The 'Little Epic' Paradox: From the Ancient Epyllion to Alice Munro
This thesis is an investigation of the evolution of the epyllion form, beginning in the ancient world and continuing to the contemporary period. Although it was previously supposed that the ancient form died soon after Ovid, the epyllion experienced a reawakening in the German Romantic Period. As a result, its core conventions became integrated into the popular German form known as the Novelle, which in turn has had profound influence on the contemporary short fiction of writers such as Alice Munro. This thesis will trace the trajectory of the epyllion’s evolution, using Alice Munro’s Novelle “Too Much Happiness” as a case study to demonstrate the way in which the contemporary Novelle represents the lattermost stage in the epyllion’s development.