Hamilton identifies this epic simile
as an adaptation of I.i.23--only the second epic simile
in the whole poem--in which Spenser likens the annoying assault of Errour's brood to "a cloud of cumbrous gnattes" that "molest" a "gentle Shepheard." I suggest further that this later simile typologically fulfills the former.
Moreover, the quotations juxtaposed in this column have about them a visual or dramatic quality, as if Fuller reaches forward toward the inclusion of the photograph in newspaper reports or backward toward the narrative disruptions of the epic simile
to make her point.
In narrative poetry--Homer, say--the epic simile
stops time, stops action, moves laterally (rather than "back" through time, or "ahead" in the story), so that we can see what other sort of thing, from another story, this thing in our story resembles.
The epic simile
that immediately follows the melting of Snowy Florimell functions differently.
On Milton and bees see, amongst others: William Moeck, "Bees in My Bonnet: Milton's Epic Simile
and Intertextuality." Milton
This opening hypothetical epic simile
of Inferno 28 can be said to represent the terminus within the context of the Inferno for the theme of sacred "umile Italia" announced in Inferno 1 by the tragic evocation of Virgilian martyrs of Italy: "per cui mori la vergine Cammilla,/ Eurialo e Turno e Niso di ferute" (Inferno 1.
Chapter 8, "There and Back: Emigrant Epic 1840-1850," pairs both Arthur Hugh Clough's The Bothie and Tennyson's The Princess and Bulwer Lytton's King Arthur and Tennyson's "The Epic" and "Morte d'Arthur." Tucker reads the former as representing nation (and empire) building insofar as young men undergo tutelage culminating in marriage, a trope of newly made realms that can reconcile nature and passion, human feeling and body--rather as epic simile
posits a joining but not identity of compatible elements.
The bold, epic simile
of Death in his overcoat conjures a nineteenth-century figure suddenly transposed to a twenty-first-century present.
One detail is particularly revealing in this regard: the "epic simile
" that is folded into this micro-episode, and that, like many of the Iliad's similes (see, e.g., Bassett 166-69), opens a window onto a fragment of a pastoral or natural world apparently far removed from the battlefield.
When I ask them literary terms (say, epic simile
), my students cannot just memorize a definition and be done with it; they also need to provide an example from a relevant work that we have studied and explain how the term describes the literary concept or technique.
The figure appears again in the same register of meaning in Milton's antiprelatical tracts and in the epic simile
comparing Satan to a "prowling wolf" (ecclesiastical corruption) in Paradise Lost (4.183-93).
So Apollonius's most Homeric similes draw the reader's attention to their Homeric qualities without necessarily deepening or enriching the narrative; and often his poetic strengths lie in decidedly un-Homeric directions, in, for example, the crafting of his famous simile of the aborigines in book 2--an epic simile
likening dead aborigines to felled trees.