From Many Gods to One: Divine Action in Renaissance Epic (Hardback)Tobias Gregory (author)
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Epic poets of the Renaissance looked to emulate the poems of Greco-Roman antiquity, but doing so presented a dilemma: what to do about the gods? Divine intervention plays a major part in the epics of Homer and Virgil--indeed, quarrels within the family of Olympian gods are essential to the narrative structure of those poems--yet poets of the Renaissance recognized that the cantankerous Olympians could not be imitated too closely. The divine action of their classical models had to be transformed to accord with contemporary tastes and Christian belief.
From Many Gods to One offers the first comparative study of poetic approaches to the problem of epic divine action. Through readings of Petrarch, Vida, Ariosto, Tasso, and Milton, Tobias Gregorydescribes the narrative and ideological consequences of the epic's turn from pagan to Christian. Drawing on scholarship in several disciplines--religious studies, classics, history, and philosophy, as well as literature--From Many Gods to One sheds new light on two subjects of enduring importance in Renaissance studies: the precarious balance between classical literary models and Christian religious norms and the role of religion in drawing lines between allies and others.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 432 g
Dimensions: 221 x 150 x 21 mm
"In this book Gregory examines the Renaissance reinvention of the divine action of classical epic. In five chapters covering Homer to Milton, he explains how Renaissance poets confronted the problem of adapting the narrative structure of classical polytheistic epic to Christian monotheistic norms. Gregory's comparative approach will give readers an excellent sense of the distinctiveness of, and continuities between, classical and post-classical epic traditions. The book will be of particular interest to classicists working on the European epic tradition, reception studies, and neo-Latin literature, but it also makes an excellent general introduction to Renaissance epic. The clarity and fluency of Gregory's prose, and the light but judicious annotation, will add to the book's wide appeal, as will its economy--the book comes in at just over two hundred pages and at a very reasonable price to boot."--Pramit Chaudhuri, Bryn Mawr Classical Review-- (06/10/2007)