The Cambridge companion to the epic /

Corporate Author: Cambridge collections online.
Other Authors: Bates, Catherine, 1964-
Format: Online Book
Language: English
Published: Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Series: Cambridge companions to literature.
Online Access: Online version
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Review by Choice Review

Bates (Univ. of Warwick UK) has done a fine job of assembling 14 authoritative yet entertaining essays on the Western verse epic from Gilgamesh (opening chapter) and Homer (second chapter) through Derek Walcott's Omeros (penultimate chapter). The pieces vary considerably in length and approach. Virgil and Tasso receive about six pages apiece, whereas Ezra Pound gets more than these two put together. Some of the contributions are truly introductory; others (like that on Dante) presume more than a passing acquaintance with the material discussed. Some pieces avoid extended quotation and detailed stylistic analysis; others--for example, Claude Rawson's engaging essay devoted to English Augustan mock epic--revel in both. The trick in this sort of undertaking is to combine something of the authority of an encyclopedia with something of the wit of a polite essay; and the scholars here assembled succeed uniformly in this task, albeit with varying proportions of the two elements. Particularly welcome is Paul Merchant's useful concluding chapter, "Epic in Translation," a wide-ranging and appealingly judgmental performance. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. E. D. Hill Mount Holyoke College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.