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Epic RomanceHomer to Milton$
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Colin Burrow

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198117940

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198117940.001.0001

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‘Hail Muse! Etcetera’

‘Hail Muse! Etcetera’

(p.1) Hail Muse! Etcetera’
Epic Romance

Colin Burrow

Oxford University Press

This book relates the whole tradition of epic romance back to Homer's poems Iliad and Odyssey. The core notion of this book is that both poems present a structure of emotion that is extremely hard to grasp; that they are both —with differing emphases, certainly, and with different priorities of representation—concerned with the nature of sympathy, and its relation to complex social rituals such as guest-friendship and supplication. Homeric pity has a multiplicity of aspects; at one moment a character pities another because of some perceived analogy between his or her condition and that of the sufferer, while at another, pity arises from a sense that there is a contingent affinity between two characters, that the pitiers know that they could be like the pitied at some future time, or that both parties share their subjection to death.

Keywords:   epic, romance, poems, Iliad, Odyssey, nature, sympathy, pity, Homer

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