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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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(p.34) 2 Virgil
Epic Romance

Colin Burrow

Oxford University Press

To move towards the shape of an earlier narrative will almost invariably lead to the deliberate suppression of little details or large-scale modifications that one knows to be one's own. It is not easy to suppress part of oneself: traces of the effort to do so will always remain. Virgil's response to Homer is of this self-suppressive kind. He repeatedly intensifies the affective force of episodes in the Homeric poems that do not advance the purpose of the main plot. In this, he is following a dynamic established by the Homeric poems themselves: digressions into the past, or away from the overall goal of the narrative, carry a much greater emotional weight in the Odyssey than they do in the Iliad.

Keywords:   narrative, Virgil, Homer, episodes, Homeric poems, Odyssey, Iliad, suppression

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