1. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    An Epic Question.

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Darkkin, Jun 29, 2012.

    How many people actually still read epic poetry, (outside of what is mandated by schools...), and if you have read the epics, which ones? Have any of you, here, tried writing it? Just wondering if I am an odd duck out with one of my projects.

    - Darkkin
     
  2. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    Had to read this in school, does ''Tristan and Iseult'' count as epic? if so, that was pretty cool I guess.
    but I don't read it and don't write it unless I have to (homework)
     
  3. P R Crawford
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    P R Crawford Member

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    I wouldn't worry about being an "odd duck out". You can learn and grow from many different kinds of experiments. And the odder experiments can be quite valuable in this regard.

    I personally would welcome reading a well-written epic poem - even if it's not on the same level as, say, The Iliad. ;)
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If, in the definition of "epic," you include any kind of long-form narrative poetry, then yes, I do read it. My favorite poet is Robinson Jeffers, who set his bizarre and disturbing poems on the California coast, and wrote, in my opinion, amazingly powerful stuff.
     
  5. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Most definitely long-form flowing narrative. If I had a minstrel my project could well be a ballad, very bad ballad, mind, but a ballad, still. Pardon the play on words. :D

    - Darkkin
     
  6. Lady Amalthea
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    Lady Amalthea Member

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    I love reading epic poetry, but I'm afraid I only know the classics. I'd love to read contemporary epics, so if you feel like writing them, I'd definitely read them, lol.

    "Tristan and Iseult" an epic? I'd say that's a tragic lai (a "lai" is a kind of medieval ballad). Unless you read the XIXth century French version, which is a tragic romance novel. Although most of the epics are also tragic (almost every epic protagonist dies), my guess is that what sets epic and tragic poetry apart is the main theme. IMO, if it's mainly about love and heartbreak, or man not being able to escape his own fate, it's tragedy; if it's mainly about guys battling and killing each other, or about becoming immortal through deeds of valor, it's epic. Though the "Tristan" tale has a lot of cool battle scenes in it (especially the two medieval French versions), its main theme is Tristan and Iseult's forbidden love. It drives them to despair and, ultimately, to their deaths. *End of rant. I'm sorry, but this is one of my favorite stories of all time. :-D
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Other than a few of the classics (Iliad, Odyssey, Beowulf), I haven't read much epic poetry. It's just not something I enjoy reading.

    Epic poetry has fallen out of style, the main reason being that most people don't like reading poetry in the first place.
     
  8. noodlepower
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    noodlepower Member

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    Hmmm..... I've only read the classics and I only read them because my high school English class required it. However, that's not to say I didn't enjoy it! I did very much enjoy epic poetry. I even read Paradise Lost a few years ago. I have to agree with thirdwind that epic poetry has fallen out of style, though. And I do find most people don't like to read poetry but enjoy spoken word much more.

    Of course, if someone wrote an epic poem, I'd definitely read it - if it were good. I actually tried to write an epic poem once but I couldn't make it work.
     
  9. Captain Ahab
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    Captain Ahab Member

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    There is new hope for epic poetry since Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf made it to the New York Times Bestseller list :D I also loved Robert Fagles' translation of Homer's Odyssey, I used to have it the unabridged audio-tapes (17 hours of narration), and if I must have listened to it a dozen times. Simon Armitage has translated Sir Gawain and the Greene Knight; I haven't read it as I am comfortable with Middle-English myself, but again it is another sign of renewed interest.
     
  10. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Epic Poetry is a particular love of mine. And can only back up what Captain Ahab has already said. I own all of Robert Fagle's translations and I find him to be the best, most sensitive translator working today. The C.H. Sisson translation of Dante's Comedy is, I think, superior to the more famous Longfellow translation in many ways - though I will say the Longfellow has some famous lines that still keeps it influential.

    I don't know why, but there is something about an epic poem, in verse, that really makes me happy.
     
  11. Estrade
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    Yeah, I've read the Armitage and loved it.

    I don't read very much in this form, though, to be honest. It's probably the form I read least often.
     

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