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ENGL BC3136 Renaissance Epic. 3 points.

The epic tradition raises crucial questions about the interrelationship of literature and power. In telling the story of war and empire building, how does epic both promote and also challenge the cause of the winner? How does epic preserve a space for more lyrical forms of subjectivity? What does this literary form tell about the role of women, the nameless majority and the global ‘other' in the West? In this course, we will trace the European epic tradition, studying Homer's Iliad, Virgil's Aeneid, Spenser's The Faerie Queene and Milton's Paradise Lost. Finally, we will read a contemporary poet's reflection on this tradition, Alice Oswald's Memorial: An Excavation of the Iliad.