Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version

1999

Publication Source

Epic Traditions in the Contemporary World: The Poetics of Community

Start Page

270

Last Page

296

Abstract

With his plays drawn from Greek mythology and his evocative epic hymn to the Caribbean, Omeros, Nobel laureate Derek Walcott has forced many to rethink the relationships between archaic Greek society and the contemporary world. Joseph Farrell, known especially for his work on classical epic, takes up a de­bate as to whether Omeros can be considered an epic at all, and suggests that in forcing us even to ask this question, Walcott demands that we reassess the po­sition and assumed supremacy of Western literary epic. In demonstrating the complex relationship of Omeros to the tradition of classical epic, Farrell reveals the contingencies of that tradition and the richness ofWalcott's poem as a work that straddles both epic and novel, classical and modern, scribal and oral.

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Date Posted: 12 January 2017