Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Classical Literary Criticism
The text introduces many different classical literary criticism but the two most influential critics must be Plato and Aristotle. Plato's influence on our culture is immence. Focusing strictly on literary criticism one would find that Plato also had a great effect on Western civilizations criticism of art, in addition to all of his political and philosophical contributions. He was the first (on record) to ever discuss what the role of the poet and his poetry is within society. Although he was afraid of the negative influence that poetry could incite within common people, he at the same time elevated the poet to the status of a mystic/prophet (though he deemed seers to be much higher up on the social ladder than artists) by stating that they could hold power over his Republic because the words would outlast the poets. As a result, ever since Plato we have been regarding poetry very carefully, whether it be through a positive or negative light, all Western societies deem it's potential as something to be awed because of Plato.
Aristotle on the other hand took a different approach while analyzing poetry. He viewed it like a scientist; he distanced himself from its charm and emotion. He was not so easily impressed by a poems ability to evoke powerful emotions. He felt that art is imitation but imitation is noble because human beings learn through imitation. Though the poem was not the original form of the object being discussed, the image of that object still reflected the original form of the object, and thus was divine through proxy.