All library locations will be closed May 27th, 2024 for Memorial Day.

Whatever Happened to the Epic? with Robert Crossley and Jennifer Barber

Epic poems have often been viewed as the dinosaur of literature: huge, impressive, a little intimidating—and extinct. This presentation—which will welcome audience members to interact with the speakers—will take up several questions: Is it true that there hasn’t been a significant epic in English since Milton’s Paradise Lost? What forms has the epic imagination taken in the modern era? Do audiences still desire the epic experience? If they do, what satisfactions does the epic offer? And, finally, does the epic have any impact on practicing writers in our own day?

Robert Crossley taught literature for 37 years at the University of Massachusetts Boston and served as Chair of the English Department. A two-time recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he is the author of the biography Olaf Stapledon: Speaking for the Future; a literary history, Imagining Mars; and most recently, Epic Ambitions in Modern Times: From Paradise Lost to the New Millennium. Recent essays have appeared in a variety of magazines including Southwest Review, The Massachusetts Review, Raritan, The Hudson Review, Sewanee Review, and Smithsonian Air and Space.

Jennifer Barber is the current poet laureate of Brookline. Her most recent book of poetry is The Sliding Boat Our Bodies Made and she is co-editor, with Jessica Greenbaum and Fred Marchant, of the anthology Tree Lines: 21st Century American Poems.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2023

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Brookline Village - Hunneman Hall
361 Washington Street, Brookline, MA 02445, United States


Hunneman Hall is located on the second floor of the Brookline Village Library. To access, use one of the main entrances, which are equipped with ramps and door openers, followed by the elevator in the atrium. This venue is equipped with assistive listening transmitters and devices, available upon request.

Need aids or accommodations? Email our administration team or give us a call at 617-730-2360 for more information.

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