A history of literary criticism and theory : from Plato to by M. A. R. Habib PDF

By M. A. R. Habib

ISBN-10: 0631232001

ISBN-13: 9780631232001

ISBN-10: 1405176083

ISBN-13: 9781405176088

This finished advisor to the heritage of literary feedback from antiquity to the current day presents an authoritative evaluation of the main routine, figures, and texts of literary feedback, in addition to surveying their cultural, old, and philosophical contexts.

  • Supplies the cultural, historic and philosophical history to the literary feedback of every era
  • Enables scholars to work out the advance of literary feedback in context
  • Organised chronologically, from classical literary feedback via to deconstruction
  • Considers quite a lot of thinkers and occasions from the French Revolution to Freud’s perspectives on civilization
  • Can be used along any anthology of literary feedback or as a coherent stand-alone introduction

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Additional info for A history of literary criticism and theory : from Plato to the present

Sample text

Hence he does not underestimate the danger it presents to his ideal city, ordered as this is in a strict hierarchy whereby the guardians (philosophers) and their helpers (soldiers) comprise an elect minority which rules over a large majority of farmers, craftsmen, and “moneymakers” (415a–b; 434c). Just how seriously Plato takes this threat is signaled by the fact that it is music which primarily defines the function of guardianship: “It is here . . in music . . ” Alert to the potential “insensible corruption” of the state, what they must guard against above all are “innovations in music and gymnastics counter to the established order .

And yet he stands by his claim that he can speak better on Homer than anyone else. How can this be so? Socrates explains that Ion’s power as a rhapsode is based not on art or knowledge – if it were, he would be able to speak equally well of other poets – but rather on divine inspiration (Ion, 533d–534e). According to Socrates, the rhapsode, like the poet himself, is in a state of “divine possession” and speaks not with his own voice, which is merely a medium through which a god speaks. The Muse inspires the poet, who in turn passes on this inspiration to the rhapsode, who produces an inspired emotional effect on the spectators (Ion, 534c–e).

The argument “from truth” breaks down very early in the Republic. Having urged that most of the current “stories” told by poets – such as Hesiod’s account of the unseemly behavior between Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus – must be censored, Socrates adds: “Even if they were true . . as few as possible should have heard these tales” (II, 377c–378a). It becomes immediately transparent here that it is not truth but political and educational expediency which is the criterion of censorship. Moreover, Plato repeatedly states that the guardians themselves (though no one else) must employ lies “for the benefit of the state” (III, 389b; V, 459c–d; VII, 535d–e).

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A history of literary criticism and theory : from Plato to the present by M. A. R. Habib


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