valkyr at att.net
Mon Dec 31 03:11:14 PST 2012
Poetry and poets being, not what we know them today, but as the keeper of the (orality) culture.
"When in the last third of his argument [against the poetic experience (Republic)] Plato returns to the poet's case, the ambiguity between the situation of the creative artist and of the actor or performer is maintained. It is impossible to be sure which of them in any given sentence is more prominently before the philosopher's eye. Considered as an 'orator', our Platonic poet will prefer a style with a minimum of _mimesis_ and a maximum of description. His indulgence in extreme forms of _mimesis_, extending even to the growls and squeals of animals, will be in direct proportion to his inferiority as a poet. And then Plato adds a comment which is in part a stylistic analysis and in part a philosophical judgement: 'The dramatic-mimetic mode involves all-various shapes of changes.' It is polymorphous and, we might say, exhibits the characteristics of a rich and unpredictable flux of experience. The descriptive mode cuts this tendency down to a minimum. ..."
(Havelock, Eric A., 'Preface to Plato', pp. 22-23)
Gotta love a good bibliography!
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