World Epics

 

This collaborative website is devoted to epics from across the globe, including epic narratives in theatrical dramatizations, puppetry arts, music, visual art, and film. It aims likewise to showcase websites and teaching resources developed by colleagues featuring both oral and literary epics, from the ancient world to today.

 

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Don’t Miss

Featured Events

World Epics in Puppet Theater

India, Iran, Japan, Italy

This project is part of the Columbia University Humanities War & Peace Initiative, which “fosters the study of war and peace from the perspective of scholars in the Humanities, in conversation with colleagues from around Columbia and the world […] with an ultimate goal of perpetuating a more peaceful world.”

Mini-Symposium

mini-symposium dedicated to World Epics in Puppet Theater: India, Iran, Japan, Italy was held online through the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette “Antonio Pasqualino” (Palermo) on Friday, November 12, 2021. The theme of this mini-symposium was exile. Click here for a program with descriptions of the five presentations, a  video recording of the event, and brief biographies of the speakers.

Italy

Live and streamed performance

November 12, 2021

A performance of Rinaldo imperatore di Trebisonda by the Marionettistica dei Fratelli Napoli of Catania was hosted by the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette “Antonio Pasqualino” in Palermo, Italy, on November 12, 2021. The performance was staged following the World Epics in Puppet Theater mini-symposium on the theme of exile in which Alessandro Napoli gave a presentation on the “Rinaldo, Emperor of Trebizond” episode in literary and puppet theater traditions (both the presentation and the performance are available online).

Iran

Online Screening and Q&A

May 11, 2022, 7pm (EST)

Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic. A cinematic shadow play that features the white-haired Zal from his birth to his love story with Rudabeh, based on the Persian epic Shahnameh (‘The Book of Kings’). Created and directed by Hamid Rahmanian with graphics derived from the visual tradition of the region, rendered as puppets, costumes, masks, scenography, and digital animation.  Online screening followed by a Q&A with Hamid Rahmanian, in conversation with Olga M. Davidson (Boston University) and John Bell (Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, University of Connecticut).

Japan

Online Screening and Q&A

May 18, 2022, 7pm (EST)

Moritoshi’s Report / Atsumori’s Departure and Atsumori’s Death: a sequence of two cart puppet plays derived from the Japanese epic Tales of the HeikePerformed by the Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo The Koryu Nishikawa Troupe (cart puppetry company) of Japan. Online screening followed by a Q&A with Koryu Nishikawa V, in conversation with Claudia Orenstein (Hunter College), Elizabeth Oyler (University of Pittsburgh), and John Bell (Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, University of Connecticut).

India

Online Screening and Q&A

May 25, 2022; 7pm (EST)

About Ram. An experimental theatrical piece and collaborative performance, using excerpts from the Bhavbhuti Ramayana and told through animation, projected images, dance, masks, and puppets. Directed by Anurupa Roy. Animation by Vishal Dhar. Performed by the Katkatha Puppet Theatre Group. Online screening followed by a Q&A with Anurupa Roy, in conversation with Paula Richman (Oberlin College) and John Bell (Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, University of Connecticut).

Explore

Featured Resources

Sirat Bani Hilal Digital Archive
The Sirat Bani Hilal Digital Archive is devoted to preserving and making accessible to scholars and the general public original recordings and other documentation concerning the Arabic oral epic poem Sirat Bani Hilal.
African Epics
The website “African Poems” has a section featuring several epic poems, with introductions, written excerpts, and oral performances.

Charlemagne: A European Icon

This network project examines the ways in which the different linguistic cultures of medieval Europe appropriated Charlemagne material from chronicle and epic. The project will produce seven volumes, and there will be a range of additional features on this website.

eBOIARDO
The site’s main focus is on theatrical, musical, and artistic representations based on Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato, Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, and other Italian Renaissance romance epics.

Keep Informed

Adaptations, News & Events, Publications

Song of the North (shadow puppetry based on the Shahnameh)

Song of the North (shadow puppetry based on the Shahnameh)

US Premiere March 5-12, 2022 Harvey Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music From the Song of the North website: Created, Designed and Directed by Hamid Rahmanian Producer: Melissa Hibbard Script written by Hamid Rahmanian and Melissa Hibbard Original Score written...

Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic

Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic

Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic is a cinematic shadow play that features the white-haired Zal from his birth to his love story with Rudabeh, based on the Persian epic Shahnameh (‘The Book of Kings’). Created and directed by Hamid Rahmanian with graphics derived from...

Calls for Proposals: RSA San Juan 2023

Calls for Proposals: RSA San Juan 2023

Renaissance Society of America members can post calls for papers and seek participants for sessions in all disciplines to be held at RSA San Juan (9–11 March 2023). Session proposals are welcome in the following formats: Paper panels; Seminars; Roundtables; Workshops....

New Publications on Charlemagne and His Legend

New Publications on Charlemagne and His Legend

Oltre la mer salee: Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of the Société Rencesvals pour l’étude des épopées romanes, Toronto, 13–17 August 2018. Edited by Dorothea Kullmann and Anthony Fredette. May 2022. Studies and Texts 227; Toronto Studies in Romance...

CFP: journal issue on World Epics in Puppet Theater

CFP: journal issue on World Epics in Puppet Theater

AOQU  4.2 (2023). World Epics in Puppet Theater Until recently, epic narratives remained at the forefront of their respective cultures through folk performance traditions, especially puppetry arts. Although this unique form of creative popular expression (at once...