Entertainment / Literature / Epic: An epic in its most specific sense is a genre of classical poetry. It is a poem that is (a) a long narrative about a serious subject, (b) told in an elevated style of language, (c) focused on the exploits of a hero or demi-god who represents the cultural values of a race, nation, or religious group (d) in which the hero's success or failure will determine the fate of that people or nation. Usually, the epic has (e) a vast setting, and covers a wide geographic area, (f) it contains superhuman feats of strength or military prowess, and gods or supernatural beings frequently take part in the action. The poem begins with (g) the invocation of a muse to inspire the poet and, (h) the narrative starts in medias res (see above). (i) The epic contains long catalogs of heroes or important characters, focusing on highborn kings and great warriors rather than peasants and commoners. The term epic applies most accurately to classical Greek texts like the Iliad and the Odyssey. However, some critics have applied the term more loosely. The Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf has also been called an epic of Anglo-Saxon culture, Milton's Paradise Lost has been seen as an epic of Christian culture, and Shakespeare's various History Plays have been collectively called an epic of Renaissance Britain. Other examples include Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered and the anonymous Epic of Gilgamesh, which is the oldest example known. Contrast with mock epic. See epic simile below.
Entertainment / Literature / Epicureanism: The Greek philosophy of Epicurus, who espoused a life of gentle hedonism ameliorated by rational moderation. His idea of epicureanism was so refined as to almost be ascetic. For instance, he urged tha MORE
Entertainment / Literature / Epicene Pronoun: A gender-neutral pronoun for human beings. English does have gender-neutral pronouns for objects (it, its), but it does not have epicene pronouns for people--only masculine and feminine ones (he, him, MORE