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Ancient Philosophical Poetics

Part of Key Themes in Ancient Philosophy

  • Date Published: November 2012
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521198790

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  • What is poetry? Why do human beings produce and consume it? What effects does it have on them? Can it give them insight into truth, or is it dangerously misleading? This book is a wide-ranging study of the very varied answers which ancient philosophers gave to such questions. An extended discussion of Plato's Republic shows how the two discussions of poetry are integrated with each other and with the dialogue's central themes. Aristotle's Poetics is read in the context of his understanding of poetry as a natural human behaviour and an intrinsically valuable component of a good human life. Two chapters trace the development of the later Platonist tradition from Plutarch to Plotinus, Longinus and Porphyry, exploring its intellectual debts to Epicurean, allegorical and Stoic approaches to poetry. It will be essential reading for classicists as well as ancient philosophers and modern philosophers of art and aesthetics.

    • The focus on philosophical poetics highlights ancient discussions of philosophical questions concerning poetry, which can be obscured when they are presented in the context of ancient literary criticism
    • Covers a wide chronological range, with a coherent narrative arc
    • Accessible and sympathetic exposition of diverse ancient positions
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521198790
    • length: 204 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 155 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Poetry: the roots of a problem
    2. A radical solution: Plato's Republic
    3. The natural history of poetry: Aristotle
    4. Ways to find truth in falsehood
    5. The marriage of Homer and Plato.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Myth and Philosophy
  • Author

    Malcolm Heath, University of Leeds
    Malcolm Heath is Professor of Greek Language and Literature at the University of Leeds. He has also taught at the Universities of Oxford and St Andrews. His publications include The Poetics of Greek Tragedy (1987), Political Comedy in Aristophanes (1987), Unity in Greek Poetics (1989), Hermogenes On Issues: Strategies of Argument in Later Greek Rhetoric (1995), Interpreting Classical Texts (2002) and Menander: A Rhetor in Context (2004), as well as many journal articles. He has translated Aristotle's Poetics for Penguin Classics (1996) and is currently working on a book on Aristotle and the anthropology of poetry.

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