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Where Have All The Epics Gone?

Since the time that the Epic genre has passed along some of the greatest works in literature, such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, there is a noticeable gap in the attention it has received in spite of its influential past. The genre continues to enjoy periodical bursts of success that extends beyond the 13th century, and various works have maintained a status of exceptional etiquette among scholars of the literary discipline. The question is, why has there been fewer Epics written, and what has become of this style of literature?
It is encouraged to research the background of the Epic genre, and the examples that represent it. A suggestion is to analyze the style of these pieces over the course of time, and how they portray the period in which they are written. And finally, it may be of great importance to see how certain Epics have continued or have been remodeled in the recent years (a brilliant example is the television adaption of War and Peace), and what that may mean about the modern approach to this ancient genre.

  • I would suggest to anyone taking on this topic to consider epics from all periods/civilizations, from the Epic of Gilgamesh, The Ramayana, and Dante's Divine Comedy to Paradise Lost in addition to War and Peace as a more recent example. The answer to this question may lie in looking at the rise of the novel as popular form. – MichelleAjodah 5 years ago
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  • A lot of people, myself included, would consider works like LOTR and Star Wars to be Epics, so it's not like they're not around, or that they're unpopular, but, I think in a way they aren't taken seriously as canon, rather, films/books/etc. like that are usually referred to these days as "fandoms." Nevertheless, the later Epics still have the same qualities (hero journey, specific arcs, etc.) as a work like Beowulf, so there definitely is so much to learn and to take seriously. Perhaps it's some people's belief that more modern works have not yet become immortal. Also, in the literary world, it's rough because query letters have to be short, you have to worry about word count--there's always something tricky to bypass. So many times it's all about what's quick. It's definitely an interesting topic. One could certainly write about what you mentioned, about the remodeling of the Epic, especially since so many are on film/television and there is a huge transition between cutting things out and separating the Epic by different films and episodes. Either way, and bare bones, it's possible not a lot show up all the time because frankly, sometimes it takes a lifetime to complete a great work. – Jaye Freeland 5 years ago
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  • ^ Remember that this meant to provide a revision or helpful note to the topic, as that could be the kind of response that a writer may take to use for their topic. I appreciate and enjoy what you have written, but this is a topic to give others an idea for something to write out, not necessarily to provoke a response. But I highly recommend you take the topic, as you could do well with writing about this subject. – N.D. Storlid 5 years ago
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  • Ah! Thank you! I appreciate that. Hmm. I think, then, to break everything down, the person who is interested is writing about might want to research society now verses hundreds of years ago, how society interacts with Epics and "Fandoms" now, what is deemed more marketable in the publishing community, and how long it takes to come up with a larger work. – Jaye Freeland 5 years ago
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  • Lifestyle and technology may have impeded the resonance of the epic. Immediacy, innovation, and quick change create tension with the journey and struggle which are elemental to epic. – Jeffery Moser 5 years ago
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