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Lascelles Abercrombie

It is more difficult to keep the attention of hearers than of readers.

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If epic poetry is a definite species, the sagas do not fall within it.

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The first epics were intended for recitation; the literary epic is meant to be read.

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For the stage displays the first vigorous expression, as the natural thing and without conspicuous restraint, of private individuality.

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An epic is not made by piecing together a set of heroic lays, adjusting their discrepancies and making them into a continuous narrative.

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The reason can only be this: heroic poetry depends on an heroic age, and an age is heroic because of what it is, not because of what it does.

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Poetry is the work of poets, not of peoples or communities; artistic creation can never be anything but the production of an individual mind.

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Epic poetry exhibits life in some great symbolic attitude. It cannot strictly be said to symbolize life itself, but always some manner of life.

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By the general process of epic poetry, I mean the way this form of art has constantly responded to the profound needs of the society in which it was made.

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No poet will ever take the written word as a substitute for the spoken word; he knows that it is on the spoken word, and the spoken word only, that his art is founded.

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