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Epic and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Britain: 52 (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, Series Number 52)

Epic and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Britain: 52 (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, Series Number 52)

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Simon Dentith
Cambridge University Press
Edition: Annotated, 6/15/2006
EAN 9780521862653, ISBN10: 0521862655

Hardcover, 258 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.9 cm
Language: English
Originally published in English

In the nineteenth century, epic poetry in the Homeric style was widely seen as an ancient and anachronistic genre, yet Victorian authors worked to recreate it for the modern world. Simon Dentith explores the relationship between epic and the evolution of Britain's national identity in the nineteenth century up to the apparent demise of all notions of heroic warfare in the catastrophe of the First World War. Paradoxically, writers found equivalents of the societies which produced Homeric or Northern epics not in Europe, but on the margins of empire and among its subject peoples. Dentith considers the implications of the status of epic for a range of nineteenth-century writers, including Walter Scott, Matthew Arnold, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Morris and Rudyard Kipling. He also considers the relationship between epic poetry and the novel and discusses late nineteenth-century adventure novels, concluding with a brief survey of epic in the twentieth century.

Introduction
1. Homer, Ossian and modernity
2. Walter Scott and heroic minstrelsy
3. Epic translation and the national ballad metre
4. The matter of Britain and the search for a national epic
5. 'As flat as Fleet Street'
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Matthew Arnold and George Eliot on epic and modernity
6. Mapping epic and novel
7. Epic and the imperial theme
8. Kipling, Bard of Empire
9. Epic and the subject peoples of Empire
10. Coda
some Homeric futures
Bibliography.

Review of the hardback: 'Dentith's reading of the late-Victorian imperial adventure story … is extremely perceptive, and leads into an illuminating discussion of the divided consciousness at work in T. E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom …' Literature & History