By M. A. R. Habib

ISBN-10: 0631232001

ISBN-13: 9780631232001

This entire advisor to the historical past of literary feedback from antiquity to the current day presents an authoritative evaluation of the most important activities, figures, and texts of literary feedback, in addition to surveying their cultural, old, and philosophical contexts.Supplies the cultural, old and philosophical heritage to the literary feedback of every period permits scholars to work out 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 advent

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Extra info for A History of Literary Criticism and Theory: From Plato to the Present

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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).

Ironically, while Plato’s “ideal” account of the evolution from monarchy and aristocracy to democracy and tyranny has little basis in the actual history of Greek society, it might be read as a valuable idealization of the historical transitions in Europe from petty kingdoms through the vast edifice of feudalism to the hegemony of capitalism, each of these emerging, as Marx would have it, from internal discord within the previous system. In virtue of the “internal dissension” of the oligarchic man, whose control over his ebbing appetites is motivated by fear for his possessions, Plato characterizes him as not a unity but a “double man” (VIII, 554d–e).

In this sense, poetry is the incarnation of indefinability and the limits of reason. It is in its nature a rebel, a usurper, which desires to rule; and as such it is the most potent threat to the throne of philosophy, which is also the throne of polity in the state of the philosopher-king. There is, moreover, a further political valency in poetry’s indeterminacy of function. Plato sees poetry as pandering primarily to two types of constitution, the democratic and the tyrannical (VIII, 568a–d). Tyranny, moreover, is viewed by Plato as somehow not opposed to democracy but a logical extension of it.

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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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