什麼是史詩?為什麼"到目前為止只有英語史詩"?


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我對小說和故事非常熟悉,如果我個人認為,我會說故事只是小說的緊湊和概括形式。小說中的細節水平顯然比故事中的要高得多。但是什麼是史詩?只是小說的更詳細的版本嗎?

在我的課程書中,有一小段約翰·彌爾頓(John Milton),內容如下:

John Milton (1608-74) is acknowledged as the greatest English poet after Shakespeare. As a product of the Reformation Movement in England, he combines the Renaissance passion for truth and beauty with the religious fervour is the Puritans. He is best known for Paradise Lost, the only epic composed in English Language so far. His literacy art is so consummate that he is credited as being ‘the most sublime of English Poets’ and known as ‘master of the grand style.’

為什麼除了失樂園以外,沒有其他英語史詩?是否有某些特定原因?還是只是英語更習慣於小說和詩歌?

更新:我的問題與this post有關,但應答者應關註一些差異。我的問題主要是關於《 英語文學》 ,而這本書強調的是"迄今為止唯一的史詩"。我的問題是要對史詩做出清晰的定義,與小說和故事相反。

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Since Milton is often discussed in the context of Renaissance literature, I'll quote the definition of "epic" from The Renaissance (edited by Marion Wynne-Davies, Bloomsbury Guides to English Literature, Bloomsbury, 1992):

A narrative of heroic actions, often with a principal hero, usually mythical in its content, offering inspiration and ennoblement within a particular cultural or national tradition.

John Milton wrote two works that fit this definition, namely Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, thereby disproving the claim that he wrote "the only epic composed in English Language". Another Renaissance poet, Edmund Spenser, wrote the epic poem The Faerie Queene (published in the 1590s).

In addition, Wikipedia lists more than 40 epic poems in the English language, including the following:

If a handbook claims that John Milton wrote the only epic poem in the English language, its author or authors are wrong. They may not be competent enough to write about the history of English literature.