221. Epic (See also Saga.)
- Aeneid Virgil’s epic poem glorifying the origin of the Roman people. [Rom. Lit.: Aeneid ]
- Beowulf Old English epic poem of sixth-century Denmark. [Br. Lit.: Beowulf ]
- Divine Comedy Dante’s epic poem in three sections: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. [Ital. Lit.: Divine Comedy ]
- Faerie Queene allegorical epic poem by Edmund Spenser. [Br. Lit.: Faerie Queene ]
- Frithiofs Saga Esaias Tegner’s poetic version of the Norse Saga of Frithiof the Bold. [Nor. Lit.: Haydn & Fuller, 275]
- Gilgamesh Babylonian epic of myth and folklore, centered on the king, Gilgamesh. [Babyl. Myth.: Gilgamesh ]
- Gosta Berling’s Saga Selma Lagerlof’s story of the legendary life of an early nineteenth-century character. [Swed. Lit.: Gosta Berling’s Saga in Benét, 412]
- Heimskringla medieval account of the kings of Norway from legendary times to the twelfth century. [Norw. Hist.: Haydn & Fuller, 322]
- Iliad Homer’s epic detailing a few days near the end of the Trojan War. [Gk. Lit.: Iliad ]
- Jerusalem Delivered Tasso’s celebrated romantic epic written during Renaissance. [Ital. Lit.: Jerusalem Delivered ]
- Kalevala alliterative epic poem of Finland. [Finn. Lit.: Kalevala ]
- Laxdale Saga medieval account of two Icelandic families and their feud. [Icel. Lit.: Benét, 572]
- Lusiad, The celebrates Portuguese heroes and wars. [Port. Lit.: Magill II, 608]
- Mahabharata Indian epic poem of the struggle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. [Indian Lit.: Mahabharata ]
- Nibelungenlied medieval German epic poem of Siegfried and the Nibelung kings. [Ger. Lit.: Nibelungenlied ]
- Njál Saga greatest of the Icelandic sagas, based on the historical adventures of two families. [Icel. Lit.: Haydn & Fuller, 524]
- Odyssey Homer’s long, narrative poem centered on Odysseus. [Gk. Lit.: Odyssey ]
- One Hundred Years of Solitude encompasses the sweep of Latin American history. [Lat. Am. Lit.: Gabriel Garcia Marquez One Hundred Years of Solitude in Weiss, 336]
- Orlando Furioso Ariosto’s romantic epic; actually a continuation of Boiardo’s plot. [Ital. Lit.: Orlando Furioso ]
- Orlando Innamorato Boiardo’s epic combining Carolingian chivalry and Arthurian motifs. [Ital. Lit.: Orlando Innamorato ]
- Paradise Lost Milton’s epic poem of man’s first disobedience. [Br. Lit.: Paradise Lost ]
- Ramayana epic poem of ancient India. [Indian Lit.: Ramayana ]
- Song of Igor’s Campaign Old Russian epic poem of 12th-century Prince Igor. [Russ. Lit.: Song of Igor’s Campaign ]
- Song of Roland chanson de geste of Roland and Charlemagne. [Fr. Lit.: Song of Roland ]
- Song of the Cid epic poem of Spain by an anonymous author. [Span. Lit.: Song of the Cid ]
- Terra Nostra combines the myths and history of twenty centuries of Western civilization. [Lat. Am. Lit.: Carlos Fuentes Terra Nostra in Weiss, 458]
- Volsunga Saga cycle of Scandinavian legends, major source of Niebelungenlied. [Scand. Lit.: Benét, 1064]
EPIC was an acronym for the "End Poverty in California" movement, an effort to promote left-liberal candidates within the Democratic Party in California and Washington State in 1934. Upton Sinclair formed the movement in 1933 and ran under its banner as the Democratic candidate for governor of California. Calling for "Production for Use and Not for Profit," Sinclair supported higher taxes on corporations, utilities, and the wealthy, along with a network of state factories and land colonies for the unemployed. The twelve principles of EPIC and its twelve political planks alarmed the Democratic Party establishment but deeply appealed to factions of an electorate concerned about the contemporary economic depression. By election day there were almost two thousand EPIC clubs in California. Sinclair lost the election by a small margin, but twenty-seven EPIC candidates won seats in California's eighty-seat legislature. In Washington, EPIC backers elected a U.S. senator.
McIntosh, Clarence F. "The Significance of the End-Poverty in-California Movement." The Pacific Historian 27 (1983): 21–25.
Sinclair, Upton. I, Governor of California, and How I Ended Poverty. A True Story of the Future. New York: Farrar and Rinehard, 1933.
James DuaneSquires/c. p.
ep·ic / ˈepik/ • n. a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation. ∎ the genre of such poems: the romances display gentler emotions not found in Greek epic. ∎ a long film, book, or other work portraying heroic deeds and adventures or covering an extended period of time: a Hollywood biblical epic. • adj. of, relating to, or characteristic of an epic or epics: England's national epic poem Beowulf. ∎ heroic or grand in scale or character: his epic journey around the world. DERIVATIVES: ep·i·cal adj. ep·i·cal·ly adv.