Gregory Nagy

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Literature

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780195182637
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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This article examines the epic as a literary genre. It describes the works of Homer and Virgil and discusses the views of ancient philosophers on this genre including Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato. It suggests that the clearest way to view something as a genre is to keep looking at Homer synchronically as he is understood in the historical period of Plato and Aristotle. It also argues that without the genre of epic, the poet of epic can be emulated at will, without rules, since the poet seems to have no rules.

Keywords: epic; literary genre; Homer; Virgil; philosophers; Aristotle; Socrates; Plato; poet

Article.  14498 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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