What is epic in the literature: the definition

Snow Maiden, Baba Yaga, Ivan Tsarevich - stories fromThe participation of these characters most people hear in their early childhood. However, the world of folklore is much richer, contains not only fairy tales, but also songs, ballads, epics. Not everyone can give the right answer to the question of what is epic in the literature, what its role is. So, what is this genre?

Bylina in Russian Literature: History

This term began to be used only in 1839,it was invented by folklorist Ivan Sakharov. Previously, works relating to this genre, were called "olden", "old". The oldest of them were known back in the 10th century, at that time they were narrated to the accompaniment of the psaltery. In the future, the tradition of using musical accompaniment faded. To publish such stories began only in the early 18th century.

what is epic in the literature

So, what is epic in the literature? Definition briefly sounds like an epic song-legend, which is one of the varieties of oral folk art, having a heroic-patriotic character. The main heroes of such stories became first and foremost the heroes. Plots related to the life of Ancient Rus, allow you to better imagine the way of thinking people who lived in the IX-XIII centuries.

Features of the genre

Bylins in Russian literature were mainly describedheroic events, often they considered some or other fascinating historical events. Plots were taken both from the history of Kievan Rus and from prehistoric times. Among the characters of such works, in addition to brave heroes fighting with evil, there are fantastic images, for example, Snake Gorynych, Nightingale the robber. Also the role of heroes went to real historical figures like the Kiev princes Igor and Vladimir.

epics in Russian literature

What is epic in the literature? It is also a work that has no author. Legends traveled from generation to generation, acquired new fascinating details. People who performed heroic songs were respectfully called "storytellers." They were required not to memorize the works by heart, but the ability to transfer them colorfully, not to allow distortion of meaning.


Trying to understand what is epic in literature,It is necessary to imagine the structure of such a text. Basically, the works consisted of three composition elements: singing, opening, ending. The stories began with a song, which was a kind of introduction. From the song it was required not to tell about the plot of the historical song, but to draw the listeners' attention.

what is epic literature definition

What is epic in literature without a beginning? It is about the story itself, which dedicated listeners to the main events, which were described in folk works in an embellished form. Necessarily attended and the ending, which is a kind of summing up. Also, the role of the ending could be assumed by the joke.

The epic is typified by a tonic verse, alsocalled folk. For verse lines, the same number of stresses was required, whereas the number of syllables could differ. The first stress was mainly on the third syllable, counting from the beginning. The third syllable, counting from the end, was marked with the last accent. Also interesting is the abundance of epic formulas, an example of which is the expression "clear eyes".

The heroic bylina

The most famous characters are heroicsongs, like three heroes. Without Dobryni, Alyosha, Ilya, what is epic literature? The definition of such works is heroic song-stories (there are also social songs). Muromets, Nikitich and Popovich were famous for their numerous military exploits, they served Vladimir Krasno Solnyshko.

what is epic in the literature definition briefly

An example of a typical heroic epic is history,describing the struggle of Ilya of Murom with the terrible Nightingale the robber, who knows how to destroy life around him with the help of a whistle. The great hero, of course, takes the monster into captivity, breaking into his lair, and then deprives him of life. In the same category includes the equally famous work about the battle of Dobrynya with the Serpent.

Social epics

Social works were also usedgreat demand. An example of such an epic can serve as a story of Sadko - a young gifted guslar, who can not acquire fame in any way. In the end, the young man is awarded the protection of the Sea Lord, impressed by his talent, but escapes from him and returns to his homeland, abandoning the innumerable treasures offered to him.

The characters of social epic are mostlybecame peasants, merchants, there are also princes among them. In addition to the above mentioned Sadko, such heroes as Mikula, Volga were awarded. Social and heroic works are equally attractive by qualitative drawing of the characters of the main characters.

So, what is epic in the literature? The short answer is a work permeated with patriotism, faith in the triumph of good and the defeat of evil.

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