Zlatar, Zdenko

Epic Circle Allegoresis and the Western Epic Tradition From Homer to Tasso
1997 0-7734-8643-7
The two studies in this work were written in order to find out how the epic circle (Virgil, Homer, Horace, Ovid, Lucan, Dante, so-called from Dante's reference to the outermost circle of Hell in his Inferno) functioned in the Western literary tradition from Homer to Tasso. The first study, Lectura Dantis apud Gondolam, shows how an epic poet, in this case the Slav Divo Franov Gunduli (1589-1638) "read" Dante who, in turn, had already "read" Virgil. The second and much longer study, Allegoresis and the Western Epic Tradition from Homer to Tasso, was written to substantiate Conte's claim that 'a literary work cannot exist outside this system'. It takes issue with the notion of imitation as the dominant mode of reading the text, and argues that it is allegoresis that has provided the first and most enduring school of literary criticism from Antiquity to the end of the Renaissance. The two studies are complementary and show how a particular epic must be read with the context of the epic circle that it belonged to, and how this tradition was itself defined and determined by the number of texts which alone formed the epic circle.

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