Modern Epic

Overview

“Take Faust, what is it? A ‘tragedy’, as its author states? A great philosophical tale? A collection of lyrical insights? Who can say. How about Moby-Dick? Encyclopedia, novel or romance? Or even a ‘singular medley,’ as one anonymous 1851 review put it? ... ‘It is no longer a novel,’ T.S. Eliot said of Ulysses. But if not novels, then what are they?”

Literary history has long been puzzled by how to classify and treat these aesthetic monuments. In this highly original and ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (15) from $12.50   
  • New (9) from $19.87   
  • Used (6) from $12.50   
Sending request ...

Overview

“Take Faust, what is it? A ‘tragedy’, as its author states? A great philosophical tale? A collection of lyrical insights? Who can say. How about Moby-Dick? Encyclopedia, novel or romance? Or even a ‘singular medley,’ as one anonymous 1851 review put it? ... ‘It is no longer a novel,’ T.S. Eliot said of Ulysses. But if not novels, then what are they?”

Literary history has long been puzzled by how to classify and treat these aesthetic monuments. In this highly original and interdisciplinary work, Franco Moretti builds a theory of the modern epic: a sort of super-genre that has provided many of the “sacred texts” of Western literary culture. He provides a taxonomy capable of accommodating Faust, Moby-Dick, The Nibelung’s Ring, Ulysses, The Cantos, The Waste Land, The Man Without Qualities and One Hundred Years of Solitude.

For Moretti the significance of the modern epic reaches well beyond the aesthetic sphere: it is the form that represents the European domination of the planet, and establishes a solid consent around it. Political ambition and formal inventiveness are here continuously entwined, as the representation of the world system stimulates the technical breakthroughs of polyphony, reverie and leitmotif; of the stream of consciousness, collage and complexity.

Opening with an analysis of Goethe’s Faust and the different historical roles of epic and the novel, Moretti moves through a discussion of Wagner’s Ring and on to a sociology of modernist technique. He ends with a fascinating interpretation of “magic realism” as a compromise formation between a number of modernist devices and the return of narrative interest, and suggests that the west’s enthusiastic reception of these texts (and One Hundred Years of Solitude in particular) constitutes a ritual self-absolution for centuries of colonialism.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Moretti here casts a whole new light on traditional discussions of modernism. Modern Epic is an exciting, stimulating, and finally a profound book in which his own work reaches new heights.”—Fredric Jameson
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859840696
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/1996
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 0.57 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Franco Moretti teaches English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of Signs Taken for Wonders, The Way of the World and Modern Epic, all from Verso.

Quintin Hoare is the director of the Bosnian Institute and has translated numerous works by Sartre, Antonio Gramsci, and other French authors. He lives in the United Kingdom.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Pt. 1 Faust and the Nineteenth Century
'I want a hero...'
'In the beginning was the Deed'
Literary evolution. I
Rhetoric of innocence. I
'He sees visions of giant undertakings . . .'
An inherited form
Non-contemporaneity. I
'So many little independent worlds'
World texts. I
'An incredible musical pandemonium'
Polyphony in America. I
Polyphony in America. II
'With all the certainty of a mechanical process'
Literary evolution. II
Allegory and modernity. I
'You, I think, should know us all'
The sign run amok
Allegory and modernity. II
'But infinite forms do not exist . . .'
Transition: The Nibelung's Ring
'Drink first, hero, so that distant things don't escape you'
Monumental dilettantism
Twofold myth
Art of transition
Complexity. I
Pt. II Ulysses and the Twentieth Century
The Ladies' Paradise
Stream of consciousness
Sociology of absentmindedness
The great Perhaps
Epiphany, madeleine, Leitmotiv
World texts. II
Free association
Excursus: Stream of consciousness - evolution of a technique
The other Ulysses
Literary evolution. III
Liberation of the device
Joyce/Kafka
Soul and precision
Complexity. II
Countermodernism
Compromise
Epilogue: One Hundred Years of Solitude
Magical realism
From Lubeck to Macondo
Non-contemporaneity. II
Rhetoric of innocence. II
Index
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)