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post-heroic poetry
Posted by: Talia (
Date: September 23, 2004 09:46AM

I know about heroic epics. Beowulf, etc. Can someone tell me about post-heroic? What exactly defines it and do you know of any examples?

Re: post-heroic poetry
Posted by: IanB (
Date: September 23, 2004 11:39AM

Sounds interesting, but I've never heard the term, and it's not in my Shorter Oxford (ed.1993), so I'm only guessing.

Maybe it refers to a time in history when poetry came to be written about contemporary concerns and real people and incidents of everyday life, instead of just about mythical heroes like Rama and Odysseus and Cuchulainn and Beowulf.

Conceivably it could refer to poems reacting against old heroic ideals, but I can't immediately think of any examples.

Where have you encountered 'post-heroic'?

Post Edited (09-23-04 10:40)

Re: post-heroic poetry
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (
Date: September 23, 2004 11:56AM

I am also curious, having not heard the initial thought was what the heroes did after the battle, or adventure, was over....but that's unlikely.

Re: post-heroic poetry
Posted by: StephenFryer (
Date: September 23, 2004 12:36PM

You may be on to something there, Johnny. Think post-coital. Or apres-ski. Same thing.


Re: post-heroic poetry
Posted by: RJAllen (193.114.111.---)
Date: September 23, 2004 02:09PM

You could define literary epics- The Aeneid say . Another alternative would be parodies of heroic poetry- Hudibras. Finally poems which criticise the assumptions of heroic poetry- Kingsley Amis's poem on Beowulf. All of these could be described as post-heroic.

Re: post-heroic poetry
Posted by: Talia (
Date: September 23, 2004 02:21PM

Well, here is the question my professor posed for a possible topic for research:

" Traditionally, Beowulf has been labeled a heroic poem, glorifying and celebrating the values of a heroic society. Perhaps now it is seen more as a post-heroic poem, one that looks back upon an earlier heroic age, at least as it was remembered in post-conversion Anglo-Saxon England. "

Re: post-heroic poetry
Posted by: Linda (
Date: September 23, 2004 02:46PM

He does go out to fight the dragon at the end, because its his duty, while also knowing that he's too old for that sort of activity at his age.

And what about Tolkien's "The homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhtelm's son." his sequel to the "Battle of Maldon."?

Re: post-heroic poetry
Posted by: Talia (
Date: September 23, 2004 03:22PM

The only difference I am sure of in Beowulf is that the author is writing the story in post-Christian conversiaon society, while the story itself takes place prior to the conversion. Has anyone read a heroic poem, (as I only read the ones I have to ) in which the culture is fixated on their pagan gods, etc.?

Re: post-heroic poetry
Posted by: RJAllen (193.114.111.---)
Date: September 24, 2004 12:03PM

Well, the gods take pretty active roles in the Odyssey and Iliad, which are probably about as heroically poetic- by your prof's definition- as you can get.

Re: post-heroic poetry
Posted by: Talia (
Date: September 24, 2004 02:37PM

Well, the paper I ended up writing talked about the typical heroic theme, and contrasted the ideal of heroism in a changed society, such as an England that's been converted from paganism to Christianity. I also contrasted these ideas with the "post-modern" world and how it views heroism, bravery, war, etc.

I keep thinking of things I could have included and hope I don't get less of a grade for tackling a topic too large for the 1000 word limit.

Re: post-heroic poetry
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (
Date: September 24, 2004 04:35PM

Sound's like a great and contrast Post-Heroic Grape-Nuts in 1000 words or less, , and win a fully-loaded Homer's Odyssey Mini-van !
(est retail value 30,000 talents)

Re: post-heroic poetry
Posted by: peternsz (
Date: September 24, 2004 10:23PM

"I only do what my Rice Kripsies tell me to" --bumper sticker poetry from us commoners: no hero's, just chocolate, and, according to the neoclassical theorists, very post-heroic.

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