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By Line Henriksen

This comparative research investigates the epic lineage that may be traced again from Derek Walcott's Omeros and Ezra Pound's Cantos via Dante's Divina Commedia to the epic poems of Virgil and Homer, and identifies and discusses intimately a few recurrent key topoi. A clean definition of the concept that of style is labored out and provided, in line with readings of Homer. The examine reads Pound's and Walcott's poetics within the mild of Roman Jakobson's notions of metonymy and metaphor, putting their lengthy poems on the respective contrary ends of those language poles. The suggestion of 'epic ambition' refers back to the poetic status connected to the epic style, while the (non-Bloomian) 'anxiety' happens whilst the poet faces not just the danger that his undertaking could fail, yet particularly the ethical implications of that ambition and the terror that it may turn out presumptuous. The drafts of Walcott's Omeros are right here tested for the 1st time, and a focus is usually dedicated to Pound's artistic strategies as illustrated through the drafts of the Cantos. even supposing there has already been an intermittent serious specialise in the 'classical' (and 'Dantean') antecedents of Walcott's poetry, the current learn is the 1st to compile the full diversity of epic intertextualities underlying Omeros, and the 1st to learn this Caribbean masterpiece within the context of Pound's fulfillment.

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Extra resources for Ambition and Anxiety: Ezra Pound's 'Cantos' and Derek Walcott's 'Omeros' as Twentieth-Century Epics (Cross Cultures 88) (Cross Cultures)

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Because he goes on to sing of it, “that which is heard” becomes glory: “the Hellenic poet is the master of kléos […] it is the poet himself who uses the word to designate what he hears from the Muses and what he tells the audience. ”41 Homer’s term for the singer is aoidos; the song itself is aoidê. The singer’s relation to his song and its tales is presented as religious, and the most frequent epithet of aoidos is theois: ‘godlike’, ‘divine’, ‘inspired’, ‘sacred’. The song is divine, too; in Odyssey 8 Odysseus promises to spread praise of King Ong, Orality and Literacy, 13–14.

18 In Homer, the two terms occur forty-eight (geneê) and thirty-six (genos) times respectively. 19 16 Fitzgerald’s translation. Murray’s version of the same passage goes: “But Hippolochus begat me and of him do I declare that I am sprung; and he sent me to Troy and straitly charged me ever to be bravest and pre-eminent above all, and not bring shame upon the race of my fathers, that were far the noblest in Ephyre and in wide Lycia. ” 18 The Liddell–Scott–Jones Lexicon at The Perseus Project mentions a use of geneê/genea for ‘class, kind’ in metaphysical contexts, but the usage is evidently limited and represented by merely two instances.

In this way, the epic becomes the teleological narration of winners and empire: on the example of the Greek victory at Ilium, of Achilles taking Hector’s life, follow Aeneas’ killing of Turnus and Augustus’ defeat of Anthony and Cleopatra. Centuries later, Tasso depicts Christian crusaders engaged in war against Muslims, and Milton gives us good angels defeating evil ones. ”108 Whereas Pound was hoping that Mussolini would provide the victory to be celebrated by the Cantos, Walcott explicitly distances his poem from the history of winners: for instance, when characterising his hero as “quiet Achille, Afolabe’s son” (LXIV , i) and defining him through a series of negations supposedly intended to contrast the fisherman with his Homeric warrior namesake.

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