The Odyssey

Style and the Concept of 'Epic' in The Odyssey

Previous tradition held that Homer, the ancient, blind poet who sang of a heroic age that was long past even in his own day, composed this magnificent poem. Contemporary literary theory disputes not only Homer's claim to complete authority over the poems, but even the poet's historical existence. However, regardless of its authorship The Odyssey has continued to play an important part in the development of literary style. However, it is primarily the epic style of the poem and the influences of this style that ensures The Odyssey is still regarded as a work of universal and enduring merit. Virgil, Milton and more recently James Joyce have all tried to emulate to a certain extent the epic style of The Odyssey, providing a testament to the enduring greatness of this ancient text and highlighting the importance of the legacy of epic style The Odyssey has left behind it. One dictionary actually defines epic as "a lengthy narrative poem in elevated language celebrating the adventures of a legendary or traditional hero, e.g. Homer's Odyssey" - although the influences of The Odyssey are more far reaching than simply providing an understanding of the concept of 'the epic.' It is without doubt the epic...

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