Chapter

Afterword

Tobias Gregory

in From Many Gods to One

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780226307558
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226307565 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226307565.003.0007
Afterword

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Epic did not die; it disintegrated. Its characteristic elements never disappeared but instead dispersed into new genres or devolved from high to popular cultural forms. Epic divine action was rendered even more epic by trends in Enlightenment thought: skepticism about revealed religion, the growing prestige of natural science, declining belief in a geocentric universe. Eighteenth-century literary critics continued to debate whether and how divine action should be included in an epic poem. Indeed, the critical debate waxed as the genre itself declined. Divine action of the literary epic type flourishes in other cultural forms. Epic poems of the Renaissance deepen upon rereading. They also elucidate other works and improve the capacity for sympathy. In addition, they inspire the mind's eye and thrill the ear with phrases that echo in the memory.

Keywords: epic divine action; religion; natural science; epic poem; Renaissance

Chapter.  2956 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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