There are two rival traditions of epic [poetry in imperial Rome]: the first is associated with Virgil and the epics of the imperial victors, and the second is associated with Lucan and the epics of the defeated. The victors experience history as a coherent, end-directed story, and the losers experience history as contingency and open-endedness.May your New Year be open-ended.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
History -- what are you thinking?
Talk about off off topic -- I found the following quotation in a New York Review of Books article by Charles Simic on Christopher Marlowe (not on line unless you're either a print subscriber or have a spare $3); it's originally by David Quint, who was writing in The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe, which I make no pretense of having read or even seen: