Narratives with features commonly regarded as epic often overlap with other generic labels, such as sacred history, chronicle, saga, legend, romance, myth, folklore, and the novel. This website features cherished stories from across the globe that relate memorable deeds by heroic characters whose actions have significant consequences for themselves and their larger communities.

I am especially eager to include lesser-known epic narratives from around the world that are at least partly available in English translation. Please contact me by email if 1) you are interested in supplying a brief (ca. 1,000 word) introduction to an epic that is not yet included on the site; 2) you can suggest links to websites, videos of performances, online artwork, podcasts, lectures, etc., related to epic narratives; 3) you are willing to share your syllabi, discussion questions, or other teaching resources on the site; 4) you have news, upcoming events, CFPs, or publications to post on the site’s home page; or 5) you have feedback and suggestions for improving the site.

Contributors are gratefully acknowledged below:

In the Spotlight


Atefeh Akbari, Barnard College   

Marianne Ailes, University of Bristol (England) 

Sarah M. Anderson, Princeton University

Claudia Antonini, Columbia University

Bernard Arps, Leiden University (Netherlands)

Francesco Marco Aresu, University of Pennsylvania  

Poupak Azimpour Tabrizi, University of Tehran (Iran)

Carlo Baja Guarienti (Italy) 

Steve J. Baker, Columbia University

Brenda Beck, University of Toronto (Canada) 

Dan Ben-Amos, University of Pennsylvania

Philip E. Bennett, University of Edinburgh (Scotland)

Alison Beringer, Montclair State University  

Brunhilde Biebuyck, Reid Hall, Columbia University (France)   

Claudia Boscolo (Italy) 

Troy Camplin, independent scholar 

Benson Cheung

Joel Christensen, Brandeis University   

Bradford Clark, Bowling Green State University

Albrecht Classen, The University of Arizona    

Matthew Cohen, University of Connecticut   

Tylar Ann Colleluori, Columbia University 

Fabrice Contri, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Lyon (France)

Jesús Ricardo Córdoba Perozo, Università di Napoli (Italy)

Robert Crossley, University of Massachusetts Boston

Alex Cuadrado, Columbia University

Olga M. Davidson, Boston University

Barlow Der Mugrdechian, California State University, Fresno

Ivana Djordjević, Concordia University (Canada)

Thomas A. DuBois, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Casey Dué, University of Houston   

Angelica Duran, Purdue University    

John Fadden, Six Nations Indian Museum 

Jennifer Fellows, independent scholar (England)

Esther Fernández, Rice University 

Paul Firbas, Stony Brook University

Yelena P. Francis, Columbia College, MO 

Camille Fritsch, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Lyon (France)  

Alessandro Giammei, Bryn Mawr College   

George G. Grabowicz, Harvard University

Eric Clifford Graf 

Thomas A. Hale, Pennsylvania State University 

Zachary Hamby, Ava High School, MO

Bruce Johansen, University of Nebraska at Omaha 

John Wm. Johnson, Indiana University   

Adeline Johns-Putra, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (China)   

Demetrios Stefanos Kavadas, Columbia University 

Alison Keith, University of Toronto (Canada)

Sharon Kinoshita, University of California, Santa Cruz

Roman Koropeckyj, University of California, Los Angeles

Carolina López-Ruiz, University of Chicago Divinity School

Jason Lotz, SUNY Farmingdale 

Joey McMullen, Indiana University   

Raul Marrero-Fente, University of Minnesota   

Christine Marrewa-Karwoski, Columbia University

Lipton Matthews (Jamaica)

José Antonio Mazzotti, Tufts University 

Joseph L. Mbele, St. Olaf College

Roberta Micallef, Boston University

Leslie Zarker Morgan, Loyola University Maryland   

Mario Murgia, Autonomous University of Mexico (Mexico)

Thomas Mussio, Iona University

Gregory Nagy, Harvard University

Leonard Neidorf, Nanjing University (China)  

Katherine Oswald, University of Notre Dame 

Elizabeth Oyler, University of Pittsburgh 

Emrah Pelvanoğlu, Yeditepe University (Turkey)   

Tom Phillips, University of Manchester (England)

Maria Predelli, McGill University (Canada)

Aliaksandra Razor, University of California, Los Angeles   

Joseph D. Reed, Brown University   

Joshua S. Reid, East Tennessee State University

Dwight F. Reynolds, University of California at Santa Barbara   

Moss Roberts, New York University

Paula Richman, Oberlin College

Charles S. Ross, Purdue University

Lily Saint, Wesleyan University   

Arshia Sattar, independent scholar (India)

Martin Simonson, University of the Basque Country (Spain)

Nancy Staub, Center for Puppetry Arts Museum, Atlanta, Georgia 

Luke Sunderland, Durham University (England) 

Gizachew Tiruneh, University of Central Arkansas   

Buffy Turner, Bilkent University (Turkey)  

Frederick Turner, University of Texas at Dallas   

Victoria Turner, University of St Andrews (Scotland)

David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania 

Gareth Williams, Columbia University   

Martin White, founder of African Poems (England)   

Mariam Zia, Lahore School of Economics (Pakistan) 


This website arose from a project entitled “World Epics in Puppet Theater: Italy, India, Iran, Japan,” co-sponsored by the Humanities War and Peace Initiative, through the Division of Humanities in the Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. This initiative “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.”  I would like to thank M. Aurora Rodriguez Collado (Center for Teaching and Learning) for her creative design and technical support and Tylar Colleluori (Department of Italian) for her assistance with locating resources.


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