Openings: Narrative Beginnings from the Epic to the Novel
What is the difference between a natural beginning and the beginning of a story? Some deny that there are any beginnings in nature, except perhaps for the origin of the universe itself, suggesting that elsewhere we have only a continuum of events, into which beginnings are variously 'read' by different societies. This book argues that history is full of real beginnings but that poets and novelists are indeed free to begin their stories wherever they like. The ancient poet Homer laid down a rule for his successors when he began his epic by plunging in medias res, 'into the midst of things'. The inspiring Muse of epic gives way to the poet's ego, dies, revives and dies again. Later writers, however, persistently play off the 'interventionist', in medias res opening against some sense of a 'deep', natural beginning: Genesis or the birth of a child. Ranging from Greek and Roman epic to the modern novel via Dante, Milton, Wordsworth, Sterne, and Dickens, A. D. Nuttall has written an ambitious and original book which will be of interest to a wide variety of readers.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
The Beginning of the Aeneid
4 other sections not shown
Aeneas Aeneid already ancient appears becomes beginning born called century character classical Commedia consciousness course Criticism Dante darkness David dead death Dickens distinct divine English epic essay existence eyes fact fall father fiction figure followed further given gives Greek hand Homer human idea imagination inspiration Italy John kind light lines literary literature living London look manner matter means medias res Milton mind move Muse narrative nature never notion novel objects Odyssey once opening origin Oxford Paradise Lost perhaps person play poem poet poetic poetry Prelude present Press proem reader reality reference seems seen sense sentence Shandy sing speak spirit Sterne story strange suggests tell things thought Tristram true turn understand University Press Virgil voice vols whole Wordsworth writing