The Ancient Quarrel Between Poetry and Philosophy (Princeton by Thomas Gould

By Thomas Gould

Affecting audiences with depictions of ache and injustice is a key functionality of tragedy, and but it has lengthy been considered by means of philosophers as a doubtful company. during this booklet Thomas Gould makes use of either historic and theoretical techniques to discover tragedy and its strength to gratify readers and audiences. he's taking as his start line Plato's ethical and mental objections to tragedy, and the clash he well-known among "poetry"--the exploitation of our craving to work out ourselves as victims--and "philosophy"--the insistence that each one solid individuals are satisfied. Plato's objections to tragedy are proven to be an important characteristic of Socratic rationalism and to represent a powerful problem even this day. Gould makes a case for the rightness and mental necessity of violence and affliction in literature, paintings, and faith, yet he distinguishes among depictions of violence that elicit sympathy just for the sufferers and people who reason us to sympathize totally with the perpetrators. it's mainly the previous, Gould argues, that gasoline our responses not just to real tragedy but in addition to spiritual myths and significant monitors of political rage.

Originally released in 1990.

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2 In Laws VII the Athenian suggests another kind of example: dialogues, like the Laws itself (811 c 7). " They are that, but they are permissible because they imply Socratic truth. In contrast, Homer and tragedy imply an anti-Socratic world and are therefore not permissible. Plato was wary of the limitations of any written text, a text unprotected by the author in live debate with his readers (Phaedrus 276 c). And, as we have seen, he believed that ultimate matters can never be expressed in language.

The earliest example is from Hesiod: "If a man sows evils he will reap evil cares; I if he suffers what he did [pathoi ta t' erexa], straight justice will have been done" (frag. 286 Merkelbach-West). Solon also testifies to his debt to the Odyssey. He borrows the formula from the invocation, polla . . 8). 24 THE ANCIENT QUARREL The earliest text to illustrate the many uses of pathein in the classical writers is the fourteen hundred elegiac lines that have come down to us under the name Theognis.

Still, this was a correction of the even more disturbing theodicy of the Iliad. The "ancient quarrel" that would someday lead to the Republic and the Poetics starts here, in the argument that the Odyssey offers in opposition to the Iliad. The poet of the Odyssey uses the verb paschein/pathein to formulate his theodicy. Of all the heroes in the two epics who are said to "suffer pains," "evils," or "calamities," none is said to do so as regularly as Odysseus. The word is used to characterize him in the invocation itself, at the 1 See the Introduction, n.

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