Between Ecstasy and Truth: Interpretations of Greek Poetics by Stephen Halliwell

By Stephen Halliwell

In addition to generating one of many most interesting of all poetic traditions, historical Greek tradition produced a massive culture of poetic idea and feedback. Halliwell's quantity bargains a sequence of targeted and hard interpretations of a few of the defining authors and texts within the historical past of old Greek poetics: the Homeric epics, Aristophanes' Frogs, Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Poetics, Gorgias's Helen, Isocrates' treatises, Philodemus' On Poems, and Longinus' at the Sublime.
The volume's basic predicament is with how the Greeks conceptualized the adventure of poetry and debated the values of that have. The book's organizing subject is a recurrent Greek dialectic among principles of poetry as, at the one hand, a powerfully enchanting adventure in its personal correct (a type of 'ecstasy') and, at the different, a medium for the expression of truths that may workout lasting impact on its audiences' perspectives of the area. bringing up a variety of smooth scholarship, and making widespread connections with later sessions of literary conception and aesthetics, Halliwell questions many orthodoxies and got reviews concerning the texts analysed. The ensuing viewpoint casts new gentle on ways that the Greeks tried to make experience of the psychology of poetic experience―including the jobs of emotion, ethics, mind's eye, and knowledge―in the lifetime of their culture.
Readership: students and scholars of Greek literature, Greek poetics, and literary idea and feedback.

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46 below. 4–6. 1: qualifications on the latter do not doubt the existence of early peoples with these names; cf. Hornblower 1987: 86–8, 1991–2008: iii. 264–6, 2004: 310–11 for discussion. Setting the Scene 21 as a poet, is likely to have ‘enhanced and magnified’ things (Kðd ôe ìåEÇïí . . 1, where poetry is juxtaposed with the kind of prose-writing (including, probably, that of Herodotus) which allegedly prioritizes immediate audience satisfaction over truthful accuracy. Both kinds of composition, Thucydides insinuates, tend to push accounts of the past into the realm of ‘the fabulous’ (ôe ìıŁHäåò) or ‘the mythologized’.

9 Something similar might be said of approaches which translate the idea of Homeric ‘poetics’ into the reconstruction of systems of oral composition. This angle of view can throw light on narrative and structural conventions which are likely to have been grounded in long-standing traditions of performance, and which may carry with them certain ways of shaping (the experience of) poetic meaning. But quite apart from the formidable question of how far the Homeric epics are exemplary products of oral tradition, how far works which conspicuously breach the norms and redefine the potential of such tradition, it is striking that oralist criticism also tends to be preoccupied with a poetics that is, as it were, hard to dissociate from the entire fabric of Homeric song/poetry.

52 At whatever angle we hold the picture, it is hard to escape a sense that Thucydides’ priority is to displace poetry with history as the master-art of human narrative and insight. Yet in doing so he discloses something of the strength of those poetic values against which he measured the aims of his own writing. ) for poetry, see Ch. 6, 311–17. 1 explicitly refers to those who naively trust (ðØóôåýåØí) the extravagant accounts of poets, implying that they cannot distinguish between historical plausibility and ‘the legendary’ (ôe ìıŁHäåò); cf.

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