Epic (genre)
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Epic Genre

An epic is traditionally a genre of poetry, known as epic poetry.[1] In modern terms, epic is often extended to describing other art forms, such as epic theatre, films, music, novels, television series, and video games,[1] wherein the story has a theme of grandeur and heroism,[2] just as in epic poetry. Scholars argue that the epic has long since become "disembedded" from its origins in oral poetry, appearing in successive narrative media throughout history.[3]


There are many genres of epic (exclusive of epic poetry): epic fantasy describes works of fantasy, such as in J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.[4] Epic fantasy has been described as containing three elements: it must be a trilogy or longer, its time-span must encompass years or more, and it must contain a large back-story or universe setting in which the story takes place.[4] Epic fantasy is not limited to the Western tradition: for example, Arabic epic literature includes One Thousand and One Nights; and Indian epic poetry includes Ramayana and Mahabharata.[5]

The epic film genre encompasses historical epics, religious epics, and western epics,[6] although it has split into many other genres and subgenres.[which?][7][8]

The female epic examined ways in which female authors have adapted the masculine epic tradition to express their own heroic visions.[9] There are chivalric epics from the Middle Ages, national epics, and pan-national epics. The real-life stories of heroic figures have also been referred to as being epic; examples include Ernest Shackleton's exploration adventures in Antarctica.[10]


  1. ^ a b Paul Merchant (June 1971). The Epic. Routledge Kegan & Paul. ISBN 978-0-416-19700-6.
  2. ^ Dictionary.com
  3. ^ Arnott, Luke (2016-12-01). "Epic and Genre: Beyond the Boundaries of Media". Comparative Literature. 68 (4): 351-369. doi:10.1215/00104124-3698457. ISSN 0010-4124.
  4. ^ a b Derek M. Buker (2002). "The Long and Longer of It: Epic Fantasy". The Science Fiction and Fantasy Readers' Advisory. ALA Editions. p. 118.
  5. ^ John Grant & John Clute. "Arabian fantasy". The Encyclopedia of Fantasy.
  6. ^ Timothy Corrigan (2012). The Film Experience: An Introduction. Macmillan. p. 329.
  7. ^ Constantine Santas (2008). "Table of Contents". The Epic in Film: From Myth to Blockbuster. Rowman & Littlefield. p. v.
  8. ^ Robert Burgoyne (2011). The Epic Film. Taylor & Francis.
  9. ^ Schweizer, Bernard (2006). Approaches to the Anglo and American Female Epic, 1621-1982. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  10. ^ Raymond Briggs (1969). Shackleton's Epic Voyage; Lennard Bickel (2001) Shackleton's Forgotten Men: The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance Epic; Frank Arthur Worsley (1931), Endurance: An Epic of Polar Adventure


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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