Epic (genre)

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An epic is traditionally a genre of poetry, known as epic poetry. [1] In modern terms, epic is often extended to describing other art forms, such as epic theatre, films, music, novels, television series, and video games, [1] wherein the story has a theme of grandeur and heroism, [2] just as in epic poetry. Scholars argue that the epic has long since become "disembedded" from its origins in oral poetry, appearing in successive narrative media throughout history. [3]

Genre is any form or type of communication in any mode with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. Genre is most popularly known as a category of literature, music, or other forms of art or entertainment, whether written or spoken, audio or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria, yet genres can be aesthetic, rhetorical, communicative, or functional. Genres form by conventions that change over time as cultures invent new genres and discontinue the use of old ones. Often, works fit into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions. Stand-alone texts, works, or pieces of communication may have individual styles, but genres are amalgams of these texts based on agreed-upon or socially inferred conventions. Some genres may have rigid, strictly adhered-to guidelines, while others may show great flexibility.

Epic poetry lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily detailing heroic deeds

An epic poem, epic, epos, or epopee is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary men and women who, in dealings with the gods or other superhuman forces, gave shape to the moral universe that their descendants, the poet and his audience, must understand to understand themselves as a people or nation.

Epic theatre theatrical genre

Epic theatre is a theatrical movement arising in the early to mid-20th century from the theories and practice of a number of theatre practitioners who responded to the political climate of the time through the creation of a new political theatre. Epic theatre is not meant to refer to the scale or the scope of the work, but rather to the form that it takes. Epic theatre emphasizes the audience's perspective and reaction to the piece through a variety of techniques that deliberately cause them to individually engage in a different way. The purpose of epic theatre is not to encourage an audience to suspend their disbelief, but rather to force them to see their world as it is.

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Genres

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 . [4] 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. [4] Epic fantasy is not limited to the Western tradition: for example, Arabic epic literature includes One Thousand and One Nights ; and Indian epic poetry includes Ramayana and Mahabharata. [5]

J. R. R. Tolkien British philologist and author, creator of classic fantasy works

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, who is best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

Arabic epic literature

Arabic epic literature encompasses epic poetry and epic fantasy in Arabic literature. Virtually all societies have developed folk tales encompassing tales of heroes. Although many of these are legends, many are based on real events and historical figures.

<i>One Thousand and One Nights</i> collection of Middle Eastern stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age

One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the Arabian Nights, from the first English-language edition, which rendered the title as The Arabian Nights' Entertainment.

The epic film genre encompasses historical epics, religious epics, and western epics, [6] although it has split into many other genres and subgenres.[ which? ] [7] [8]

Epic film film genre

Epic films are a style of filmmaking with large scale, sweeping scope, and spectacle. The usage of the term has shifted over time, sometimes designating a film genre and at other times simply synonymous with big-budget filmmaking. Like epics in the classical literary sense it is often focused on a heroic character. An epic's ambitious nature helps to set it apart from other types of film such as the period piece or adventure film.

The female epic examined ways in which female authors have adapted the masculine epic tradition to express their own heroic visions. [9] 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. [10]

The female epic is a concept in literary criticism that seeks to expand generic boundaries by identifying ways in which women authors have adapted the masculine epic tradition to express their own heroic visions.

National epic literary work that is central to national identity

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.

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.

Related Research Articles

Sword and sorcery genre of fantasy fiction

Sword and sorcery (S&S) is a subgenre of fantasy characterized by sword-wielding heroes engaged in exciting and violent adventures. An element of romance is often present, as is an element of magic and the supernatural. Unlike works of high fantasy, the tales, though dramatic, focus mainly on personal battles rather than world-endangering matters. Sword and sorcery commonly overlaps with heroic fantasy.

Mock-heroic, mock-epic or heroi-comic works are typically satires or parodies that mock common Classical stereotypes of heroes and heroic literature. Typically, mock-heroic works either put a fool in the role of the hero or exaggerate the heroic qualities to such a point that they become absurd.

Narrative poetry is a form of poetry that tells a story, often making the voices of a narrator and characters as well; the entire story is usually written in metered verse. Narrative poems do not need rhyme. The poems that make up this genre may be short or long, and the story it relates to may be complex. It is normally dramatic, with objectives, diverse and meter. Narrative poems include epics, ballads, idylls, and lays.

Oral literature or folk literature corresponds in the sphere of the spoken (oral) word to literature as literature operates in the domain of the written word. There is no standard definition as folklorists have varying descriptions for oral literature or folk literature but a broad conceptualization refers to it as literature characterized by oral transmission and the absence of any fixed form.

Historical fantasy genre of fiction

Historical fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy that encompasses the Middle Ages as well as sometimes and simply represents fictitious versions of historic events. This sub-genre is common among role-playing games and high fantasy literature. It can include various elements of medieval European culture and society, including a monarchical government, feudal social structure, medieval warfare, and mythical entities common in European folklore. Works of this genre may have plots set in biblical times or classical antiquity. They often have plots based very loosely on mythology or legends of Greek-Roman history, or the surrounding cultures of the same era.

Fantasy literature literary genre

Fantasy literature is literature set in an imaginary universe, often but not always without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Magic, the supernatural and magical creatures are common in many of these imaginary worlds. It is a story that children and adults can read.

Medieval German literature refers to literature written in Germany, stretching from the Carolingian dynasty; various dates have been given for the end of the German literary Middle Ages, the Reformation (1517) being the last possible cut-off point.

Philippine epic poetry

Philippine epic poetry is the body of epic poetry in Philippine literature. Filipino epic poetry is considered to be the highest point of development for Philippine folk literature, encompassing narratives that recount the adventures of tribal heroes. These epics are transmitted through oral tradition using a select group of singers and chanters.

History of fantasy aspect of history

Elements of the supernatural and the fantastic were an element of literature from its beginning. The modern genre is distinguished from tales and folklore, that contain fantastic elements, firstly by the acknowledged fictitious nature of the work, and secondly by the naming of an author. Works in which the marvels were not necessarily believed, or only half-believed, such as the European romances of chivalry and the tales of the Arabian Nights, slowly evolved into works with such traits. Authors like George MacDonald created the first explicitly fantastic works.

Early history of fantasy

Elements of the supernatural and the fantastic were an element of literature from its beginning, though the idea of a distinct genre, in the modern sense, is less than two centuries old.

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.

Punjabi literature, specifically literary works written in the Punjabi language, is characteristic of the historical Punjab of India and Pakistan and the Punjabi diaspora. The Punjabi language is written in several scripts, of which the Shahmukhi and Gurmukhī scripts are the most commonly used in Pakistan and India, respectively.

Fantasy Genre of literature, film, television and other artforms

Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels and video games.

Outline of fantasy Overview of and topical guide to fantasy

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to fantasy:

Greek mythology has consistently served as a source for many filmmakers due to its artistic appeal. Antiquity has been reimagined in many ways and these recreations have been met with great public success regardless of their individual achievements. The plot lines of epic poetry are even more appealing with their enthralling battles, heroic characters, monsters, and gods. And now, with modern technology and computer-generated imagery (CGI), our ability as a society to recreate Greek mythology on screen has improved greatly.

References

  1. 1 2 Paul Merchant (June 1971). The Epic. Routledge Kegan & Paul. ISBN   978-0-416-19700-6.
  2. Dictionary.com
  3. Arnott, Luke (2016-12-01). "Epic and Genre: Beyond the Boundaries of Media". Comparative Literature. 68 (4): 351–369. doi:10.1215/00104124-3698457. ISSN   0010-4124.
  4. 1 2 Derek M. Buker (2002). "The Long and Longer of It: Epic Fantasy". The Science Fiction and Fantasy Readers' Advisory. ALA Editions. p. 118.
  5. John Grant & John Clute. "Arabian fantasy". The Encyclopedia of Fantasy.
  6. Timothy Corrigan (2012). The Film Experience: An Introduction. Macmillan. p. 329.
  7. Constantine Santas (2008). "Table of Contents". The Epic in Film: From Myth to Blockbuster. Rowman & Littlefield. p. v.
  8. Robert Burgoyne (2011). The Epic Film. Taylor & Francis.
  9. Schweizer, Bernard (2006). Approaches to the Anglo and American Female Epic, 1621–1982. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  10. Raymond Briggs (1969). Shackleton's Epic Voyage; Lennard Bickel (2001) Shackleton's Forgotten Men: The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance Epic; Frank Arthur Worsley (1931), Endurance: An Epic of Polar Adventure

Bibliography

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.