Here you will find a general overview of epic poetry as a genre. You will also find links to more specialized topics and to individual works.


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A Brief History of Epic Poetry

Epic poetry begins with Gilgamesh, which was so long that some wag retitled it The Epic of Gilgamesh, likely as a warning to people who stumbled in to the recitation hoping to be out in time for dinner.

Homer came next, although he was probably a committee. Homer wrote some Very Famous things. Also famous was his bust, which caused Aristotle some consternation.

Virgil turned the losers of Homer's Trojan War into the founders of Rome, casting doubt on the success of the venture from the start. His poem was extremely famous, famouser than Lady Gaga.

Lots of bad poets tried to write epics. Many are preserved out of spite. Others were used as punishment. Some are in French.

Then Milton wrote Paradise Lost, and since that day, students have had to learn the Bible in order to pass their English midterms.