Book Reviews: Ideologies of Epic: Nation, Empire and Victorian Epic Poetry.
The epic is pre-eminently the poem of nationality, and as such it presupposes a univocal and shared culture for its effective production and reception.Colin Graham looks at the work of three nineteenth-century poets who engaged with the epic, Tennyson, Samuel Ferguson, and Edwin Arnold and examines how they dealt with the inherent monologism of the form in the context of the various national, imperial and colonial forces of the age. But for these nineteenth-century poets, writing in an age of imperial expansion and consolidation, of assimilation and supression of difference, and of emergent cultural nationalism, the epic form proves to be refractory and fractured, no matter how earnest the underlying aspiration to a homogenizing vision.
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