Who Intended To Write An Epic Poem 12 Books Long?

by Amy

The poet who intended to write an epic poem 12 books long was John Milton, a renowned English poet who lived during the 17th century.

Title of the Epic Poem

The epic poem planned by John Milton was titled “The Arthurian Epic” or “The Arthurian Epic Poem.” It was intended to be a grand narrative encompassing the legendary tales of King Arthur and his knights.

Description of the Epic Poem

John Milton envisioned “The Arthurian Epic” as a vast literary work comprising 12 books, each dedicated to different aspects of the Arthurian legend. The poem was intended to weave together themes of chivalry, honor, love, and the pursuit of noble ideals amidst a backdrop of medieval Britain. Milton planned to explore the characters of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, and others, drawing from both historical sources and medieval romances.

The narrative structure would have been expansive, utilizing Milton’s mastery of verse and classical influences to create a poetic tapestry that echoed the grandeur of ancient epics like Homer’s “Iliad” and Virgil’s “Aeneid.” Each book would have delved deep into the moral dilemmas and heroic deeds of the Arthurian characters, intertwining their personal struggles with the broader themes of fate, destiny, and the quest for spiritual and temporal excellence.

Reasons for the Intended Epic

Milton’s decision to undertake such an ambitious project stemmed from his desire to contribute a monumental work to English literature that would rival the classical epics of antiquity. He sought to elevate the English language and its poetic forms, demonstrating its capacity for greatness on par with Latin and Greek epics. Additionally, Milton was drawn to the Arthurian legend for its rich tapestry of characters and moral complexities, seeing in it an opportunity to explore universal themes of human virtue and frailty.

Culturally, the Arthurian legend held significant resonance during Milton’s time, serving as a source of national pride and inspiration amidst the political and religious upheavals of 17th-century England. Milton saw in the Arthurian epic a means to inspire his contemporaries with tales of valor and honor, while also engaging deeply with questions of leadership, loyalty, and the pursuit of justice.

Historical and Literary Context

John Milton lived during the tumultuous period of the English Civil War and the subsequent Interregnum under Oliver Cromwell’s rule. His literary career spanned the Restoration period, marked by shifting political and religious landscapes that influenced his writing. Milton’s earlier works, such as “Paradise Lost” and “Paradise Regained,” established him as a preeminent figure in English literature known for his epic ambitions and profound theological insights.

Influenced by humanist ideals and classical education, Milton’s decision to embark on “The Arthurian Epic” reflected his broader engagement with the literary traditions of antiquity and his aspiration to create a national epic that would endure through the ages.

See also: Is Epic A Prose Or Poetry?

Comparison with Completed Works

Unfortunately, John Milton did not complete “The Arthurian Epic” as he had planned. Scholars speculate that other commitments, including his involvement in political and religious debates of his time, as well as declining health, prevented him from realizing this monumental project. However, his completed epic poem, “Paradise Lost,” serves as a benchmark in English literature for its profound exploration of human nature, moral dilemmas, and theological themes.

In comparison to completed epic poems like “The Iliad,” “The Odyssey,” and “The Aeneid,” Milton’s “Paradise Lost” shares thematic complexity and narrative depth, albeit in a different mythological and theological framework.

Impact and Legacy

Despite remaining unfinished, “The Arthurian Epic” by John Milton left a lasting impact on English literature and the legacy of epic poetry. Its conception and Milton’s vision for the poem influenced subsequent generations of writers and poets, inspiring them to tackle ambitious literary projects that explore national identity, cultural heritage, and universal human values.

Milton’s commitment to the epic form, even in his intention to write “The Arthurian Epic,” underscored the enduring appeal of epic poetry as a genre capable of capturing the imagination and moral imagination of readers across centuries. His influence extended beyond his own time, shaping the development of English poetry and reinforcing the belief in the power of literature to illuminate the human condition.

In conclusion, while John Milton’s “The Arthurian Epic” remains a tantalizing dream of English literary history, its unrealized potential underscores the profound impact of his completed works and his broader contributions to the epic tradition. Milton’s vision for a 12-book epic on the Arthurian legend exemplifies his ambition, literary skill, and dedication to creating works of enduring significance in the canon of English literature.

FAQs about Epic Poetry

1. Which story idea most likely describes an epic poem?

An epic poem typically describes a heroic journey or quest undertaken by a larger-than-life protagonist who embodies noble qualities and faces formidable challenges. The story often spans vast geographical or supernatural realms, involves gods or supernatural beings, and addresses universal themes such as courage, fate, and the human condition.

2. Is Beowulf an epic poem?

Yes, Beowulf is an epic poem. It is one of the most important works of Old English literature and tells the story of the hero Beowulf who battles three antagonists: Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a dragon. Beowulf exemplifies the characteristics of an epic hero through his courage, strength, and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

3. Who writes an epic poem?

An epic poem is typically written by a skilled poet who undertakes the ambitious task of narrating a heroic story or exploring grand themes. Epic poets often employ elevated language, formal structures, and incorporate mythological or historical elements to create a narrative that transcends ordinary experiences.

4. Who wrote an epic?

Many poets have written epic poems throughout history. Some notable examples include:

Homer, traditionally credited with writing the ancient Greek epics “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey.”

Virgil, author of the Roman epic “The Aeneid.”

John Milton, known for the English epic “Paradise Lost.”

Dante Alighieri, who wrote “The Divine Comedy,” which includes the epic poem “Inferno.”

These poets have made significant contributions to the epic tradition, each bringing their unique style and thematic focus to the genre.

Related Articles


Discover the soulful universe of PoemsHubs, where words dance with emotions. Immerse yourself in a collection of evocative verses, diverse perspectives, and the beauty of poetic expression. Join us in celebrating the artistry of words and the emotions they unfold.

Copyright © 2023 poemshubs.com