Poetics before Plato: Interpretation and Authority in Early Greek Theories of Poetry

By Grace M. Ledbetter

Combining literary and philosophical research, this examine defends an totally leading edge analyzing of the early historical past of poetics. it's the first to argue that there's a distinctively Socratic view of poetry and the 1st to attach the Socratic view of poetry with prior literary tradition.

Literary idea is generally acknowledged first of all Plato's well-known critique of poetry within the Republic. Grace Ledbetter demanding situations this entrenched assumption by means of arguing that Plato's prior dialogues Ion, Protagoras, and Apology introduce a distinctively Socratic conception of poetry that responds polemically to standard poets as rival theorists. Ledbetter tracks the resources of this Socratic reaction through introducing separate readings of the poetics implicit within the poetry of Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar. analyzing those poets' theories from a brand new perspective that uncovers their literary, rhetorical, and political goals, she demonstrates their decisive effect on Socratic wondering poetry.

The Socratic poetics Ledbetter elucidates focuses now not on censorship, yet at the interpretation of poetry as a resource of ethical knowledge. This philosophical method of reading poetry stands at odds with the poets' personal theories--and with the Sophists' remedy of poetry. in contrast to the Republic's specialize in exposing and banishing poetry's irrational and inevitably corrupting effect, Socrates' idea contains poetry as subject material for philosophical inquiry inside an tested life.

Reaching again into what has too lengthy been thought of literary theory's prehistory, Ledbetter advances arguments that would redefine how classicists, philosophers, and literary theorists take into consideration Plato's poetics.

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Grecq. 88 (1975), p. forty four, and to a definite volume, H. Parry, “An Interpretation of Simonides four (Diehl),” TAPA ninety six (1965), p. 315. three Ferrari 1989, p. a hundred and one. towards A version OF SOCRATIC INTERPRETATION one zero one taken heavily. four For purposes I shall speak about less than, neither of those methods has yielded completely passable effects. right here I shall suggest another, oblique route to reconciling the conflicting calls for of this episode. On my examining, the translation Socrates provides goals to be glaringly perverse and sophistic, yet simply because it's intentionally anti-Socratic, it attracts the outlines of what a very Socratic interpretation could appear like.

The Socratic psychology of poetic event hyperlinks trust with emotion in a fashion that Plato emphatically doesn't. at the Socratic view, even the sentiments the rhapsode reviews whilst within the nation of delusional concept are rational in that they're in keeping with his ideals; Ion believes he's current at a daunting state of affairs in Troy, and so he's afraid: . . . doesn’t your soul, in its enthusiasm, think that it truly is current on the activities you describe, no matter if they’re in Ithaca or in Troy or at any place the epic really happens?

30 As Ion himself notes, his deluded doesn't hinder his lucid job as sensible entrepreneur; his communique of delusional enthusiasm is going on the entire whereas he gauges his audience’s emotional reaction and attends to gathering the money: you spot i need to preserve my wits and pay shut awareness to them: if I begin them crying, i'm going to chuckle as I take their cash, but when they giggle, I shall cry at having misplaced cash. (535e3–6) The rhapsode’s audience—the ultimate iron ring within the chain transmitting the god’s magnetic force—enter right into a transitority delusional nation brought about by way of the rhapsode’s functionality.

Presenting a foundation upon which a poet can problem, and desire to surpass, his predecessors marks one of many suggestions of Pindar’s concept. Pindar’s narrator can declare superiority over his predecessors with no impugning the standard of Homer’s or Hesiod’s notion. Pindar’s poet39 in contrast to in Hesiod, the place poetry’s healing impact isn't really linked to its audience’s wisdom nor with what they suspect. forty Nemean 7. 14–17: “We recognize of a replicate for noble deeds in just a technique, if, by way of the grace of Mnemosyne with the shining crown, one unearths recompense for his labors in poetry’s well-known songs.

Fifty one either those issues that seem to disqualify encounters with the Sirens as versions for Homeric poetics are themselves misleading. the speculation that the Siren scene depicts is actually an analogous concept we now have already chanced on repeated in the course of the Iliad and Odyssey. With the Sirens Homer elaborates that concept via portraying its parts forty nine at the Sirens see Schadewalt 1965, p. eighty five; G. ok. Gresseth, “The Homeric Sirens,” TAPA one hundred and one (1970), pp. 203–18; P. Pucci, “The tune of the Sirens,” Arethusa 12 (1979), pp.

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