By M. A. R. Habib

This finished advisor to the heritage of literary feedback from antiquity to the current day presents an authoritative evaluation of the foremost routine, figures, and texts of literary feedback, in addition to surveying their cultural, ancient, and philosophical contexts.

  • Supplies the cultural, historic and philosophical history to the literary feedback of every era
  • Enables scholars to determine the advance of literary feedback in context
  • Organised chronologically, from classical literary feedback via to deconstruction
  • Considers a variety 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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Extra resources for A history of literary criticism and theory : from Plato to the present

Sample text

When these people speak, they will hear the echo from the wall, imagining the passing shadows to be the speakers. Plato’s point is that people who have known only these shadows will take them for realities: if they were forced to stand up and turn around, they would, at first dazzled by the light coming into the entrance of the cave, be unable to see the objects whose shadows they had previously seen. Indeed, they would insist that those shadows were more real. If they were now forced to ascend the road, which was “rough and steep,” they would be yet more blinded.

This idea has remained profoundly influential even into our own era. In later dialogues such as the Philebus, Sophist, and the Parmenides, however, Plato subjects his own theory of Forms to a scrupulous questioning. The Parmenides suggests that the theory would require an infinite regression, whereby a further Form would have to be posited as lying behind the initial Form. In the Sophist, Plato offers a 22 HOLC01b 22 06/27/2005, 10:50 AM plato (428 –ca. 347 bc ) different view of reality: it is now defined as the power to affect or be affected.

Nor should poets be allowed to present the gods as assuming manifold forms since, in actuality, “each of them, being the fairest and best possible, abides forever simply in his own form” (II, 381c–d). Finally, poets must not present the gods as deceitful since, affirms Socrates, “there is no lying poet in God” (II, 382d). Again, this phrase suggests that poetry by its very nature is a falsifying rhetorical activity. The underlying point is that such portrayals of gods and men will inculcate false and corruptive ideals into the guardians.

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