By Stephen Halliwell
In addition to generating one of many most interesting of all poetic traditions, historic Greek tradition produced a tremendous culture of poetic idea and feedback. Halliwell's quantity bargains a sequence of exact and difficult interpretations of a few of the defining authors and texts within the historical past of historic 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 primary drawback is with how the Greeks conceptualized the adventure of poetry and debated the values of that have. The book's organizing subject matter is a recurrent Greek dialectic among principles of poetry as, at the one hand, a powerfully spell binding adventure in its personal correct (a type of 'ecstasy') and, at the different, a medium for the expression of truths that could workout lasting impression on its audiences' perspectives of the realm. mentioning a variety of sleek scholarship, and making common connections with later classes of literary concept and aesthetics, Halliwell questions many orthodoxies and got critiques concerning the texts analysed. The ensuing viewpoint casts new mild on ways that the Greeks tried to make feel 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 concept and feedback.
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Additional resources for Between Ecstasy and Truth: Interpretations of Greek Poetics from Homer to Longinus
2–7 West (2003a); cf. Pratt (1993: 24–30), with Grifﬁth (1990: 196–200) on rival accounts of myths more generally. , cf. Ch. 2, 63–7, with n. 60 there for Hellenistic variations on this theme. 35 Cf. the god-like life of feasting (with, implicitly, song) in the Golden Age, free from all misery and suffering, at Hes. Op. 111–15. 36 They are themselves totally carefree in spirit (61, in contrast to the human state at 55 and 98–103) and give intense pleasure even to the mind of Zeus himself (37, 51).
But this transﬁgurative, ecstatic dimension is closely combined with a cognitively grounded intersubjectivity according to which the sublime allows great thoughts and intense emotions to be communicated between minds and to reverberate with a fresh charge of creativity at every stage. Thus, what on one level is a ‘loss of (normal) self’ in the moment of contact with the sublime can also be seen as an activation of the mind’s deepest capacities. In the course of developing this account of On the Sublime I examine a series of key ideas and passages in the work, arguing that the Longinian sublime always involves a ‘surplus of meaning’ which permits the experience of it to be not only repeated but extended by cumulative contemplation.
From this angle, then, Frogs is a poetic celebration of the inability of a lover of poetry to understand his own passions. We do not need to turn Aristophanes into a literary theorist, nor to resolve his play’s dazzling antinomies into a neat and tidy message, in order to see Frogs as achieving its own shrewd insights into problems of Greek poetics. If adept interpretation of Frogs requires appreciation of the work’s lack of a controlling authorial voice, the same holds good, with obvious differences of tone and nuance, for the various treatments of poetry found in Plato’s dialogues.
Between Ecstasy and Truth: Interpretations of Greek Poetics from Homer to Longinus by Stephen Halliwell