A History of Literary Criticism and Theory: From Plato to by M. A. R. Habib

By M. A. R. Habib

This entire advisor to the historical past of literary feedback from antiquity to the current day presents an authoritative evaluate of the main hobbies, figures, and texts of literary feedback, in addition to surveying their cultural, historic, and philosophical contexts.Supplies the cultural, old and philosophical history to the literary feedback of every period allows scholars to determine the improvement of literary feedback in contextOrganised chronologically, from classical literary feedback via to deconstruction Considers a variety of thinkers and occasions from the French Revolution to Freud’s perspectives on civilization can be utilized along any anthology of literary feedback or as a coherent stand-alone creation

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Hence the guardians’ nature must achieve a harmony between both dispositions, high-spiritedness on the one hand, and gentleness, together with a love of knowledge, on the other. Plato’s terminology here is revealing: such a guardian would be “the most perfect and harmonious musician” (III, 410c–412a). 27 HOLC01b 27 06/27/2005, 10:50 AM part i: ancient greek criticism This terminology enables us better to understand just how Plato conceives of poetry as an ideologically destabilizing force. The harmony in the soul of the guardian is not innate; it is achieved only by long training and ideological inculcation.

Throughout the ostensible “dialogue,” Ion acts as the willing and naive tool of Socrates’ own perspective, unwittingly dragged through the implications of his own initial boast that he “of all men . . [has] the finest things to say on Homer” (Ion, 530c). Characteristically, Socrates’ strategy is not to contradict this statement directly but to unfold various contexts in whose light the connections between the constituent elements of Ion’s claim very precisely emerge as absurd. Ion’s claim is strangely self-limited: he claims to recite and interpret only one poet, Homer, and to be ignorant of and indifferent to the work of other poets (Ion, 531a).

This general charge against poetry is elucidated in book X. Once again, it is an index of how deeply poetry structures the entire discussion that this final book is devoted not 31 HOLC01b 31 06/27/2005, 10:50 AM part i: ancient greek criticism to justice or polity but to poetry. Socrates, perhaps shaky in his conviction of his own earlier arguments, returns to give second thoughts to the subject – with the biased intention of convincing himself more deeply. Using the dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon, Plato now presents the poet as a “most marvelous Sophist” and a “truly clever and wondrous man” who “makes all the things that all handicraftsmen severally produce” (X, 596c–d).

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