heroic prose

heroic prose

      narrative prose tales that are the counterpart of heroic poetry in subject, outlook, and dramatic style. Whether composed orally or written down, the stories are meant to be recited, and they employ many of the formulaic expressions of oral tradition. A remarkable body of this prose is the early Irish Ulaid (Ulster (Ulster cycle)) cycle of stories, recorded between the 8th and 11th centuries, featuring the hero Cú Chulainn (Cuchulain) and his associates. The cycle's events are set in the 1st century BC and reflect the customs of a pre-Christian aristocracy who fight from chariots, take heads as trophies, and are influenced by Druids. A 12th-century group of Irish stories is the Fenian cycle, focusing on the hero Finn MacCumhaill (MacCool), his son, the poet Oisín (Ossian), and his elite corps of warriors and hunters, the Fianna Éireann. Interspersed in the narratives are passages of verse, usually speeches, that are often older than the prose. Because of the verse sections, it is thought that these stories may derive from a lost body of heroic poetry. Among the Irish tales only the Ulaid story “The Cattle Raid of Cooley (Cattle Raid of Cooley, The)” has the scope of an epic, but it survives in a much mutilated text. The formulaic and poetic language of the Irish cycles is admirably preserved in Lady Gregory's retelling of the stories Cuchulain of Muirthemne (1902) and Gods and Fighting Men (1904).

      Other examples of heroic prose are the 13th-century Icelandic sagas. The “heroic sagas,” such as the Vǫlsunga saga (c. 1270) and the Thidriks saga (c. 1250), are based on ancient Germanic oral tradition of the 4th to 6th century and contain many lines from lost heroic lays. Of higher artistic quality are the “Icelander sagas,” such as Grettis saga (Grettir the Strong) and Njáls saga (both c. 1300), dealing with native Icelandic families, who live by the grim and complicated code of the blood feud.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Heroic verse — Verse Verse, n. [OE. vers, AS. fers, L. versus a line in writing, and, in poetry, a verse, from vertere, versum, to turn, to turn round; akin to E. worth to become: cf. F. vers. See {Worth} to become, and cf. {Advertise}, {Averse}, {Controversy} …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • polyphonic prose — Synonyms and related words: Goliardic verse, Hudibrastic verse, amoebean verse, concrete poetry, cubist poetry, dramatic poetry, elegiac poetry, epic poetry, epopee, epos, erotic poetry, expository prose, heroic poetry, imagist verse, light verse …   Moby Thesaurus

  • nonfictional prose — Introduction       any literary work that is based mainly on fact, even though it may contain fictional elements. Examples are the essay and biography.       Defining nonfictional prose literature is an immensely challenging task. This type of… …   Universalium

  • Romance (genre) — For the modern genre of romantic fiction, see Romance novel and Romance film. Yvain fighting Gawain. Medieval illumination from Chrétien de Troyes s romance, Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion …   Wikipedia

  • Sidney, Sir Philip — born Nov. 30, 1554, Penshurst, Kent, Eng. died Oct. 17, 1586, Arnhem, Neth. English courtier, statesman, soldier, and poet. Born into an aristocratic family and educated to be a statesman and soldier, Sidney served in minor official posts and… …   Universalium

  • Saga — For other uses, see Saga (disambiguation). This article is part of a series on: Old Norse Dialects …   Wikipedia

  • Icelanders' sagas — or family sagas Class of heroic prose narratives written in the 13th century about the great families who lived in Iceland from 930 to 1030. They represent the zenith of classical Icelandic saga writing and are far in advance of any contemporary… …   Universalium

  • mock-epic — ▪ literature also called  mock heroic        form of satire that adapts the elevated heroic style of the classical epic poem to a trivial subject. The tradition, which originated in classical times with an anonymous burlesque of Homer, the… …   Universalium

  • Romance literature — may refer to:*Medieval romance literature, a style of heroic prose and verse narrative current in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance *Romance novels, a literary genre developed in Western culture which focuses on the romantic… …   Wikipedia

  • 7th century in England — Events from the 7th century in England.Events* 601 ** The Bishopric of Canterbury is raised to an Archbishopric. * 604 ** The first Bishop of London and Bishop of Rochester are consecrated; King Ethelbert of Kent founds Saint Paul s Cathedral. ** …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”