Qualities of movement: travel and environment in modern epic literature

Wood, Melanie (2003) Qualities of movement: travel and environment in modern epic literature. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Epic literature has often been interpreted as a static genre, conforming to conventional structural and thematic characteristics. This study argues that epic is a genre of movement and transition, in terms of its literary style, and its humanist representation of journeys and geography.

Taking a thematic approach, this study draws upon images of movement, modes of transport and perceptions of the environment to argue that modern epic is concerned with describing both an animate universe and humankind's position within it.

Chronological discussions of individual narratives focus upon John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667), William Wordsworth's The Prelude (1805), Lord Byron's Don Juan (1819-24), James Joyce's Ulysses (1922), Derek Walcott's Umeros (1990), and Aiden Andrew Dun's Vale Royal (1995). This carries the study across the modern period, from the Seventeenth Century to the present day. Literary and philosophical contexts are engaged with, and culturally-specific interpretations of a perceived human condition are drawn out.

The study concludes that epic must be perceived as a genre which evolves alongside cultural developments. The epic journey is one of the prime vehicles for expressing change, and for guiding the hero and reader towards new revelations or ways of understanding material and social environments.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Cockcroft, R.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Epic literature, travel, geography
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English Studies
ID Code:1401
Deposited By:June Walsh
Deposited On:23 Jun 2010 13:31
Last Modified:23 Jun 2010 13:31

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