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The Renaissance Epic and the Oral Past - Welch, Anthony - Yale University Press
Literary Studies
History
Performing Arts

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Yale Studies in English

The Renaissance Epic and the Oral Past

  • Anthony Welch
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This book explores why Renaissance epic poetry clung to fictions of song and oral performance in an age of growing literacy. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century poets, Anthony Welch argues, came to view their written art as newly distinct from the oral cultures of their ancestors. Welch shows how the period’s writers imagined lost civilizations built on speech and song—from Homeric Greece and Celtic Britain to the Americas—and struggled to reconcile this oral inheritance with an early modern culture of the book. Welch’s wide-ranging study offers a new perspective on Renaissance Europe’s epic literature and its troubled relationship with antiquity.

Anthony Welch is assistant professor of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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