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

By M. A. R. Habib

This complete consultant to the heritage of literary feedback from antiquity to the current day offers an authoritative review of the key pursuits, figures, and texts of literary feedback, in addition to surveying their cultural, historic, and philosophical contexts.

  • Supplies the cultural, old and philosophical historical past 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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In describing such a guardian as a musician, in arrogating to this class of society the governance of music, in appropriating from poets themselves jurisdiction over their art, Plato is once again marking out music as the arena of ideological conflict between poetry and philosophy. Poetry’s main threat resides in its ability to upset the finely attuned balance achieved as a model of subjectivity in rulers. In book X, Plato will allege that poetry establishes a “vicious constitution” in the soul, setting up emotions as rulers in place of reason (X, 605b–c, 606d).

The canon attributed to Plato includes thirty-five dialogues and thirteen letters. The authenticity of some of the dialogues and of all the letters has been questioned. It has become conventional to divide Plato’s dialogues according to early, middle, and later periods of composition. Most scholars seem to agree that the early dialogues expound the central philosophical concerns and method of Socrates. These dialogues, which include the Apology, Charmides, Crito, Euthyphro, Gorgias, Ion, Laches, Protagoras, Lysis, and the first book of the Republic, are devoted to exploring and defining concepts such as virtue, temperance, courage, piety, and justice.

For example, an object in the physical world is beautiful because it partakes of the ideal Form of Beauty which exists in the higher realm. And so with Tallness, Equality, or Goodness, which Plato sees as the highest of the Forms. Plato even characterizes entire objects as having their essence in the ideal Forms; hence a bed in the physical world is an imperfect copy of the ideal bed in the world of Forms. The connection between the two realms can best be illustrated using examples from geometry: any triangle or square that we construct using physical instruments is bound to be imperfect.

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