de Guillaume, The Song of Roland and Gormont et Isembart: the first half of the Chanson de Guillaume may date from as early as the eleventh century; Gormont et Isembart may date from as early as 1068, according to one expert; and The Song of Roland probably dates from after 1086 to c.1100. Three early theories of the origin of chansons de geste believe in the continued existence of epic material (either as lyric poems, epic poems or prose narrations) in these intervening two or three centuries. Critics like Claude Charles Fauriel, François Raynouard and German Romanticists like Jacob Grimm posited the spontaneous creation of lyric poems by the people as a whole at the time of the historic battles, which were later put together to form the epics. This was the basis for the "cantilena" theory of epic origin, which was elaborated by Gaston Paris, although he maintained that single authors, rather than the multitude, were responsible for the songs. This theory was also supported by Robert Fawtier and by Léon Gautier (although Gautier thought the cantilenae were composed in Germanic languages). At the end of the nineteenth century, Pio Rajna, seeing similarities between the chansons de geste and old Germanic/Merovingian tales, posited a Germanic origin for the French poems. A different theory, introduced by the medievalist Paul Meyer, suggested the poems were based on old prose narrations of the original events. Another theory (largely discredited today), developed by Joseph Bédier, posited that the early chansons were recent creations, not earlier than the year 1000, developed by singers who, emulating the songs of "saints lives" sung in front of churches (and collaborating with the church clerics), created epic stories based on the heroes whose shrines and tombs dotted the great pilgrimage routes, as a way of drawing pilgrims to these churches. Critics have also suggested that knowledge by clerics of ancient Latin epics may have played a role in their composition. Subsequent criticism has vacillated between "traditionalists" (chansons created as part of a popular tradition) and "individualists" (chansons created by a unique author), but more recent historical research has done much to fill in gaps in the literary record and complicate the question of origins. Critics have discovered manuscripts, texts and other traces of the legendary heroes, and further explored the continued existence of a Latin literary tradition (c.f. the scholarship of Ernst Robert Curtius) in the intervening centuries. The work of Jean Rychner on the art of the minstrels and the work of Parry and Lord on Yugoslavian oral traditional poetry, Homeric verse and oral composition have also been suggested to shed light on the oral composition of the chansons, although this view is not without its critics who maintain the importance of writing not only in the preservation of the texts, but also in their composition, especially for the more sophisticated poems. Composed in Old French and apparently intended for oral performance by jongleurs, the chansons de geste narrate legendary incidents (sometimes based on real events) in the history of France during the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries, the age of Charles Martel, Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, with emphasis on their conflicts with the Moors and Saracens, and also disputes between kings and their vassals. The traditional subject matter of the chansons de geste became known as the Matter of France. This distinguished them from romances concerned with the Matter of Britain, that is, King Arthur and his knights; and with the so-called Matter of Rome, covering the Trojan War, the conquests of Alexander the Great, the life of Julius Cæsar and some of his Imperial successors, who were given medieval makeovers as exemplars of chivalry. A key theme of the chansons de geste, which set them off from the romances (which tended to explore the role of the "individual"), is their critique and celebration of community/collectivity (their epic heroes are portrayed as figures in the destiny of the nation and Christianity) and their representation of the complexities of feudal relations and service. The subject matter of the chansons evolved over time, according to public taste. Alongside the great battles and scenes of historic prowess of the early chansons there began to appear other themes. Realistic elements (money, urban scenes) and elements from the new court culture (female characters, the role of love) began to appear. Other fantasy and adventure elements, derived from the romances, were gradually added: giants, magic, and monsters increasingly appear among the foes along with Muslims. There is also an increasing dose of Eastern adventure, drawing on contemporary experiences in the Crusades; in addition, one series of chansons retells the events of the First Crusade and the first years of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The conflicts of the 14th century (Hundred Years' War) brought a renewed epic spirit and nationalistic (or propagandistic) fervor to some chansons de geste (such as La Chanson de Hugues Capet). The poems contain an assortment of character types; the repertoire of valiant hero, brave traitor, shifty or cowardly traitor, Saracen giant, beautiful Saracen princess, and so forth. As the genre matured, fantasy elements were introduced. Some of the characters that were devised by the poets in this manner include the fairy Oberon, who made his literary debut in Huon de Bordeaux; and the magic horse Bayard, who first appears in Renaud de Montauban. Quite soon an element of self-parody appears; even the august Charlemagne was not above gentle mockery in the Pèlerinage de Charlemagne. The narrative structure of the chanson de geste has been compared to the one in the Nibelungenlied and in creole legends by Henri Wittmann on the basis of common narreme structure as first developed in the work of Eugene Dorfman and Jean-Pierre Tusseau Early chansons de geste were typically composed in ten-syllable lines grouped in assonanced (meaning that the last stressed vowel is the same in each line throughout the stanza, but the last consonant differs from line to line) stanzas (called laisses). These stanzas are of variable length. An example from the Chanson de Roland illustrates the technique of the ten-syllable assonanced form. The assonance in this stanza is on e: Later chansons were composed in monorhyme stanzas, in which the last syllable of each line rhymes fully throughout the stanza. Later chansons also tended to be composed using alexandrines (twelve-syllable) lines, instead of ten-syllable lines (some early chansons, such as Girart de Vienne, were even adapted into a twelve-syllable version). The following example of the twelve-syllable rhymed form is from the opening lines of Les Chétifs, a chanson in the Crusade cycle. The rhyme is on ie: These forms of versification were substantially different than the forms found in the Old French verse romances (romans) which were written in octosyllabic rhymed couplets. The public of the chansons de geste—the lay (secular) public of the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries—was largely illiterate, except for (at least to the end of the 12th century) members of the great courts and (in the south) smaller noble families. Thus, the chansons were primarily an oral medium. Opinions vary greatly on whether the early chansons were first written down and then read from manuscripts (although parchment was quite expensive) or memorized for performance, or whether portions were improvised, or whether they were entirely the product of spontaneous oral composition and later written down. Similarly, scholars differ greatly on the social condition and literacy of the poets themselves; were they cultured clerics or illiterate jongleurs working within an oral tradition? As an indication of the role played by orality in the tradition of the chanson de geste, lines and sometimes whole stanzas, especially in the earlier examples, are noticeably formulaic in nature, making it possible both for the poet to construct a poem in performance and for the audience to grasp a new theme with ease. Scholarly opinions differ on the exact manner of recitation, but it is generally believed that the chansons de geste were originally sung (whereas the medieval romances were probably spoken) by poets, minstrels or jongleurs, who would sometimes accompany themselves, or be accompanied, on the vielle, a mediæval fiddle played with a bow. Several manuscript texts include lines in which the jongleur demands attention, threatens to stop singing, promises to continue the next day, and asks for money or gifts. By the middle of the 13th century, singing had probably given way to recitation. It has been calculated that a reciter could sing about a thousand verses an hour and probably limited himself to 1000-1300 verses by performance, making it likely that the performance of works extended over several days. Given that many chansons from the late twelfth century on extended to over 10,000 verses or more (for example, Aspremont comprises 11, 376 verses, while Quatre Fils Aymon comprises 18,489 verses), it is conceivable that few spectators heard the longest works in their entirety. While poems like The Song of Roland were sometimes heard in public squares and were no doubt warmly received by a broad public, some critics caution that the chansons should probably not be characterized as popular literature and some chansons appear particularly tailored for an audience of aristocratic, privileged or warrior classes. More than one hundred chansons de geste have survived in around three hundred manuscripts that date from the 12th to the 15th century. Several popular chansons were written down more than once in varying forms. The earliest chansons are all (more or less) anonymous; many later ones have named authors. By the middle of the 12th century, the corpus of works was being expanded principally by "cyclisation", that is to say by the formation of "cycles" of chansons attached to a character or group of characters—with new chansons being added to the ensemble by singing of the earlier or later adventures of the hero, of their youthful exploits ("enfances"), the great deeds of their ancestors or descendants, or their retreat from the world to a convent ("moniage") -- or attached to an event (like the Crusades). About 1215 Bertrand de Bar-sur-Aube, in the introductory lines to his Girart de Vienne, subdivided the Matter of France, the usual subject area of the chansons de geste, into three cycles, which revolved around three main characters (see quotation at Matter of France). There are several other less formal lists of chansons, or of the legends they incorporate. One can be found in the fabliau entitled Des Deux Bordeors Ribauz, a humorous tale of the second half of the 13th century, in which a jongleur lists the stories he knows. Another is included by the Catalan troubadour Guiraut de Cabrera in his humorous poem Ensenhamen, better known from its first words as "Cabra juglar": this is addressed to a juglar (jongleur) and purports to instruct him on the poems he ought to know but doesn't. The listing below is arranged according to Bertrand de Bar-sur-Aube's cycles, extended with two additional groupings and with a final list of chansons that fit into no cycle. There are numerous differences of opinion about the categorization of individual chansons. The chief character is usually Charlemagne or one of his immediate successors. A pervasive theme is the King's role as champion of Christianity. This cycle contains the first of the chansons to be written down, the Chanson de Roland or "Song of Roland". The central character is not Garin de Monglane but his supposed great-grandson, Guillaume d'Orange. These chansons deal with knights who were typically younger sons, not heirs, who seek land and glory through combat with the Infidel (in practice, Muslim) enemy. This cycle concerns traitors and rebels against royal authority. In each case the revolt ends with the defeat of the rebels and their eventual repentance. This local cycle of epics of Lorraine traditional history, in the late form in which it is now known, includes details evidently drawn from Huon de Bordeaux and Ogier le Danois. Not listed by Bertrand de Bar-sur-Aube, this cycle deals with the First Crusade and its immediate aftermath. The chansons de geste reached their apogee in the period 1150-1250. By the middle of the 13th century, public taste in France had begun to abandon these epics, preferring, rather, the romances. As the genre progressed in the middle of the 13th century, only certain traits (like versification, laisse structure, formulaic forms, setting, and other clichés of the genre) remained to set the chansons apart from the romances. The 15th century saw the cycles of chansons (along with other chronicles) converted into large prose compilations (such as the compilation made by David Aubert). Yet, the themes of the epics continued to exert an influence through the 16th century. The chansons de geste created a body of mythology that lived on well after they ceased to be produced in France. The French chanson gave rise to the Old Spanish tradition of the cantar de gesta. The chanson de geste was also adapted in southern (Occitan-speaking) France. One of the three surviving manuscripts of the chanson Girart de Roussillon (12th century) is in Occitan, as are two works based on the story of Charlemagne and Roland, Rollan a Saragossa and Ronsasvals (early 12th century). The chanson de geste form was also used in such Occitan texts as Canso d'Antioca (late 12th century), Daurel e Betó (first half of the 13th century), and Song of the Albigensian Crusade (c.1275) (cf Occitan literature). In medieval Germany, the chansons de geste elicited little interest from the German courtly audience, unlike the romances which were much appreciated. While The Song of Roland was among the first French epics to be translated into German (by Konrad der Pfaffe as the Rolandslied, c.1170), and the German poet Wolfram von Eschenbach based his (incomplete) 13th century epic Willehalm (consisting of seventy-eight manuscripts) on the Aliscans, a work in the cycle of William of Orange (Eschenbach's work had a great success in Germany), these remained isolated examples. Other than a few other works translated from the cycle of Charlemagne in the 13th century, the chansons de geste were not adapted into German, and it is believed that this was because the epic poems lacked what the romances specialized in portraying: scenes of idealized knighthood, love and courtly society. In the late 13th century, certain French chansons de geste were adapted into the Old Norse Karlamagnús saga. In Italy, there exist several 14th-century texts in verse or prose which recount the feats of Charlemagne in Spain, including a chanson de geste in Franco-Venetian, the Entrée d'Espagne (c.1320) (notable for transforming the character of Roland into a knight errant, similar to heroes from the Arthurian romances), and a similar Italian epic La Spagna (1350-1360) in ottava rima. Through such works, the "Matter of France" became an important source of material (albeit significantly transformed) in Italian romantic epics. Morgante (c.1483) by Luigi Pulci, Orlando innamorato (1495) by Matteo Maria Boiardo, Orlando furioso (1516) by Ludovico Ariosto, and Jerusalem Delivered (1581) by Torquato Tasso are all indebted to the French narrative material (the Pulci, Boiardo and Ariosto poems are founded on the legends of the paladins of Charlemagne, and particularly, of Roland, translated as "Orlando"). The incidents and plot devices of the Italian epics later became central to works of English literature such as Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene; Spenser attempted to adapt the form devised to tell the tale of the triumph of Christianity over Islam to tell instead of the triumph of Protestantism over Roman Catholicism.
Akhilleus Patroklos Antikensammlung Berlin F2278.jpg
Achilles tending the wounded Patroclus
(Attic red-figure kylix, ca. 500 BCE) Setting: Troy (modern Hisarlik, Turkey)
Period: Bronze Age
Traditional dating: ca. 1194–1184 BCE
Modern dating: between 1260 and 1240 BCE
Outcome: Greek victory, destruction of Troy
See also: IliadHistoricity of the Iliad  Epic Cycle  , Book 2Aeneid 
Iphigenia in Aulis  Philoctetes 
Ajax  The Trojan Women  Posthomerica
See also: Trojan War in popular culture Judgement of Paris  Seduction of Helen 
Trojan Horse  Sack of Troy  The Returns 
Wanderings of Odysseus 
Aeneas and the Founding of Rome
Agamemnon  Achilles  Helen  Menelaus  Nestor  Odysseus  Ajax  Diomedes  Patroclus  Thersites  Achaeans  Myrmidons
See also: Catalogue of Ships Priam  Hecuba  Hector  Paris  Cassandra  Andromache  Aeneas  Memnon   Troilus  Penthesilea and the Amazons  Sarpedon
See also: Trojan Battle Order Homeric question  Archaeology of Troy  Mycenae  Bronze Age warfare
The Epic Cycle (Greek: , Epikos Kyklos) was a collection of Ancient Greek epic poems that related the story of the Trojan War, which includes the Cypria, the Aethiopis, the so-called Little Iliad, the Iliupersis, the Nostoi, and the Telegony. Scholars sometimes include the two Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, among the poems of the Epic Cycle, but the term is more often used to specify the non-Homeric poems as distinct from the Homeric ones. Aside from the Odyssey and the Iliad, the cyclic epics only survive in fragments, the most important of which is a detailed summary written by someone named Proclus (not the same person as the philosopher Proclus Diadochus). The epics were composed in dactylic hexameter verse. The epic cycle was the distillation in literary form of an oral tradition that had developed during the Greek Dark Age, which was based in part on localised hero cults. The traditional material from which the literary epics were drawn treats of Mycenaean Bronze Age culture from the perspective of Iron Age and later Greece. In modern scholarship the study of the historical and literary relationship between the Homeric epics and the rest of the Cycle is called Neoanalysis. A longer Epic Cycle, as described by the 9th-century CE scholar and clergyman Photius in his Bibliotheca, also included the Titanomachy and the Theban Cycle, which in turn comprised the Oedipodea, the Thebaid, the Epigoni and the Alcmeonis; however, it is certain that none of the cyclic epics (other than Homer) survived to Photius' day, and it is likely that Proclus and Photius were not referring to a canonical collection. Modern scholars do not normally include the Theban Cycle when referring to the Epic Cycle. Only the Iliad and the Odyssey survive intact, although fragments of the other epics are quoted by later authors, and a few lines survive in the tattered remains of ancient papyri. Most of our knowledge of the Cyclic epics comes from a broken summary of them which serves as part of the preface to the famous 10th-century CE Iliad manuscript known as Venetus A. This preface is damaged, missing the Cypria, and has to be supplemented by other sources (the Cypria summary is preserved in several other manuscripts, each of which contains only the Cypria and none of the other epics). The summary is in turn an excerpt from a longer work. This longer work was entitled Chrestomathy, and written by someone named Proclus. This is known from evidence provided by the later scholar Photius, in his Bibliotheca. Photius provides sufficient information about Proclus' Chrestomathy to demonstrate that the Venetus A excerpt is derived from the same work. Little is known about Proclus, except that he is certainly not the philosopher Proclus Diadochus. Some have thought that it might be the same person as the lesser-known grammarian Eutychius Proclus, who lived in the 2nd century CE, but it is quite possible that he is simply an otherwise unknown figure. The non-Homeric epics are usually regarded as later than the Iliad and Odyssey. There is no reliable evidence for this, however, and some Neoanalyst scholars operate on the premise that the Homeric epics were later than the Cyclic epics and drew on them extensively. Other Neoanalysts make the milder claim that the Homeric epics draw on legendary material which later crystallized into the Epic Cycle. This is an ongoing debate. In antiquity the Homeric epics were considered to be the greatest works in the Cycle. For Hellenistic scholars the Cyclic poets, the authors to whom the other poems were commonly ascribed, were νεώτεροι (neōteroi "later poets"), and κυκλικός (kyklikos "cyclic") was synonymous with "formulaic": then, and in much modern scholarship, there has been an equation between poetry that is later and poetry that is inferior. Famously Aristotle in his Poetics criticises the Cypria and Little Iliad for the piecemeal character of their plots: But other poets compose a plot around one person, one time, and one plot with multiple parts; like the composer of the Cypria and the Little Iliad. As a result, only one tragedy is made out of the Iliad and the Odyssey, but many from the Cypria many, and from the Little Iliad more than eight ... Aristotle does not extend his criticism to the other epics in the Cycle; the Aethiopis, Iliou persis, and Telegony fare much better under his criteria for epic poetry. In more recent times it has been argued that the fantastic and magical content of the non-Homeric epics mark them as inferior; on the other hand, parts of the Iliad and most of the Odyssey could sound just as fantastic if only brief summaries of them survived, with talking horses, a river chasing a man, and one-eyed man-eating monsters. It is certain that the poets of the Iliad and Odyssey knew the stories in the rest of the Cycle and drew upon them extensively][, and it is likely that the Aethiopis in particular was of relatively high quality][. The tales told in the Cycle are recounted by other ancient sources, notably Virgil's Aeneid (book 2) which recounts the sack of Troy from a Trojan perspective; Ovid's Metamorphoses (books 13–14), which describes the Greeks' landing at Troy (from the Cypria) and the judgment of Achilles' arms (Little Iliad); Quintus of Smyrna's Posthomerica, which narrates the events after Achilles' death up until the end of the war; and the death of Agamemnon and the vengeance taken by his son Orestes (the Nostoi) are the subject of later Greek tragedy, especially Aeschylus's Oresteian trilogy. How and when the eight epics of the Cycle came to be combined into a single collection and referred to as a "cycle" is a matter of ongoing debate. In the late 19th century, Monro argued that the scholastic use of the word κυκλικός did not refer to the Cycle as such, but meant "conventional", and that the Cycle was compiled in the Hellenistic period (perhaps as late as the 1st century BCE). More recent scholars have preferred to push the date slightly earlier, but accept the general thrust of the argument. The nature of the relationship between the Cyclic epics and Homer is also bound up in this question. As told by Proclus, the plots of the six non-Homeric epics look very much as though they are designed to fit around Homer, with no overlaps with one another. For example, a surviving quotation shows that the Little Iliad narrated how Neoptolemus took Andromache prisoner after the fall of Troy; however, in Proclus, the Little Iliad stops before the sack of Troy begins. Some scholars have argued that the Cypria as originally planned dealt with more of the Trojan War than Proclus' summary suggests; conversely, others argue that it was designed to lead up to the Iliad, and that Proclus' account reflects the Cypria as originally designed. It is probable that at least some editing or "stitching" was done to edit epics together. For the last line of the Iliad, ὣς οἵ γ᾽ ἀμφίεπον τάφον Ἕκτορος ἱπποδάμοιο. In this way they performed the funeral of Hector, tamer of horses. an alternative reading is preserved which is designed to lead directly into the Aethiopis: ὣς οἵ γ' ἀμφίεπον τάφον Ἕκτορος· ἦλθε δ' Ἀμαζών,
Ἄρηος θυγάτηρ μεγαλήτορος ἀνδροφόνοιο. In this way they performed the funeral of Hector; then the Amazon [Penthesileia] came,
daughter of great-hearted man-slaughtering Ares. ... There are contradictions between epics in the Cycle. For example, the Greek warrior who killed Hector's son Astyanax in the fall of Troy is Neoptolemus according to the Little Iliad; according to the Iliou persis, it is Odysseus.
An epic is traditionally a genre of poetry, known as epic poetry. However in modern terms, epic is often extended to other art forms, such as epic theatre, films, music, novels, plays, television shows, and video games, wherein the story has a theme of grandeur and heroism, just as in epic poetry. There are many genres of epic (exclusive of epic poetry): epic fantasy describes works of fantasy, such as in J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Epic fantasy has been described as containing three elements: it must be a trilogy or longer, its time-span must encompass years or more, and it must contain a large back-story or universe setting in which the story takes place. Epic fantasy is not limited to the Western tradition, Arabic epic literature includes examples of epic fantasy such as Thousand and One Nights. The epic film genre encompasses historical epics, religious epics, and western epics, although it has split into many other genres and sub-genres.][ The female epic examines ways in which female authors have adapted the masculine epic tradition to express their own heroic visions. There are chivalric epics from the Middle Ages, national epics, and pan-national epics. The real-life stories of heroic figures have also been referred to as being epic; examples include Ernest Shackleton's exploration adventures in Antarctica.
Fiction Poetry

Indian epic poetry is the epic poetry written in the Indian subcontinent, traditionally called Kavya (or Kāvya; Sanskrit: काव्य, IAST: kāvyá). The Ramayana and Mahabharata, originally composed in Sanskrit and translated thereafter into many other Indian languages, are some of the oldest surviving epic poems on earth and form part of "Itihāsa" (which roughly means tradition, or (oral) history).

The ancient Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, also termed Itihāsa ("History") or Mahākāvya ("Great Compositions"), refer to epic poems that form a canon of Hindu scripture. Indeed, the epic form prevailed and verse remained until very recently the preferred form of Hindu literary works. Hero-worship was and is a central aspect of Indian culture, and thus readily lent itself to a literary tradition that abounded in epic poetry and literature. The Puranas, a massive collection of verse-form histories of India's many Hindu gods and goddesses, followed in this tradition. Itihāsas and Purāṇas are mentioned in the Atharva Veda and referred to as the fifth Veda.

The long poem is a literary genre including all poetry of considerable length. Though the definition of a long poem is vague and broad, the genre includes some of the most important poetry ever written.

The long poem traces its origins to the ancient epics, such as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. With more than 220000 (100000 shloka or couplets) verses and about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is one of the longest epic poems in the world. It is roughly ten times the size of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, roughly five times longer than Dante's Divine Comedy, and about four times the size of the Ramayana. In English, Beowulf, Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, Milton's Paradise Lost, and Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, are among the first important long poems. The long poem thrived and gained new vitality in the hands of experimental Modernists in the early 1900s and has continued to evolve through the 21st century.

Literature Arts

A form of oral poetry practiced throughout ancient India with parallels in Ireland, Wales and Greece, set by rules of production. As the intellectual workers of the day, South Indian bards are an early example of heroic poets who drew upon discursive rules of production in to communicate values that kept the leaders in check. Puṟam (outer) poetry was a class of political poetry and in contrast to the Akam (inner), or love poetry as the two main genres of the Heroic epics (Kailasapathy 1968). An epic (from the Ancient Greek adjective ἐπικός (epikos), from ἔπος (epos) "word, story, poem") is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form. Another type of epic poetry is epyllion (plural: epyllia), which is a brief narrative poem with a romantic or mythological theme. The term, which means 'little epic', came into use in the nineteenth century. It refers primarily to the erudite, shorter hexameter poems of the Hellenistic period and the similar works composed at Rome from the age of the neoterics; to a lesser degree, the term includes some poems of the English Renaissance, particularly those influenced by Ovid.]citation needed[ The most famous example of classical epyllion is perhaps Catullus 64.

Some of the most famous examples of epic poetry include the Ramayana, Mahabharata, the Ancient Greek Iliad and the Odyssey, the Old English Beowulf, or the Portuguese Lusiads.

Entertainment Culture

In journalism, a human interest story is a feature story that discusses a person or people in an emotional way. It presents people and their problems, concerns, or achievements in a way that brings about interest, sympathy or motivation in the reader or viewer.

Human interest stories may be "the story behind the story" about an event, organization, or otherwise faceless historical happening, such as about the life of an individual soldier during wartime, an interview with a survivor of a natural disaster, a random act of kindness or profile of someone known for a career achievement.

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