American Epic

Selected Bibliography

This is a brief selected bibliography of booklength studies. Though I have asterisked those texts that I see as particularly useful to a study of American (and therefore modern) epic, this is not meant to be taken as the last word in your own research.


Jackson-Laufer, Guida M., ed. Encyclopedia of Literary Epics. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1996.

Jackson-Laufer, Guida M., ed.. Encyclopedia of Traditional Epics. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1994.


Selected Booklength Studies (mostly after 1989)

*Bernstein, Michael. The Tale of the Tribe: Ezra Pound and the Modern Verse Epic. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980.

*Downes, Jeremy M. Recursive Desire: Rereading Epic Tradition. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997.

Feeney, D. C. The Gods in Epic: Poets and Critics of the Classical Tradition. New York: Oxford UP, 1991.

MacDonald, Ronald R. The Burial-Places of Memory: Epic Underworlds in Vergil, Dante, and Milton. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1987.

*McWilliams, John P., Jr. The American Epic: Transforming a Genre, 1770-1860. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

*Merchant, Paul. The Epic. The Critical Idiom 17. London: Methuen, 1971.

*Miller, James E. The American Quest for a Supreme Fiction: Whitman’s Legacy in the Personal Epic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.

*Mori, Masaki. Epic Grandeur: Toward a Comparative Poetics of the Epic. Albany: SUNY Press, 1997.

Murrin, Michael. The Allegorical Epic: Essays in Its Rise and Decline. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.

Nimis, Stephen A. Narrative Semiotics in the Epic Tradition: The Simile. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.

Oberhelman, Steven M., Van Kelly, and Richard J. Golsan, eds. Epic and Epoch: Essays on the Interpretation and History of a Genre. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1994.

*Pearce, Roy Harvey. The Continuity of American Poetry. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1977.

Quint, David. Epic and Empire: Politics and Generic Form from Vergil to Milton. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993.

Suzuki, Mihoko. Metamorphoses of Helen: Authority, Difference, and the Epic. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989.

Van Nortwick, Charles. Somewhere I Have Never Travelled: The Second Self and the Hero’s Journey in Ancient Epic. New York: Oxford, 1992.

*Walker, Jeffrey. Bardic Ethos and the American Epic Poem: Whitman, Pound, Crane, Williams, Olson. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989.

*Wilkie, Brian. Romantic Poets and Epic Tradition. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1965.

Yu, Anthony C., ed. Parnassus Revisited: Modern Critical Essays on the Epic Tradition. Chicago: American Library Association, 1973.





List of Epics