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 Volume 16/1 includes forum "Modernity and Mobility: Victorian Women Traveling"
 January 2018

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 Volume 15/1: includes forum "Audionarratology"
 January 2017

 Volume 14/2: includes forum "Modern Jewish Spaces"
 June 2016

 Volume 14/1: includes forum "Saul Bellow as a Novelist of Ideas"
 January 2016

 Volume 13/2: includes forum "Comics and the Canon"
 June 2015

 Volume 13/1: includes forum "TheGhetto as a Victorian Text"
 January 2015

 Volume 12/2: includes forum "The Novel and Theories of Love"
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 January 2014

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 June 2013

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 January 2013

 Volume 10/2: includes forum "Bildung and the State"
 June 2012

 Volume 10/1: includes forum "Fernando Pessoa and the Issue of Heteronymy
 January 2012

 Volume 9/2: Dickens: Uneasy Pleasures
 June 2011

 Volume 9/1
 January 2011

 Volume 8/2: British Women Writers
 June 2010

 Volume 8/1 includes forum "The Ethics of Temporality"
 January 2010

 Volume 7/2: Eyewitness Narratives
 June 2009

 Volume 7/1
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 Volume 6/2: Narrative Knowing, Living, Telling
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 Volume 4/2: Narrative as a Way of Thinking
 June 2006

 Volume 4/1
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 Volume 3/1
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Updated Up To 18/01/2017
Volume 4, Number 1 (January 2006) : 1--19
The Narrative Facet of the Epic Tradition
Imagining the Past as Utopian Future
Shahar Bram
Rubric A: Narrative as a Way of Thinking

Abstract

This essay discusses the element of length as the shared basis that forms the epic tradition in its various transformations of the narrative and heroic modes. Length preserves a certain quality that other terms (such as “heroic” or “narrative”) are meant to express. What is at stake here is our understanding of narrativity, its relation to length in the epic tradition, and the narrative facet of the tradition itself. The article delineates a tentative narrative of a tradition of long poems that narrate past values as an ideal. Latent in the question of these poems’ length is the question of multiplicity and unity: what are the relations between the poem’s parts and how – or whether – they create one poem. The long poem of the epic tradition is the fruit of the attempt to contend with the relationship between multiplicity and unity; it is the expression of this attempt — either by searching for an option that does not make these two concepts mutually exclusive or by pointing to another world, where such a worldview apparently existed. In this sense, the narrativity of the long epic poem preserves the past and turns it into a utopian future.


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