Can Epic Poetry Revive History?

An interesting and thought provoking article,

7 thoughts on “Can Epic Poetry Revive History?

  1. Liz Gauffreau

    I just finished reading the article. I agree that Auslin’s premise is a fascinating one; however, I think his argument is flawed. Epic poetry was a medium of its time, and that time has long passed, with other expressive communication media replacing it. I also think he’s giving fiction short shrift. My final thought on the article is that it would take more than epic poetry to take the politics out of History as an academic discipline.

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Thanks for commenting, Liz. I agree with much of what you say. I do think it is a shame that history has become so politicised. As someone who studied both history and politics at university I do think that history should (so far as is possible) be depoliticised. For example condeming men and women from times long since gone is a-historical and is, ultimately completely pointless.

    2. K Morris Poet Post author

      You and I are on the same page on this I think. A classic example of this a-historical position, is asking for reparations for slavery. The trade was (obviously) abhorrent. However, having engaged in slavery the United Kingdom abolished it and spent a great deal of money in patrolling the seas to prevent others from making money from slavery. Now there are growing calls for reparations without any (to my knowledge) clear explanation as to who such reparations are to be given. Its very convenient for people to blame “the west” for all the problems of the world whilst disregarding the corruption of some of the governments pressing for reparations. In my view such calls for reparations stir up racial tensions. One should never forget slavery (and it should be studied), but we need to move on and calling for reparations is not, in my view the way to do so.

    3. K Morris Poet Post author

      I agree with you, Liz. Though (sadly) there is some truth in the oft repeated saying that “the only thing that man learns from history is that man learns nothing from history”. We must, nonetheless do our best to learn from history and not to repeat the mistakes of the past.


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