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Mock Epic

  • By: Ritchie Robertson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Mock epic is a poetic genre that originated in a parodic or allusive dependence on the epic genre but eventually developed its own identity and its own dynamism. Its heyday was the 18th century, when rationalism banished the marvelous from poetry but allowed it to survive in humorous and satirical form.

The ancestry of mock epic is diverse. In ancient times, the Homeric epics were parodied in the Batrachomyomachia (Battle of the Frogs and Mice), once ascribed to Homer but probably dating from the 5th century BCE, in which a war among tiny creatures is described in the comically inflated language that later came to be called mock-heroic. Such grandiose language was similarly applied to a trivial topic by Alessandro Tassoni (1565–1635) in his La secchia ...

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