The Epic

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Discipline CoreSUS1EN2384

Semester and Year Offered: Semester II, Winter Semester

Course Coordinator: Dr. Amit Singh

Email of course

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives/Description:

The objective of this course is to sensitize students towards the significance of the epic in our routine lives and to familiarize them with the form of the epic. The epic is a living form that not only shapes our colloquial perceptions and language but also provides daily allegories for us to make sense of our surroundings. Keeping these features of the epic genre in mind, this course introduces the students to some of the significant and representative epics across different cultures and ages. This course also takes into account the gaps generally seen in the process of syllabus-making in India. In the process, one expects the students to draw parallels between these epics and the ones with which they have grown up. The course would also prepare them for some of the other courses on epic.

Course Outcomes:On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate thorough understanding and knowledge of epic genre through the reading and interpretation of select texts.
  2. Show multicultural competence through an investigation of the epic traditions that are part of human consciousness.
  3. Reflect critical thinking through an understanding of the debates surrounding oral versus written traditions as well as the nuances of poetic sequence/ epic cycles that encompass particular moments that have shaped human history.
  4. Demonstrate reflective thinking while investigating the processes through which epics get adapted by newer media and genre.
  5. Illustrate commitments to lifelong learningnecessary to understand one’s traditions, plus meet the requirements of other courses on epic, especially the ones on retellings and adaptations.


Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Introduction: Lectures on Origin and Development of Epic Tradition, Primary and Secondary Epics, Oral versus Written Traditions, Epic Cycles, and Epics in Our Times
  2. TheEpicofGilgamesh
  3. TheIliad
  4. Cilappatikaram: The Tale of anAnklet


Assessment Details with weights:

S. No.


Period in which the assessment will take place



Class Test

In the First Week of September



Mid-semester Exam (involves open book exam)

As per AUD Calendar



End-Semester Exam

As per AUD Calendar



Class Presentation

In the Last week of October



Question Bank

Throughout Semester



Class assignments and presentations will be spread across the course.

Reading List:

  • Atikal, Ilanko. Cilappatikaram: The Tale of an Anklet. Trans. R. Parthsarathy. New Delhi:Penguin India, 2004.
  • Konstan, David and Kurt A. Raaflaub. Epic and History. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing,2010.
  • Dawood, N. J. Trans. Tales from the Thousand and One Nights. London: Penguin, 1973.
  • Dutt, Michael Madhusudan. Meghnad Badh Kavya. Trans. Clinto B. Seely New York:Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Foley, John Miles. A Companion to Ancient Epics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.
  • George, Andrew. Trans. The Epic of Gilgamesh. London: Penguin, 2003.
  • Heaney, Seamus. Trans. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2000.
  • Homer. The Iliad. Trans. E. V. Rieu. London: Penguin, 2003.
  • King, Katherine Callen. Ancient Epic. Malden: Wiley & Blackwell, 2009.
  • Knight, W. F. Jackson. Many-Minded Homer. Melbourne: Allwin & Unwin, 1968.
  • Niane. Trans. Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali. New Jersey: Prentice, 2006.
  • Sharma, Vishnu. The Panchatantra. Trans. Chandra Rajan. New Delhi: Penguin Classics, 2007.
  • Watson, Burton and Haruo Shirane. Trans. The Tales of the Heike. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.