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

By M. A. R. Habib

This accomplished advisor to the historical past of literary feedback from antiquity to the current day presents an authoritative evaluation of the foremost activities, figures, and texts of literary feedback, in addition to surveying their cultural, historic, and philosophical contexts.

  • Supplies the cultural, historic and philosophical heritage to the literary feedback of every era
  • Enables scholars to work out the improvement 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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Containing within himself the greatest number of patterns of constitutions and qualities” (VIII, 561e). We can see here, quite apart from Plato’s explicit association of poetry and democracy, that poetry is charged with the same fundamental traits as democracy. Like democracy, poetry fosters genuine individuals, “manifold” men who are “stuffed” with differences and resist the reduction of their social function, or indeed their natural potential, into one exclusive dimension. Also, like democracy, poetry nurtures all parts of the soul, refusing obeisance to the law of reason.

Accordingly, tyranny embodies the utmost depths of anarchy and lawlessness. Hence the degeneration from aristocracy through oligarchy to democracy and tyranny represents the collapse not only of the original unity of the state but also, equally importantly, of the unity of the individual into a lawless multiplicity. The unified, integrated person of the aristocracy who enjoyed a harmony between the various “classes” of his soul is fragmented first into the “double” man of oligarchy and then the “manifold” man produced by democracy; finally, even the vestiges of the soul’s structure collapse, in tyranny, into an uncontrollable proliferation of desires, an abyss of irreducible particularity, multiplicity, and relativity.

The Politics of Plato’s Aesthetics Poetry’s deeper structural function in this text is not confined to the first two books. In books III and X that function extends to the program of education Plato advocates for the guardians or rulers of his ideal city. The initial elements prescribed for this training comprise the conventional Athenian combination of gymnastics and music. The Greek 26 HOLC01b 26 06/27/2005, 10:50 AM plato (428 –ca. 347 bc ) word mousike, as its form suggests, refers broadly to any art over which the Muses preside, including poetry, letters, and music.

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