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The Renaissance Epic and the Oral Past

This book offers a close survey of the changing audiences, modes of reading, and cultural expectations that shaped epic writing in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

According to Anthony Welch, the theory and practice of epic poetry in this period—including little-known attempts by many epic poets to have their work orally recited or set to music—must be understood in the context of Renaissance musical humanism. Welch’s approach leads to a fresh perspective on a literary culture that stood on the brink of a new relationship with antiquity and on the history of music in the early modern era.