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THE CRITICAL TRADITION
Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends

THE CRITICAL TRADITION
Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends
Third Edition

Edited by
David H. Richter
Queens College
o/the City University o/New York

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Acknowledgments and copyrights are continued at the back of the book all pages 2029-34, which constitute an extension of
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Preface

The "canon of theol)'" introduces into the institutional context of literary pedagogy (the
graduate seminar) a syllabus whose symptomatic function is to signify precisely methodolog-
ical "rigor," rather than the taste or discrimination which for so long detennined the ideo-
logical protocols of literal}' criticism.... Those authors or texts designated as "theoretical"
are now increasingly capable of being introduced to students in traditional routinizedfonl1s,
even by means of anthologies. - JOHN GUILLORY, Cultural Capital (1993)

THE FIRST WAVE
In the late 1960s, when I started teaching, literary criticism was primarily an arcane
subspecialty of historical research, in which scholars quarreled about Philip Sidney's
distinction between "poesy" and "poetry" or the relative influence of Horace and
Longinus on Samuel Johnson. My own interest in literary theory as an ongoing as
well as a historic concern, stimulated by University of Chicago professors Wayne
Booth and Sheldon Sacks, Norman Maclean and Richard McKeon, then seemed a
harmless oddity to most of my colleagues at Queens College. One of them, since
guilty of a metacritical book himself, warned me authoritatively over lunch that I
was wasting my time with theory because there was no future in it.
By then, of course, the revolution had already begun that would end by making
critical theory the roiling pivot point of the profession ofletters, the one topic the fans
of Philip Roth and the devotees of Lady Mary Wroth might have in common. The tur-
bulence and clash of ideas had begun decades before on the Continent, but those of
us in the provinces, who read French and German haltingly and Russian not at all,
didn't experience the explosion of theory until the mid-1970s, as structuralism and
semiotics, deconstruction, Lacanian psychology, Althusserian Marxism, Russian
formalism, phenomenology, and reception theory rode successive waves into our
awareness. A profession that a few years before had been hacking out dozens of pro-
gressively less plausihle ways of misreading The Tum of the Screw was now lit up
with a rush of ideas, a dozen disparate systems with enormous philosophical reach
and scope. Many of those systems were capable also of informing and channeling the
social imperatives of women and minorities seeking a theoretical manifestation of
their need for greater freedom and power. To academics like me the sense ofliberation
was palpable, echoing Wordsworth's sentiments about a revolution two hundred years
past: "Great it was in that dawn to be alive / But to be young was very heaven."

PREFACE v

The first edition of The Critical Tradition was conceived in the rush of that era, as a
tool to help my own students and those like them all over the Americas, many of them
innocent of philosophy of any sort, take tentative steps toward joining the magnifi-
cent conversation going on about them. Its aim was not merely to provide an anthol-
ogy of contemporary theory, with examples of all the latest trends, but a book that
could locate and present the sources of the new theory within Western intellectual his-
tory going back to Plato.
The revolution was, after all, reshaping our sense of intellectual history, forcing us
to broaden our horizons. Anglo-American feminist theory, like that of Elaine
Showalter and Sandra Gilbert, needed to be understood against the backdrop of
Germaine de Stael, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, and other forebears who
served either as sources of inspiration or as antagonists. Understanding Derrida
required one to understand not only the theories of structuralism and semiotics
against which he had reacted: he presumes in the reader the knowledge of Plato, Kant,
Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, some Of whom were comparative strangers to tra-
ditionalliterary criticism courses. On the other side, with the waning of the hegemony
of New Critical explication, the differences between the various New Critics, like
Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, and Cleanth Brooks, no longer seemed as profound
as they once did, and the New Criticism itself receded to a trend within the larger for-
malist movement in the earlier part of the twentieth century that also comprehended
such disparate theorists as Victor Shklovsky and R. S. Crane. An entire tradition of
rhetorical theory going back to classical times, whose centrality depended on that of
the New Criticism, was displaced. But original thinkers like Kenneth Burke, who had
once been seen within the context of New Criticism, now assumed unique places in
the pantheon.

THE SECOND WAVE: PRACTICES AND PIDGINS
Intellectual revolutions too have their Thermidors, and not long after The Critical
Tradition appeared in 1989, it became dear that the era of Grand Theory was com-
ing to an end. No longer did each year bring a rediscovered thinker with the signifi-
cance of Bakhtin, a new theory with the impact of deconstruction. Theory had moved
into a period of consolidation, when it was being used not for its own sake but to
make possible a new sort of encounter with a text or a group of related texts. Critical
practices that had emerged since the beginning of the revolution, engaged in "gender
studies," "New Historicism," and, broadest of all, "cultural studies," began to domi-
nate the graduate and undergraduate study of literature.
People began to engage in loose talk about the arrival of a post-theoretical age, and
Terry Eagleton published a book titled After The01Y (2003). But of course theory had
not disappeared. The new critical discourses were so thoroughly imbued with con-
temporary theory that they were incomprehensible in isolation from their theoretical
origins. Really coming to terms with the methodology behind the New Historicism
involved reading all sorts of abstract texts: not only practitioners like Stephen
Greenblatt and Jerome McGann but theorists like Clifford Geertz and Hayden White
and Michel Foucault. And to do things properly one would have to read the theorists

vi PREFACE

who had most influenced them: not only Clifford Geertz on the semiotics of culture,
but also Max Weber and Emile Durkheim and Claude Levi-Strauss; not only Hayden
White on the tropics of history, but also Jacques Derrida and Ludwig Wittgenstein;
not only Michel Foucault on the genealogies of powerlknowledge, but also Martin
Heidegger and the later Nietzsche. The bases for gender studies and cultural studies
would be even wider and more diverse.
The process of consolidating and simplifying the elaborate and difficult Grand
Theories into workable critical practices involved creating a pidgin, in much the same
way people manage to communicate across language barriers by forming a lingua
franca for trade and barter during interludes between hostilities. This critical pidgin
was enconraged by the way universities avoided the creation of "schools" of like-
minded thinkers such as those you find on the Continent, and instead filled slots so as
to create the greatest possible diversity. English departments that had acquired a
Lacanian or a reception theorist to be fashionable didn't feel the need of a breeding
pair. This tendency to isolate individuals using a particular theoretical vocabulary
from one another had the consequence that, while they could use their chosen critical
language in all its purity in their own classroom and at conferences, they had to use
some other sort of discourse to talk with their colleagues. The result was a carnival of
jostling jargons, in which purity of rhetoric took second place to the pragmatics of
discourse. A gender theorist like Judith Butler could derive her notions about sex and
society from Foucault, but her rhetorical ploys might be taken from Derrida and J. L.
Austin, and never mind that these thinkers might otherwise be strange bedfellows. An
important innovator in postcolonial theory, such as Gayatri Spivak, was unlikely to
talk purely like a feminist or a Marxist or a deconstructionist, but rather like a com-
bination of all three.
If all this has given literary studies a sense of common purpose that we have lacked
since the hegemony of the New Criticism, there are also potentially disturbing con-
sequences. One problem is that pidgins are defective languages that suppress the
more complex features of the different critical languages that compose them. Critical
pidgins adopt terms without necessarily adopting the full philosophy out of which the
terms emerge. ';Vhen we try to say something for ourselves without understanding
how each of those sets of ideas works, the result is often gobbledygook composed of
different and irreconcilable terminologies; One reads -"theory-damaged" discourse
that sounds plausible but really makes no sense, like the following sentences taken
from a recent book: "Bakhtin's reading of the process of self-realization is the oppo-
site of Lacan' s. If for Lacan there is an inevitable dismemberment of a total self, for
Bakhtin there is a continual movement toward a self that is never total but always
capable offurther realization." It would take a long time to explain everything that is
wrong with this formulation, though one might begin with the fact that in Lacan there
is no "total self' to be dismembered except as an Imaginary construct. But the main
problem lies not in such details but in the unexamined assumption that B akhtin' s use
of the word selfand Lacan's have enough in common to allow them to be juxtaposed
in this way.
The only way to avoid this kind of muddle is to understand Bakhtin and Lacan in
their own terms. Otherwise, we are at the mercy of hybrid practices with internal

PREFACE vii

contradictions, formed from some elements that aspire to be "scientific" and empir-
ical (such as structural linguistics) along with others that are deeply hostile to sci-
ence and positivism (such as Foucault's genealogies of discursive practices); some
elements that are humanistic and pluralistic (such as the work of Habermas), and
others (such as Derrida's) that are profoundly distrustful of the relics of the
Enlightenment. So while a synthesis of critical practices may have been desperately
needed to correct the excesses of the era of Grand Theory, an understanding of the-
ory is more desperately needed than ever to avoid the incoherence of an eclectic crit-
ical practice.

THE THIRD WAVE
In recent years these syncretic trends have continued to proliferate, as the study of lit-
erature has become just one area in a widening arena of textual criticism. Critical
tools for ·studying literature have been applied to other artistic cultural productions
like film and television, radio plays and comic books, painting and photography-
and vice versa. Analytic approaches to narrative originally used to study novels and
short stories have found application to medical case histories, or the narratives judges
create in writing legal decisions. Historical movements in architecture and home
furnishing - such as the eighteenth-century vogue in England and France for
chinoiserie - are today thought of not as capricious episodes of fashion but as part
of a larger cultural plenum shared with all the other fine and useful arts and deter-
mined by changes in trading relationships and other economic and social trends.
Cultural studies has in fact turned back upon itself in ecocriticism, which attempts to
understand how culture comes to define its opposite, nature, and to explore the chang-
ing relationship between civilization and the wild. Science studies, legal studies, busi-
ness studies: new fields like these attempt to interrogate the paradigms of knowledge
taught to and accepted by professionals in these areas. Most eclectic of all, perhaps,
is the field of global studies, which uses every resource of the social sciences and
humanities to analyze how the forces of power, money, and culture have shaped a
planet that began to become one world since the voyages of discovery some five hun-
dred years ago. The result of all this has been that, although institutional structures
within academe have remained more or less stable - most professors still teach and
most students still earn degrees within departments - my own research projects and
those of most of my doctoral students, colleagues, and friends have become ever
more interdisciplinary.
The other clear change of the last decade has been the demise of the traditional lit-
erary canon as a basis for the curriculum in humanities courses. The persistent attacks
on the traditional canon as a gentleman's club for dead white European males pro-
voked culture wars beginning in the 1980s, but those wars are over now. Research on
the history of literary evaluation revealed that, despite the long-term agreement on the
significance of Homer and the Bible, the canon of the vernacular literatures had
always been in flux. Most teachers understood that there was no way to teach any per-
manent list as "the best that has been known and thought in the world," that the best
we could do would be to teach different ways of reading whatever texts retained

viii PREFACE

cultural importance today. The emphasis on the contemporary and the postmodern
did not mean eliminating all the old favorites - indeed, Shakespeare and Jane
Austen have as many followers as they ever had - but the culture of the university
had approved so many new major writers, and so many new areas of study, that no
one could rationally feel guilty any more about what got left out of the selection taken
by undergraduate and graduate students. Our students, living in a postmodern culture
that insistently recycles the cultural icons of the past, thus needed to read Defoe's
Robinson Crusoe not only for its historical importance, but in order to understand
Coetzee's Foe and Tournier's Vendredi, or Dickens' Great Expectations in order to
understand the versions by Kathy Acker and Peter Carey.
With contemporary cultural value taking clear precedence over other versions of
merit, the cuniculum began to give greater attention to ethnic literatures, particularly
by writers of African American, Asian, and LatinofHispanic descent, and abroad to
the contemporary literature of Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean, where so much
of the most innovative poetry and fiction of the last decades has been written. With
this shift, postcolonial theory has become a major growth area. Originating in the pol-
itics of identity within nation-states carved out of European empires, postcolonial the-
ory has since been applied to American literature (based on the view that the United
States was formed by absorbing tenitories inhabited by other cultures in a process of
internal colonization). The theory behind contemporary and historical ethnic studies
has tended to borrow from postcolonial theory and its sources. But of course these
studies are not limited to the contemporary: they can even be read back onto biblical
texts, where the Israelites appear first as the c'onquering hegemons of Canaan, later as
a conquered people at risk of cultural absorption by the Eastern empires of Babylon
and Persia.
If most of the forces in the third wave of theory have been centrifugal-
exploding the canon of literature, and viewing literature against the countless other
arenas of life - at least one, cognitive psychology, seems to be seeking a new cen-
ter within, in the activities of the human mind. Philology could reveal the poem and
its patterns, and rhetoric could give us some inkling of how audiences reacted, but
until recently the key aesthetic moment was a mystery, a "black box" whose work-
ings were hidden to us. Experimental psychology, however, has begun to shine some
light on mind and brain, how literary tropes (like metaphor) are involved in all cog-
nition, how the aesthetic moment happens, and how literary texts engage and occa-
sionally test the limits of cognitive functioning.

YET ANOTHER CRITICAL TRADITION
It was against this understanding of our current moment in the history of literary and
cultural studies that I began this latest revision of The Critical Tradition. The chapter
on the Canon and the Culture Wars, which had begun to seem of historical interest,
has been replaced with a chapter on postmodernism engaging the various theories-
economic, semiotic, psychological- illuminating this literary and cultural move-
ment, and questioning whether postmodernism is here to stay and whether the
program of modemity begun during the Enlightenment has reached its full promise.

PREFACE ix

Postcolonial theory has been broken out from its previous situation as one of sev-
eral programs within cultural studies to a separate chapter. But since it shares with
contemporary African American, Latino, and Asian studies the issues of cultural
identity, nationality, liminality, and contact zones, I have incorporated all these into
a single coherent chapter.
The volume, as before, is organized in two parts. Part One, Classic Texts, pre-
sents a history of criticism through seventy-two selections by fifty major critics from
Plato through Susan Sontag. In this edition, new selections appear by Mary
Wollstonecraft; Thomas Love Peacock, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Selections by J. L.
Austin, whose ideas about speech acts and performativity have enlivened not only
formalist studies but also studies of gender and ethnicity, have also been included
among the classic texts. Some selections have been added to previous segments: A
portion of Phaedrus has been added to the work of Plato; the Marx section has been
expanded to include writings on alienation from the 1844 Manuscripts. Lovers of
Nietzsche will be glad that we have supplemented The Birth of Tragedy with selec-
tions on aesthetics from his late work, Twilight of the Idols, and with his pivotal
essay on language and culture, "On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense," Freud
has been expanded greatly, adding the passage on the Medusa's head that inspired
Helene Cixous, the literary essay on "The Uncanny," and key selections from The
Interpretation of Dreams.
Part Two contains 110 readings grouped into ten chapters on contemporary criti-
cal trends. Chapters carried over from previous editions have been refurbished to
include theorists we had previously neglected (Bertolt Brecht, Michel de Certeau,
Slavoj Zizek) and now also include some essays that previously had merely been
summarized in my introductory comments, such as Louis Althusser's analysis of
Ideological State Apparatuses. Three essays using cognitive psychology have been
incorporated into the existing chapter on reader-response theory. And, as mentioned
earlier, there are two new chapters, Postcolonialism and Ethnic Studies, and
Theorizing Postmodemism. Throughout, many more selections by women and per-
sons of color have been incorporated - more, in fact, than appear in other antholo-
gies of theory and criticism. We have also rethought the decision in the second edition
to eliminate applications of theory to specific literary texts, so that the new edition
includes full-scale applications of structuralism, deconstruction, reader-response,
feminism and queer theory, cultural studies, and so on.
The major new feature in the third edition is the inclusion of ShOlt selections show-
ing theorists in explicit dialogue with each other, sometimes as constructive critique
(like Aijaz Ahmad's commentary on Fredric Jameson or Houston Baker's sugges-
tions for Henry Louis Gates), sometimes in full attack mode (as with Frank
Lentricchia's assault on the New Historicism and Martha Nussbaum's snarky review
of Judith Butler). These dialogues were primarily intended to display literary aud cul-
tural theory as a theater of controversy, but they have also enabled us to include many
important thinkers that could not otherwise be accorded a full selection. And let me
mention in passing that these dialogues also appear in Part One, juxtaposing Leo
Tolstoy with Plato, Barbara Herrnstein Smith With David Hume, and Raymond
Williams with Percy Bysshe Shelley.

x PREFACE

Other changes were made in direct response to what some fifty users of the previ-
ous edition requested. The survey of readers wanted more Saussure, Barthes, Derrida,
and Lacan than we had previously offered, and we have hastened to oblige. We also
listened and abridged when you said you didn't teach in their entirety some of the
longer essays by Longinus and Dryden. We have corrected all the typos brought to
my attention over the life of the previous edition. And there were dozens of other
changes that the user of earlier editions will notice, including new essays by familiar
authors as well as new exemplars of familiar modes of theory. All in all, something
over half of the contents and editorial materials in the third edition of The Critical
Tradition are new and, we are confident, enormously improved.

"THE DULL DUTY OF AN EDITOR"
Because the critical tradition contains such varied ideas in such complex relation-
ships, extensive apparatus - what Alexander Pope disdained as "dull duty" - has
been provided to make the works collected here easier to assimilate. The Critical
Tradition begins with an introduction that explores the ways in which theorists have
tried to chart the terrain of criticism. The first half of this introduction describes the
ineluctable fourfold classifications of critical theories from M. H. Abrams's The
Mirror and the Lamp, evaluates the powers and limitations of the Abrams map, its
general biases and unspoken assumptions, and then discusses other quite different
ways of mapping critical tasks and methods. New to the introduction is a section that
focuses on the relation of theory to the sort of textual criticism and analysis students
will find in their research into academic journals, with some practical advice on how
to "unpack" the elaborate skein of theoretical assumptions that underlie and imbue
literary discourse in what we ironically call our "post-theoretical" age.
In Part One of The Critical Tradition, each reading is prefaced with an extensive
headnote that places the text within the context of the author's life and works,
explores the key issues of each reading and its relationship with other readings, and
occasionally analyzes troublesome twists in the argumentation. For the readings by
contemporary academic theorists and critics composing Part Two, the biographical
headnotes before each selection are necessarily briefer, but each of the ten chapters is
prefaced by a substantial introduction. These introductions, addressed to the serious
reader, cover the origins, the general approach, and the variations in theory and prac-
tice of each of the nine movements, and provide equivalent coverage for the issue
under debate. Individual readings are analyzed primarily to mark out their place
within larger critical trends. The introductions try to navigate between the Scylla of
commentary that expresses only the prejudices of the editor and the Charybdis of neu-
tralist mumbling that expresses nothing. The intent was to provide an even-handed
overview of each critical movement or issue showing both its power and its limita-
tions. Finally, following the headnotes to Part One and the introductions to Part Two,
selected bibliographies direct the interested reader to further works by and about the
authors and their critical approaches. The texts in both parts are annotated to save the
reader's time in tracking down allusions, to highlight the cross-references between
one text and another, and to fill in the argument where the text has been abridged.

PREFACE xi

Although Part Two sorts its selections into ten "schools" and "debates," it need
hardly be said that even centrally placed "members" of a "school" swear no alle-
giance to its doctrines; despite the "fallacies" and "heresies" of the New Critics,
there were no recorded excommunications. We need to bear in mind that some the-
orists bridge categories, as is becoming more and more usual these days. Pierre
Bourdieu, one of the theoretical lights of cultural studies, is a Marxist sociologist,
while Julia Kristeva, here represented as a feminist, has made major contributions to
psychoanalysis and semiotics. Michel Foucault, influential everywhere these days,
rightly appears in three chapters of the book, as a poststructuralist, as an influence
on the New Historicism, and as a gender theorist. Fredric Jameson, America's fore-
most theorist of Marxism, has also contributed to debates on postcolonialism and
postmodernism. Therefore, an additional table of contents that places theorists in
alternative categories has been provided for Part Two. The book concludes with an
index to proper names and major critical terms, which, together with the cross-
references in the annotations, should help the reader understand the shifting skeins
of influence upon which the critical tradition is built. "Let us now be told no more,"
as Samuel Johnson said with both weariness and pride, "of 'the dull duty of an
editor.' "

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Although the title page might suggest a solo performance, no book the size and com-
plexity of The Critical Tradition can be created alone. At every stage, from the ini-
tial impulse to produce the book to the final corrections in this revised edition, I have
depended on the assistance and collaboration of colleagues within academia and
publishing. At Bedford Books, first and foremost were Chuck Christensen and Joan
Feinberg, who believed in the project and made it happen. Steve Scipione developed
the first edition and worked out the myriad details that made it the teaching text it
became, and Kathy Retan masterminded the adventurous revision that reshaped
the book for the needs of the twenty-first century. The voluminous and candid dia-
logue between us (often grumpy on my side) gave me necessary perspective on my
flippant prejudices and deep convictions and helped me recognize the difference
between them. Aron Keesbury, Kathy's assistant, handled numerous details that
came to my attention only when he caught and corrected my own errors and inad-
vertencies. For both editions, Elizabeth Schaaf headed the production crew that
turned messy masses of manuscript into aesthetically pleasing objects, and Julie
Sullivan undertook the unenviable task for the revision of threading a mass of new
material with what was retained from the first edition, keeping continuity and con-
sistency in the project. Having done it myself for the first edition, I am in a better
position than most authors to appreciate the exhausting and intricate negotiations
heroically performed by Margaret Hyre in procuring permissions for the second edi-
tion. For the third edition, lowe thanks again to Steve Scipione for helping me to
imagine how the book might be improved as a pedagogical tool, and to Emily
Berleth, who shouldered the task of guiding an even larger and more daunting man-
uscript through the production process. Thanks also are due to Linda DeMasi, the

xii PREFACE

project manager, who struggled heroically with the logistical problems of a book
being edited in the United States but typeset in India: through three sets of corrected
page proofs she endured and ultimately prevailed. Jennifer Blanksteen deserves a
sentence, indeed a paragraph, to herself: She not only cleared permissions (a task
that can drive anyone crazy) but developed the book, conferring about the thousands
of decisions that had to be made, under pressure of deadlines, with unfailing intel-
ligence and energy, wit and good humor. She is one awesome lady, and I hope
her daughters and husband - from whom our Herculean task constantly distracted
her - continue to value her as she deserves. I am also indebted to Carrie Shanafelt,
my brilliant and charming research assistant for Spring 2005, who contributed
dozens of cogent and erudite headnotes, unacknowledged except here, that kept us
from falling off schedule.
I am also thankful to the literary critics, theorists, and teachers of literary theory
who, during the development of one or both editions, have provided helpful sugges-
tions and pointed comments on the choice of contents and editorial materials. They
include Beate Allert of Purdue University; Robert F. Barsky of Vanderbilt
University; Raymond L. Baubles Jr., of Western Connecticut State University;
Michael Beard of the University of North Dakota; Greg Bentley of Nfississippi State
University; Jill Benton of Pitzer College; Kathryn N. Benzel of the University of
Nebraska, Kearney; Glen Brewster of Westfield State College; Theron Britt of the
University of Memphis; Suzanne L. Bunkers of Mankato State University; William
E. Cain of Wellesley College; Wes Chapman oflllinois Wesleyan University; Joseph
J. Colavito of the University of Arizona; Glen Colburn of Morehead State University;
Michael Colson of Allan Hancock College; Frederick Crews of the University of
California, Berkeley; Ashley J. Cross of Manhattan College; Robert Denham of
Roanoke College; Victoria deZwaan of Trent University; Joseph Dupras of the
University of Alaska, Fairbanks; Bernard Duyfhuizen of the University of Wisconsin,
Eau Claire; Neil Easterbrook of Texas Christian University; Marilyn Edelstein of
Santa Clara University; Lee Erickson of Marshall University; Anne Fairbanks of
Hastings College; Susan Felch of Calvin College; Thomas Ferraro of Duke
Uni versity; Daniel Fineman of Occidental College; Jane Fisher of Canisius College;
Peter Fitz of the University of Baltimore; Elizabeth Flynn of Michigan Technological
University; Joseph Francavilla of Columbus State University; Dean Franco of Wake
Forest University; Stephen Goldsmith of the University of California, Berkeley;
Stephen Greenblatt of Harvard University; Marshall Gregory of Butler University;
Robin Grey of the University of Illinois, Chicago; Susan Gubar ofIndiana University
Bloomington; Nira Gupta-Casale of Kean University; David Halliburton of Stanford
University; Michael Hancher of the University of Minnesota; James Hans of Wake
Forest University; Barbara Leah Harmon of Wellesley College; Lee Harrod of The
College of New Jersey; Cary Henson of the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh; Frank
Hoffman of Susquehanna University; Norman N. Holland of the University of
Florida; John R. Holmes of the Franciscan University of Steubenville; Harriet Hustis
of The College of New Jersey; Earl Ingersoll of the State University of New York,
Brockport; Michael C. Jordan of the University of St. Thomas; Linda Karell of
Montana State University, Bozeman; Meegan Kennedy of Harvard University;

PREFACE xiii

William Kenney of Manhattan College; Mark Koch of St. Mary's College; Catherine
Gunther Kodat of Hamilton College; Augustus M. Kolich of St. Xavier University;
Janet Sanders Land of Gardner-Webb University; Page R. Laws of Norfolk State
University; L B. Lebim of Lock Haven University; Pericles Lewis of Yale
University; Mary Libertin of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania; Lawrence
Lipking of Northwestern University; Jun Liu of California State University, Los
Angeles; Zhang Longxi of the University of California, Riverside; Carol Schaechterle
Loranger of Wright State University; Paul Lukacs of Loyola College in Maryland;
Kathleen Lundeen of Western Washington University; Steven Mailloux of the
University of California, Irvine; Bruce Martin of Drake University; Felix Martinez-
Bonati of Columbia University; Bill McCarron of East Texas State University; Janet
McNew of Illinois Wesleyan University; Robert McRuer of George Washington
University; Michael Meyer of the University of Connecticut, Storrs; Nancy K. Miller
of the Graduate Center, City University of New York; Christian Moraru of the
University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Eileen Morgan of the State University of
New York, Oneonta; Bradford Mudge of the University of Colorado, Denver;
Michael Murrin of the University of Chicago; James W. Newcomb of Memphis State
University; Eric W. Nye of the University of Wyoming; Charles O'Neill of St.
Thomas Aquinas College; Edward 0' Shea of the State University of New York,
Oswego; Windy C. Petrie of Colorado Christian University; Jan Plug of the
University of Western Ontario; Mary Poovey of New York University; Ronald
Primeau of Central Michigan University; Catherine Rainwater of St. Edward's
University; Luz Elena Ramirez of California State University, San Bernardino;
Herman Rapaport of Wayne State University; James A. W. Rembert of The Citadel;
Michael Karl Ritchie of Arkansas Tech University; Lance Rivers of Lake Superior
State University; Thomas M. Rivers of the University of Southern Indiana; John G.
Roberts of the University of Rochester; Doug Robinson of the University of
Mississippi; Lisa Schnell of the University of Vermont, Burlington; Michael Sexson
of Montana State University; William Sheidley of the University of Southern
Colorado; Faiza Shereen of the University of Dayton; Elaine Showalter of Princeton
University; Anne B. Simpson of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona;
Barbara Herrnstein Smith of Duke University; Mark Trevor Smith of Southwest
lVlissouri State University; Jack Solomon of California State University, Northridge;
James Sosnoski of Miami University; Patricia Meyer Spacks of the University of
Virginia; Henry Staten of the University of Washington; Gary Lee Stonum of Case
Western Reserve University; David Suchoff of Colby College; Susan Suleiman of
Harvard University; James Sullivan of California State University at Los Angeles;
Leon Surette of the University of Western Ontario; John Sykes of Wingate College;
Brook Thomas of the University of California, Irvine; Calvin Thomas of Georgia
State University; Jane Tompkins of Duke University; Steven Venturino of Loyola
University; David Wagenknecht of Boston University; Jim Warren of Washington and
Lee University; Michelle Warren of the University of Miami; Jack W. Weaver of
Winthrop University; Keith Welsh of Webster University; David Willbern of the State
University of New York, Buffalo; Dolora Chapelle Wojciehowski of the University of
Texas, Austin; Steven J. Zani of Lamar University; and Clarisse Zirnra of Southern

xiv PREFACE

TIlinois University, Carbondale. While all these scholars and teachers have influenced
the book's fonn and content, I would like to single out for particular mention James
Phelan of Ohio State University, who read the entire manuscript of the first edition,
whose perceptive commentary helped me to clarify and rethink my entrenched opin-
ions, and whose unfailing tact and generosity of spirit made his suggestions easy to
take.
In addition to these participants in fonnal reviewing procedures, the table of con-
tents and sections of the manuscript were read by friends whose fonnal or casual
suggestions I have shamelessly incorporated. These include Don Bialostosky of
Pennsylvania State University; Brian Connan of the University of Toronto (who told
me all about Aphra); Bob Folkenflik of the University of California, Irvine; Susan
K. Harris and William J. Harris of the University of Kansas; Donald McQuade of
the University of California, Berkeley; Laura Wadenpfuhl of New Jersey City
University (who never spared me); and my colleagues at Queens College and/or the
Graduate Center of the City University of New York: Barbara Bowen (who talked
about gender and cultural studies with me), Nancy Comley (who has read every-
thing), Tom Hayes (who helped me with Lacan and Zizek), Carrie Hintz, David
Kazanjian (who taught me how to teach Spivak), Bill Kelly, Steve Kruger (who put
me straight about queer theory), Rich McCoy, Charles Molesworth, Tony O'Brien,
Blanford Parker, Michael Sargent (who explained the querelle), Barbara Shollar,
Chris Suggs, Joe Wittreich, and Susan Zimmennan. My research for the third edi-
tion was carried out at the British Library, the Mina Rees Library at the CUNY
Graduate Center, the New York Public Library, the Rosenthal Library of Queens
College, and, hey, over the Internet. The index was produced and compiled on my
own little Dell computer, and you don't want to know.
In closing, I recall those who taught me literary theory at the University of
Chicago, including Wayne Booth, Nonnan Mclean, and Elder Olson, in whose crit-
icism courses I sat with varying degrees of comprehension. At times I hear also the
ghostly voices ofR. S. Crane and Richard McKeon, and of Shelly Sacks, who taught
me the uses of theory. From the thousands of students in the undergraduate and grad-
uate literary criticism courses I have taught at Queens College and the CUNY
Graduate Center over the last twenty-five years, I have learned what was clear and
what opaque about the theoretical texts we studied together. I have tried to put some
of that knowledge to work in this book, but I plan to continue learning from them.
And finally, I dedicate this third edition of The Critical Tradition to Gabriel
Richter, the boy I love, who once thought all Western philosophy but a footnote to
Play-Doh, and is now reading cognitive theory and psychology at McGill. Eheu
fugaces labuntur anni ...

PREFACE xv

Contents

PREFACE V

INTRODUCTION I

Part One
CLASSIC TEXTS IN LITERARY CRITICISM 23

PLATO 25
Republic, Book X 30
Ion 38
From Phaedrus 46
.:. DIALOGUE WITH PLATO 50
Leo Tolstoy: From What Is Art? 52

ARISTOTLE 55
From Poetics 59
HORACE 82
The Art of Poetry 84

LONGINUS 95
From On the Sublime 97

PLOTINUS 109
On the Intellectual Beauty I I I

DANTE ALlGHIERI 120
From Letter to Can Grande della Scala 121

CONTENTS xvii

CHRISTINE DE PISAN 124
From La Querelle de la Rose 126

SIR PHILIP SIDNEY 132
An Apology for Poetry 135

JOHN DRYDEN 160
FromAn Essay of Dramatic Poesy 163

APHRA BEHN 189
An Epistle to the Reader from The Dutch Lover 192
Preface to The Lucky Chance 195

ALEXANDER POPE 198
An Essay on Criticism 199

SAMUEL JOHNSON 210
The Rambler, NO.4 212
Rasselas, Chapter IO 215
From Preface to Shakespeare 216

DAVID HUME 231
OftlIe Standard of Taste 234
.:. DIALOGUE WITH DAVID HUME 245
Barbara Herrnstein Smith: From Contingencies of Value 245

IMMANUEL KANT 247
From Critique of Judgment 251

MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT 275
From A Vindication oftlIe Rights of Woman 277

GERMAINE DE STAEL 285
From Essay on Fictions 287
On Women Writers 293

FRIEDRICH VON SCHILLER 298
From On Nai've and Sentimental Poetry 300

xviii CONTENTS

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 304
Preface to Lyrical Ballads 306

SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE 319
Shakespeare's Judgment Equal to His Genius 323
From Biographia Literaria 325

JOHN KEATS 330
From a Letter to Benjamin Bailey 331
From a Letter to George and Thomas Keats 333

THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK 334
The Four Ages of Poetry 335

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY 344
A Defence of Poetry 346
.:. DIALOGUE WITH PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY 364
Raymond Williams: The Romantic Artist from Culture and Society 1780-1950 364

GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL 369
Introduction to the Philosophy of Art 373

RALPH WALDO EMERSON 384
The Poet 385

KARL MARX 397
Tlie Alienation of Labor from Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of
1844 400
Consciousness Derived from Material Conditions from The German
Ideology 406
On Greek Art in Its Time from A Contribution to the Critique of Political
Economy 410

MATTHEW ARNOLD 412
The Function of Criticism at the Present Time 415
From The Study of Poetry 429

CONTENTS xix

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 435
From The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music 439
On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense 452
From Twilight of the Idols 459

HENRY JAMES 462
The Art of Fiction 464

OSCAR WILDE 476
The Decay of Lying 478

SIGMUND FREUD 497
The Dream-Work from The Interpretation of Dreams 500
[Creative Writers and Daydreaming] 509
The "Uncanny" 514
Medusa's Head 533

T. S. ELIOT 534
Tradition and the Individual Talent 537

CARL GUSTAV JUNG 542
On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry 544
The Principal Archetypes 554

W. E. B. Du BOIS 565
[On Double Consciousness] from The Souls of Black Folk 567
Criteria of Negro Art 569

MIKHAIL BAKHTIN 575
The Topic of the Speaking Person from Discourse in the Novel 578
Heteroglossia in the Novel from Discourse in the Novel 588
From Problems in Dostoevsky's Poetics 594

VIRGINIA WOOLF 596
[Shakespeare's Sister] from A Room of One 's Own 599
[Austen - Bronte - Eliot] from A Room of One's Own 602
[The Androgynous Vision] from A Room of One's Own 607

xx CONTENTS

:MARTIN HEIDEGGER 6Il
Holderlin and the Essence of Poetry 614

EDMUND WILSON 622
From Dickens: The Two Scrooges 624

KENNETH BURKE 633
Symbolic Action in a Poem by Keats 636
Literature as Equipmentfor Living 645

F. R. LEA VIS 650
From The Great Tradition 652

JEAN-PAUL SARTRE 659
Why Write? 662

SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR 673
ivJyths: Of Women in Five Authors 676

J. L. AUSTIN 679
[Constatives and Pelfo17nativesJ from How to Do Things 1Vith Words 681
[Speech Acts: Locutionary, Illocutionary, PerlocutionaryJ from How to Do Things with
Words 685

NORTHROP FRYE 691
The Archetypes of Literature 693

ERICH AUERBACH 70Z

Odysseus'Scar 704

HANS-GEORG GADAMER 718
The Elevation of the Historicality of Understanding to the Status of He17neneuticai
Principle 721

SUSAN SONTAG 738
Against Interpretation 740

CONTENTS xxi

Part Two

CONTEMPORARY TRENDS IN LITERARY
CRITICISM 747

1. FORlIIALISMS: RUSSIAN FORMALISM, NEW CRITICISM,
NEO-ARISTOTELIANISM _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 749

I. A. RICHARDS 763
From Principles of Literal)' Criticism 764

VICTOR SHKLOVSKY 774
Art as Technique 775

VLADIMIR PROPP 785
[Fail), Tale Transfo17nations] 785

CLEANTH BROOKS 797
From My Credo: Formalist Criticism 798
Irony as a Principle of Structure 799
.:. DIALOGUE WITH CLEANTH BROOKS 807
R. S. Crane: From The Critical Monism of Cleanth Brooks 807

W. K. WIMSATT AND MONROE C. BEARDSLEY 810
The Intentional FaUacy 8I I

2. STRUCTURALISM AND DECONSTRUCTION _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ 81 9

FERDINAND DE SAUSSURE 841
Nature of the Linguistic Sign 842
[BfnCll)' Oppositions] 845

ROMAN JAKOBSON 852
From Linguistics and Poetics 852

CLAUDE LEVI-STRAUSS 859
The Structural Study of Myth 860

xxii CONTENTS

ROLAND BARTHES 868
Striptease 869
The Structuralist Activity 871
The Death of the Author 874
From Work to Text 878

PAUL DE MAN 882
Semiology and Rhetoric 882
.:. DIALOGUE WITH PAUL DE MAN 893
Lawrence Lipking: The Practice of Theory 894

MICHEL FOUCAULT 904
What Is an Author? 904

JACQUES DERRIDA 914
Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences 915
The Father of Logos from Plato's Phannacy 926
Differance 932

UMBERTO Eco 950
The Myth of Superman 950

3. READER-REsPONSE THEORY _______________________________________

HANS ROBERT JAUSS 981
[The Three Horizons of Reading} from Toward an Aesthetics of Reception 982

WAYNE C. BOOTH 989
Control of Distance in Jane Austen's Emma 989

WOLFGANG ISER 1001
The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach 1002

NORMAN N. HOLLAND 1014
The Question: Who Reads What How? 1015

STANLEY FISH 1022
How to Recognize a Poem When You See One 1023

CONTENTS xxiii

.:. DIALOGUE WITH STANLEY FISH 1031
J ames Phelan: From Data, Danda, and Disagreement 1031

JUDITH FETTERLEY 1035
IntrodLlction to The Resisting Reader 1035

PETER RABINOWITZ 1042
From Before Reading 1043

ELAINE SCARRY 1057
On Vivacity: The Difference between Daydreaming and Imagining-Under-Authorial-
Instruction 1058

MARK TURNER 1076
Poetl)': Metaphor and the Conceptual Context of Invention 1077

LISA ZUNSHlNE 1089
TheOl)' of j\lfind and Experimental Representations of Fictional
Consciousness 1089

4. PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY AND CRITICISM u06

JACQUES LACAN U22
The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Functioll of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic
Experience 1123
The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud 1129
The Meaning of the Phallus 1149

HAROLD BLOOM U55
A Meditation upon Priority 1156

PETER BROOKS U61
Freud's Masterplot 1161

LAURA MULVEY U72
Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema 1172

SLA VOJ ZIZEK u80
Courtly Love, or, Woman as Thing 1181

xxiv CONTENTS

5 ..MARXIST CRITICISM _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

GEORG LUKACS 1217
The Ideology of Modemism 1218

WALTER BENJAMIN 1232
The l1'ork of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction 1233

BERTOLT BRECHT 1249
The Popular and the Realistic 1250

MAX HORKHEIMER AND THEODOR W. ADORNO 1254
From The Culture Industl)l; Enlightenment as Mass Deception 1255

LOUIS ALTHUSSER 1263
From Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses 1264

RAYMOND WILLIAMS 1272
From lvIaJ:;;;ism and Literature 1272

FREDRIC JAMESON 1290
From The Political Unconscious 1291

TERRY EAGLETON 1307
Categories for a lvfaterialist Criticism 1308

6. NEW HISTORICISM AND CULTURAL STUDIES _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ 13 2 0

MICHEL DE CERTEAU 1342
Walking in the City 1343

lVI:rCHEL FOUCAULT 1357
Las Meninas 1357

CLIFFORD GEERTZ 1366
Thick Description; Toward an Intelpretive Theol)1 of Culture 1367

CONTENTS xxv

HAYDEN WHITE 1383
The Historical Text as Literal), Artifact 1384

PIERRE BOURDIEU 1398
From Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste 1398

STUART HALL 1404
Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms 1404

NANCY ARMSTRONG 1418
Some Call It Fiction: On the Politics of Domesticity 1419

LAWRENCE BUELL 1432
The Ecocritical Insurgency 1433

STEPHEN GREENBLATT 1442
Introduction to The Power of Fonlls in the English Renaissance 1443
King Lear and Harsnett's "Devil-Fiction" 1445
.:. DIALOGUE WITH STEPHEN GREENBLATT 1448
Frank Lentricchia Ir.: From Ariel and the Police 1448

MEAGHAN MORRIS 1452
Things to Do with Shopping Centres 1452

JOHN GUILLORY 1471
From Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Fonnation 1472

LAURA KIPNIS 1484
(Male) Desire and (Female) Disgust: Reading Hustler 1485

7. FEMINIST LITERARY CRITICISM _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1502

NINA BAYM 1519
Melodramas of Beset Jvlanhood 1520

SANDRA M. GILBERT AND SUSAN GUBAR 1531
From Infection in the Sentence: The Woman Writer and the Arz;-dety of Authorship 1532

xxvi CONTENTS

.:. DIALOGUE WITH SANDRA M. GILBERT AND SUSAN GUBAR 1545
Toril Moi: From Sexual/Textual Politics 1545

ANNETTE KOLODNY 1550
Dancing through the ldinefield: Some Observations on the Them)', Practice, and Politics of
a Feminist Literary Criticism 1550

JULIA KRISTEVA 1563
Women's Time 1563

JONATHAN CULLER 1579
Reading as a Woman 1579
.~. DIALOGUE BETWEEN ELAINE SHOWALTER AND TERRY EAGLETON 1591
Elaine Showalter: From Critical Cross-Dressing: iVlale 'Feminists and the Woman
of the Year 1592
Terry Eagleton: A Response to Elaine Showalter 1597
Elaine Showalter: In Reply 1599

BARBARA SMITH 1600
Toward a Black Feminist Criticism 1600

8. GENDER STUDIES AND QUEER THEORY _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _---'-_ 16rr

MICHEL FOUCAULT 1627
From The Histol), of Sexuality 1627

MONIQUE WITTIG 1637
One Is Not Born a H'oman' r637

HELENE CIXOUS 1643
The Laugh of the Medusa 1643

GUY HOCQUENGHEM 1656
From Homosexual Desire 1656

GAYLE RUBIN 1663
From The Traffic in Women: Notes on the "Political Economy" of Sex 1664

CONTENTS xxvii

EVE KOSOFSKY SEDGWICK I683
From Between Men 1684
From Epistemology of the Closet 1687

STEVEN KRUGER I69I
Claiming the Pardoner: Toward a Gay Reading of Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale 1692

JUDITH BUTLER I707
Imitation and Gender Insubordination 1707
.:. DIALOGUE WITH JUDITH BUTLER I7I9
Martha Nussbaum: From The Professor of Parody 1719

LAUREN BERLANT AND MICHAEL WARNER I72I
Sex ill Public 1722

JUDITH HALBERSTAM I734
From the Introduction to Female Masculinity 1735

9. POSTCOLONIALISM AND ETHNIC STUDIES I753

GILLES DELEUZE AND FELIX GUATTARI I777
What Is a Minor Literature? 1777

CHINUA ACHEBE 1783
An Image of Africa 1783

TONI MORRISON 1791
From Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination 1791

EDWARD W. SAID 1801
From the Introduction to Orientalism 1801

BENEDICT ANDERSON 1814
The Origins of National Consciousness 1815

NGUGI WA THIONG'O 1820
Europhonism, Universities, and the Magic Fountain: The Future of African Literature
and Scholarship 1821

xxviii CONTENTS

.:. DIALOGUE BETWEEN FREDRIC JAMESON AND AlJAZ AHMAD 1829
Fredric Jameson: From Third- World Literature in the Era of Multinational
Capitalism 1830
Aijaz Ahmad: From Jameson's Rhetoric of Othemess and
the "National Allegory" 1831
Fredric Jameson: A Brief Response 1834

GAYATRI SPIVAK 1836
Three Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism 1837

GLORIA ANZALDUA 1850
La conciencia de la mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness 1850

BARBARA CHRISTIAN 1858
The Racefor Theory 1859
.:. DIALOGUE WITH BARBARA CHRISTIAN 1866
Michael Awkward: From Appropriative Gestures: Theory and Afro-American Literary
Criticism 1867
Deborah E. McDowell: From'Recycling: Race, Gender, and the Practice of
Theory 1870

HOMI K. BHABHA 1875
Signs Takenfor Wonders: Questions of Ambivalence and Authority under a Tree Outside
Delhi, May 1817 1875

HENRY LOUIS GATES JR. 1890
Writing, "Race," and the Dif.ference It Makes 1891
.:. DIALOGUE BETWEEN HENRY LOUIS GATES JR. AND HOUSTON A. BAKER JR. 1903
Henry Louis Gates Jr.: From Preface to Blackness: Text and Pretext 1904
Houston A. Baker Jr.: From Blues, Ideology, and Afro-American Literature 1906

REy CHOW 1909
The Interruption of Referentiality: Poststructuralism and the Conundrum of Critical
Multiculturalism 1910

10. THEORIZING POSTMODERNISM
__________________________________ 9
1 20

JEAN-FRANC;OIS LYOTARD 1933
Defining the Postmodem 1933

CONTENTS xxix

JEAN BAUDRILLARD 1935
From The Precession of Simulacra 1936

JURGEN IIABERMAS 1946
Modernity versus Postmodemity 1947

FREDRIC JAMESON 1955
Postmodernism and Consumer Society 1956

DONNA HARAWAY 1966
A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Femiitism in the Late Twentieth
Century 1967

LINDA HUTCHEON 1991
Theorizing the Postmodem: Toward a Poetics 1992

BELL HOOKS 2008
Postmodern Blackness 2009

CORNEL WEST 2014
Postmodemism and Black America 2014

ALTERNATIVE CONTENTS 2019

INDEX 2035

XXX CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

Evel)'body . .. would be willing to admit, as a general proposition, that the critical faculty is
lower than the inventive. But is it true' that criticism is really, in itself, a banefit! and injurious
employment ?
- MATTHEW ARNOLD, The Function of Criticism at the Present Time (r864)

What If criticism is a science as well as an art?
- NORTHROP FRYE, The Function of Criticism at the Present Time (r949)

Criticism is not literature, and the pleasure of criticism is not the pleasure of literature. ...
But experience suggests that the Mo pleasur~s go together, and the pleasure of criticism
makes literature and its pleasure the more readily accessible..
- LIONEL TRILLING, preface to Literary Criticism: An Introductory Reader (1970)

The . .. general and well publicized 'curricular crisis of the "humanities" suggests that the
ambivalence of theory 1Vith respect to the literal), syllabus is itself related to long-telm develop-
ments in the educatiolial institution. For the "canon oftheOl}'" illfroduces into the illstitutional
context of literOl), pedagogy . .. a syllabus whose symptomatic jUnctioll is to signify precisely
methodological Hrig01~ rather than the taste or discrimination which for so long detennined
II-

the ideological protocols of literary cdticism.
-,JOHN GUILLORY,Cultural Capital (1993)

In the Socratic dialogues of the early fourth century B.C.E., Plato raised skepti-
cal questions about the value of art and literature that have provoked responses from
artists and philosophers from Aristotle's day to our own. In striving to rescue poetry
from the exile to which Socrates had condemned it, the defenders of literature have
had to recast the questions Plato answered with such assurance. We are still asking
the same questions today: What is the nature of the work of art? What are its sources
in the artist, in the literary scene, in the society for which it is produced? What are
its properties, uses, powers, and ·value? How is the nature of literature circumscribed
by the properties of language itself, by the gender of the writer or the reader, by the
intrinsic limitations of the human mind? What are literature's effects on individuals

INTRODUCTION I

and on communities? Questions like these remain at the heart of the critical tradi-
tion. They have inspired an ongoing conversation that is continually modified by
new voices from different cultural matrices, which join in with other critical lan-
guages, other norms, other views of the world. The proliferation in the past three
decades of new critical theories and practices is a sign that the inquiring and specu-
lative spirit of that critical tradition is thriving as never before. But the very abun-
dance of voices and vocabularies can be intimidating to the newcomer seeking to
enter the conversation.
The discussion that follows is intended as a guide to the two key problems of the-
oretical discourse: synthesis and analysis. The first is aimed at understanding the
relationships of the great variety of critical theories to each other, drawing maps of
the critical terrain, elucidating the various ways our ideas about the nature of litera-
ture and the tasks of criticism have been organized. Learning this terrain is the surest
way to take one's own bearings and find one's own voice. The second is aimed at
understanding how to take critical discourse apart, how to unpack the theoretical
assumptions that lie underneath the surface - which, as we shall see, is something
one can do best when already provided with a map.

MAPPING CRITICAL THEORIES
M. H. Abrams and the Traditional Classification
In his influential treatise on romantic views of art, The Mirror and the Lamp (1953),
the literary historian M. H. Abrams distinguished among four different types of
literary theories, and the map he drew of these distinctions is still valuable as a place
to start thinking about the history of criticism.
Historically, the first type, the mimetic theories of classical antiquity, focused on
the relationship between the outside world and the work of art. These theories
posited that poetry could best be understood as an imitation, a representation, a copy
of the physical world.
The second type, the rhetorical, emphasized the relationship between the work of
art and its audience - either how the literary work should be formed to please and
instruct its audience, or what that audience should be like in order to appreciate lit-
erature correctly. These theories held that to attain its proper effect, the poem must
be shaped by both the poet's innate talent and the rules of art. Such theories, most
popular during the later classical period, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance,
began to decline toward the end of the eighteenth century.
The third type, which Abrams called expressive, stressed the relationship between
the work of art and the artist, particularly the special faculties of mind and soul that
the artist brings to the act of creation. These theories proliferated during the late
eighteenth and most of the nineteenth centuries.!

1Although it is possible to specify when mimetic, rhetOlical, and expressive theories flourished, it must
be understood that all three continue to be influential. Even when theory is not progressing along certain
lines, the old questions are asked of new texts. Thus the, movie reviewer who wonders whether Braveheart
accurately depicts battle conditions in medieval Scotland is as much a nUmetic critic as Aristotle.

2 INTRODUCTION

The fourth type, which developed around the beginning of the twentieth century,
played down the connections of the work of art with the exterior world, the audience,
and the artist. These formal theories stressed the purely aesthetic relationship
between the parts of a work of literature, analyzing its "themes" or "motifs" as if a
literary text were a form of classical music or an abstract painting, and strove for a
quasi-scientific objectivity. Such theories probably prevail today, since thousands of
teachers and scholars who might deny allegiance to any theory actually adhere to
formalist principles. In their explicit claims to possessing the highest truth about lit-
erature, however, formal theories now face a great deal of competition.
One version of the Abrams map might look like Figure 1. The world of criticism is
not as clear or as neat as this diagram suggests. Abrams himself points out that a label
such as "mimetic" or "expressive" indicates only the primary orientation of a theory:
"Any reasonable theory takes account of all four elements." A mimetic theorist (such
as Aristotle) might have much to say about how works of art affect an audience or
about the artist, but his views often derive directly from his mimetic principles. When
Aristotle suggests in Poetics, Chapter 4, for example, that poets of noble character took
up the art of tragedy and those of baser character created comedy, his rationale is that
nobler poets are better able to understand and then to imitate in poetic language the
noble characters of tragedy. In this sense, Aristotle's mimetic orientation comes
through even when he takes up the problem of poetic creativity.
Abrams's notion of critical orientation helps us distinguish the disparate ratio-
nales behind the same piece of conventional wisdom. A mimetic critic, for instance,
might enjoin an aspiring poet to observe human nature well, the more accurately to
imitate human actions in his poetry. A rhetorical critic might advise the poet in the
very same words, but in order to prompt the poet to discover what pleases the vari-
ous classes and age groups that comprise his audience. As the notes to Part One of

Figure I

WORLn

Mimetic theories ----~

Formal theories

Expressive theories --'---~ ' \ - - - - - Rhetorical theories

AUTHOR AUDIENCE

INTRODUCTION 3

this collection show, the various dicta of Plato and Aristotle, shorn of their mimetic
logic, reappear in the works of rhetorical, expressive, and objective critics to bolster
markedly different arguments.
Each ofthese four orientations covers a great deal of ground, and the fact that two
critics are both mimetic in orientation does not guarautee that they agree. Quite the
contrary: Whereas critics with different principles merely tend to miss each other's
points, those who share a theoretical orientation are likely to clash in an interesting
and violent way. A brief consideration of Plato (p. 25), Adstotle (p. 55), and Plotinus
(p. 109), three of the more influential mimetic critics, can reveal how some of these
disagreements take shape.

Differences within Theoretical Orientations
Plato's view of art derives from a complicated metaphysics and a relatively simple
notion of imitation. Imitation, for Plato, is the creation of an eidolon. The artist
makes an "image" - a degraded copy - of the external world, which is analogous
to the image formed in a mirror (it lasts longer than a mirror image, but, not being
eternal, the difference is not significant). Plato's worldview is idealist, which means
that he takes the material world, the world of the senses, to be a copy of an eternal
world of Ideas. Works of art, in their turn, are copies of material things, and hence
copies of copies. For Plato, art is therefore an activity inferior to artisanship (the
making of useful objects), first, because art copies rather than creates a material
object, and second, because an artist needs only to know the appearances of things,
not their real nature. Plato also worried that imitation might weaken the individual
.spirit by arousing passion and corrupt the body politic through its distance from the
truth.
Six centuries later, the Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus developed a mimetic
theory of art that generally conformed with that of Plato but drew vastly different
conclusions about the value of·art. In the idealism of Plotinus, although imitation is
still basically copying, the artist imitates not the material world but the Ideas them-
selves. A sculptor carving a statue of Zeus makes not a marble copy of a flesh-and-
blood man but a representation of what Power and Majesty might be like if those
concepts could become visible. The Idea of Beauty resides within the artist, shaping
his conceptions as it shapes all beauty in nature. For Plotinus, the artist is superior
to the artisan because Beauty, the Idea informing the artist's craft, is higher than
Utility, which informs that of the artisan. Whereas Plotinus accepted Plato's meta-
physics and his notion of imitation, Plato's pupil Adstotle fundamentally disagreed
with both. A materialist who did not believe in an etemal world of Ideas, Aristotle saw
everything as subject to process, growth, and change. Poets, by imitating the process
by which one state of affairs metamorphoses into another, capture in language the gen-
eral principles of human action, which are among the most important things one can
know. Nor is imitation merely copying: The poet, in imitating human action, purifies
it of the dross of the accidental and the incidental, unifies it into a plot, beautifies it with
expressive language, and molds it into a concrete whole with the capacity to command
the emotions. Those feelings, aroused and guided by a complex imitation, can cleanse

4 INTRODUCTION

rather than weaken the individual, and can serve the state rather than harm it, by drain-
ing off passions and frustrations that might lead to political instability.
Just as mimetic thinkers could agree that art was primarily a matter of imitation
but differ about what the world was like, what aspect of that world the .artists imi-
tated, and what sort of process imitation actually was, so rhetorical theorists also
had their differences about the ends and means of artistic production. The main
question for them was how to construct a work of art so that it would affect an
audience properly. Horace (p. 82), one of the earliest and most influential of the
rhetorical theorists, thought that poems should "either delight, or instruct, or if pos-
sible accomplish both ends at once," but later critics subtly redrew his .specifica-
tions. For moralists like Dante (p. 120) or Samuel Johnson (p. 210), the more
significant purpose was instruction, delight being merely a means to that didactic
end. Sir Philip Sidney (p. 132) and John Dryden (p. 160) gave delight a more equal
role. Although many theorists took "delight" and "instruction" as general and indi-
visible qualities to be sought in.poetry, others elaborately classified the arts accord-
ing to the varieties of pleasure and benefit that should reside in each.
And for which audience should the poet write? Horace's audience is apparently
limited to the upper classes - the senatores and equites of the early Roman Empire;
what the middle-class sellers of beans care about is not the concern of the aristocratic
writer. Sidney assumes a universal contemporary audience, but there too the uni-
verse may be implicitly restricted to gentlemen - indeed, perhaps even English
gentlemen, whom Sidney thinks provincial relative to those in Italy, even though
they may be models of cultivation relative to those of Ireland and Scotland.
Dryden's debaters inAn Essay of Dramatic Poesy posit national audiences with spe_
cific national characteristics, not a strange move for a piece written during the
Restoration, when King Charles and his court had arrived from a long exile in
France. And in Samuel Johnson's analysis, Shakespeare's greatness inheres in his
ability to affect people of other countries and much later eras. In the eighteenth cen-
tury, when the question of taste had become an important one in literary theory,
Horace's problem, the adaptation of work to audience, had, in effect, been inverted.
For critics like David Hume (p. 231), the most important issue was not how poems
should be shaped to please audiences but why some members of the audience were
better adapted to appreciate the arts than others. (This is an issue that is not likely to
come up until the audience for art has become split between different classes that
have been educated in different ways.)
In similar fashion, expressive theorists concurred that art manifested the artist's
sensibility even as they disputed the source of that sensibility. Many nineteenth-
century Romantics agreed that the key faculty was the imagination - although they
differed sharply on how that faculty worked. Later expressive theorists found the
source of poetry in the artist's unconscious mind. For one group ofpsychological.crit-
ics, the followers of Sigmund Freud (p. 497), a poem, like a dream, was the imagined
fulfillment of an individual artist's unconscious wish; for another group, the followers
of Carl Gustav J ung (p. 542), all art evinced archetypal imagery common to
the entire human race. For ctitics like Northrop Frye (p. 691), the artist expresses
the "dream of mankind," which is contained not in the collective unconscious but in

INTRODUCTION 5

a literary tradition that speaks through us all. For sociohistorical critics, followers of
Karl Marx (p. 397) or Hippolyte Taine, artists inadvertently expressed the ideologies
of their times, conveying their understanding of the world in ways determined by their
position within the class struggle and their moment in history.
In the twentieth century, formalists have differed about both what sort of form
should be sought and where it could be found. The New Critics discovered form in
a dialectical thrust and counterthrust of themes; neo-Aristotelians in a complex link-
age of plot, language, technique, and purpose; and structuralists and semioticians in
repeated patterns of language. Just as in the eighteenth century, there is a split
between those critics investigating the various principles of form within literature
and those exploring the reader's capacity to discover form or to supply it when it is
not to be found. These variations and developments within major critical orienta-
tions seem to embody the behavior of biological organisms that proliferate to fill up
a new ecological niche. Once a mode like expressive criticism had become estab-
lished, it was almost inevitable that every aspect of the poet's psyche, conscious and
unconscious, would be held up to scrutiny as a source of the creative spirit. A more
difficult question is why changes in critical orientation occur - why mimetic criti-
cism gave way to rhetorical or rhetorical to expressive.
Such epochs seem to be analogous to scientific revolutions, described by Thomas
Kuhn in The Stnlcture of Scientific Revolutions (1962). Over one or two generations,
the previous "paradigm," a vast structure of assumptions, principles, and methods,
gives way and is replaced by another for a variety of reasons - new facts that need
explaining, new theories that cannot be reconciled with the present paradigm, a sci-
entific community that has lost intellectual cohesion over its basic principles. The
causes of such "revolutions" in critical tradition, where Kuhn's model is less exact,
might include the creation of new literary works and styles; shifts in the canon (the
informal list of the literary works that are held to be significant); developments in
the other arts, in philosophy, and in other humanistic disciplines; and changes in pol-
itics and society.

Changes in Theoretical Paradigms
The first critical revolution was when Plato and his doctrine of imitation displaced the
Sophists, who saw literature as essentially a function oflanguage. Because few writings
of the Sophists have survived, too little is known about that revolution to hazard any
explanation of Plato's triumph. The second major shift, fi:om mimetic to rhetorical
criticism, might have developed partly from a misreading of Aristotle's Poetics, a docu-
ment of enormous authority, if one more respected than understood. (As late as the age
of Dryden and Johnson, critics quoted - or misquoted - Aristotle while ignoring his
central ideas, methods, and principles.) Though the Poetics views art as the imitation of
human action, the product is not a simple copy. It differs from the natural process it rep-
resents in its form, its material (language instead of action), its technique, and its pur-
pose. These four "causes," as Aristotle termed them, all contribute equally in defining
the special character of a particular work of art. But one of them - purpose - is, so to
speak, more equal than the rest, since it largely dictates the others. Purpose, for

6 INTRODUCTION

Aristotle, refers to the potential capacity of a work to move human beings in a certain
way, not its actual effect on an audience.
One can easily imagine, however, how internal purpose could be altered to exter-
nal effect, and how the four-cause structure of Aristotelian imitation might be sim-
plified to the means/end argument we find in Horace. There were surely external
reasons as well for mimetic theories to give way to ,rhetorical ones. The development
in late republican Rome of a publishing industry (using hand-copying), serving a far-
flung and disparate literary audience, may have fostered a critical scene different
from that of post-Periclean Athens, where the poet's audience was the tight-knit
coterie within the polis.
The revolution from rhetorical to expressive criticism may also have been partly
the result of social change. The reading public grew enormously in the eighteenth
century as formerly illiterate classes became avid consumers of literature. The new
cadres of less-educated readers made taste an issue in criticism as it had never been
before. As theorists investigating taste examined the inner experience of readers,
they found that the faculties behind good taste, the capacities that made ideal
readers - delicate imagination, good sense, wide experience - were the same as
those that made the best poets. Creation and appreciation were more closely allied
than one might have supposed, for the audience passively reenacted what the poets
had actively created. Poetic creativity was therefore a refined but not a mysterious
process: It could be investigated and understood.
The twentieth-century shift from expressive to formal criticism was not a total
revolution: Biographical, psychological, sociological, and myth criticism continued
to develop alongside the several varieties of formalism. But in a sense, formalism
grew out of the exhaustion of expressive criticism. Literature, once thought to grow
organically from the artistic imagination, which, as Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(p. 319) said, was "coexistent with the conscious will," was increasingly seen as
deriving from forces beyond the artist's control (milieu, class, unconscious drives,
the collective unconscious). The poet appeared to be less an agent and more a cata-
lyst in the act of creation,2 while at the same time, poetry, like music, painting, and
sculpture, became increasingly abstract. And in the demotic twentieth century,
audience reaction has seemed an even less plausible guide to art than in the eigh-
teenth. The eighteenth-century split between refined and popular art, which had been
partially repaired during the Victorian era, re-emerged in the 1890S to become an
ongoing fixture of twentieth-century culture.
As a result, criticism was left with almost nowhere to go. With the principle of imi-
tation stymied by the vogue of abstraction, the fashion of the impersonal artist nulli-
fying the romantic appeal to expression, and the fragmented and unreliable audience
undermining rhetorical criticism, the only avenue left was an appeal to pure fonn.
These developments seem to have been felt all over Europe and America after World
War I, and they culminated in a variety of formalist movements: Russian formalism,

~he cult of impersonality in poetry and of the poet as the catalyst will be found in the criticism of
T. S. Eliot (p. 534), one of the founders of the New Criticism.

INTRODUCTION 7

structuralism. the New Criticism. neo-Aristotelianism. Another factor. exterior to art
and criticism. was the development of the modem university. within which depart-
ments of literature. structured like those of the natural and social sciences. may have
sought for a comparably "objective" and "scientific" mode of literary study. which the
varieties of formalism could supply. 3
During the most recent revolu~ion. which began in the years since Abrams drew
up his map. many literary theorists have viewed literature as the free play of signi-
fiers. In this view. words - the signifiers - no longer have an innocent connection
to their meanings - the signified; and the relation of language and meaning is not
transparent. Instead of testifying to the truth and beauty of the world. instead of
expressing the personality (or impersonality) of the author. instead of delighting and
instructing its audience. instead of presenting an abstract aesthetic form. language
now expresses the circularity of meaning. contemplates the paradoxes of its own
making. The text is no longer the poem isolated in the center of the diagram. Rather
textuality - the condition of inscription within language - is implicated in all our
knowledge of the world. of reading. of expression. History is no longer the inferior
of poetry. as Aristotle thought. nor its master. as Karl Marx suggested. History can-
not even be opposed to poetry. for both of them are equally texts; they may be seen
as discursive practices. modes of powerlknowledge that need to be analyzed using
the rules of New Historicism and cultural studies. Thus we have returned full circle
to the position of the Sophists. for whom everything was ruled by the art of rhetoric.
A key question for the future of theory is whether the key topics of textuality. lan-
guage. and discursive practice will remain at the center of critical study. or whether
some new revolution may not lurk over the horizon.

Other Maps of the Critical Tel7"ain
Abrams's map of the spectrum of critical theory is useful as far as it goes. But maps
have a way of reducing the number of dimensions. inevitably distorting even as they
clarify the actual landscape. The points of Abrams' s compass should not be taken as
natural. self-evident. or unquestionable. Like any other theoretical construct.
Abrams's map includes areas of blindness as well as insight. and its limitations
derive from its unstated assumptions. By differentiating between "rhetorical" and
"objective" theories. for example. Abrams seems to presume that the text can have
a meaning apart from what it means to its readers. In practice. however. many for-
malist critics have relied heavily for their analysis on what an "ideal" or "potential"
reader would make of the text. Nor can Abrams's map comfortably accommodate
forms of criticism (Marxist and otherwise) that view the text. author. and reader as
determined. collectively or separately. by the processes of history. (Abrams may
think that an author expresses his or her age. but while this will do for some forms
of historical criticism. it will not adequately characterize neo-Marxist criticism. New
Historicism. or cultural studies.)

JCf. Richard Ohmann. English in America (New York: Oxford University Press. 1976). and Gerald
Graff, Professing Literature: Aninstitutionai HistOlY (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).

8 INTRODUCTION

Another limitation of the Abrams map - or at least of how many readers have
employed it - is the specious linearity it imposes upon the history of criticism.
It seems to imply that mimetic thought was confined to classical antiquity and that
everyone shifted from rhetorical to expressive criticism around the end of the
eighteenth century. Not only did rhetorical criticism continue to be practiced
throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but (as Robert Marsh has shown)
one essential pattern of romantic criticism flourished during what is typically con-
sidered the neoclassical period. The prestige of the Abrams map should not mask the
importance of other theorists and critics (such as James "Hermes" Harris or
Walter Scott) whose work implicitly challenges Abrams's notion of historical
succession.
One way of transcending the limitations of the Abrams map is by formulating other
maps whose limitations are different. The Abrams map groups literary theories in terms
of the critical principle on which each rests. Both R. S. Crane (p. 813) and Norman
Friedman have, at different times, constructed a different sort of map to clarify the
interrelationships of critical tasks and the variety of approaches to a given literary work.
The form of these maps is not a group of adjacent territories but a series of concentric
circles, with the work itself in the middle. A single composite map combining the
essential features of both might look something like Figure 2 on page 10.
This map is one way of visualizing the relationship of various modes of literary
interpretation to one another. Its bias is its suggestion that a poem is determined
most intimately by the requirements of form, both its own organic shape and the
institutional shapes that culture bequeaths to art. (For example, the terseness of a
sonnet - its fourteen-line stmcture - is a formal issue.) As long as form accounts
adequately for an aspect of a given work, no explanation need be sought elsewhere.
But when form is exhausted, one must tum directly to the poet, both to the poet's
conscious life (biographical interpretation) and to the poet's unconscious fantasies
and defenses (psychological interpretation). The circle is broader here, too, because
what biographical and psychological interpretation reveals will cover the whole of the
artist's work. Still broader modes of interpretation, sociological and historical, will
link that work with others written by authors of the same class in the same era - or
explain the differences among works written from different class perspectives and at
different times. Broadest of all (and hence least explanatory of any given work) are
interpretations based on human universals. One such universal is the collective
unconscious of Carl Gustav J ung, whose archetypes are said to mn through all imag-
inative literature and art. Another is the ethical wisdom that can give works of
literature long-term significance across cultural boundaries.4
Neither of these maps of the critical tasks assigns an explicit spot to the most tradi-
tional job of the critic: judging the quality of a literary work. In effect, academic critics
indicate their preferences by what they choose to spend their time interpreting (although

-IPor further discussion of this "concentric" map of critical theory, see R. S. Crane, "Questions and
Answers in the Teaching of Literary Texts," in The Idea 'a/the Humanities, vol 2. (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press; I966); and Nannan Friedman, "Pluralism Exemplified: Great Expectations and The Greal
Gatsby," in FOJ7n and lV/eaning in Fiction (Athens:" University of Georgia Press, 1975).

INTRODUCTION 9

Figure 2

8

this implicit procedure is currently being questioned in a wide-ranging debate over the
literary canon). And both maps, it will be noted, place the work in the center, thus
implying that the text is the still and stable point around which the complex world of
critical thought revolves - which seems reasonable enough, since it went unques-
tioned for over two thousand years. But this dogma is precisely what a good deal of
audience-centered criticism is challenging today, and maps like those of Abrams and
CranelFriedman will be seen as seriously distortive by those who feel that the text is not
a stable entity, or that it is determined by the reader. At the same time, any map that
placed the reader in the center would be thought severely distOlted by critics of many
other persuasions. But how is a map to avoid a center?

ro INTRODUCTION

Semantic Maps: Ideas about ivIethod
One map of sufficient generality and neutrality might be derived from the semantics
of Richard McKeon. It would group critics according to their methods, or modes of
thought, rather than their central topic. Whereas the Abrams map groups Plato with
Aristotle and Plotinus because of the centrality in all three of the principles of mime-
sis, the McKeon map would emphasize Plato's dialectical method - his habit of
analogizing the structure of an upper realm (the world of Ideas) to a lower realm (the
world of Matter). Aristotle does not work that way, though Plotinus does. Later crit-
ics with different principles, like the expressive critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge and
the formal critic Cleanth Brooks (p. 797), adopted the same dialectical method.
Dialectic is one of four abstract methods of proceeding, which include the opera-
tional, the problematic, and the logistic, that McKeon calls modes of thought. Walter
Davis, in The Act ofInterpretation, has defined them succinctly: Dialectic is a method
of assimilation to a model whereby comprehensive truths are approximated or
embodied. Operational thought is a method of discrimination and postulation
whereby arbitrary formulations are interpreted in order to distinguish the different
legitimate perspectives on a topic. The problematic is a method of inquiry that sepa-
rates questions into the distinct disciplines in which particular problems are deter-
mined and solved. Logistic thought is a method of composition in which irreducible
least parts are put together by means of invariable laws. s
Dialectical thinkers, such as Plato and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (p. 369),
see the world as a bound and interconnected whole, with a lower realm (defined by
terms like "becoming" or "consciousness") and an upper realm (that of "being" or
"self-consciousness"). Such a pattern runs through all of reality, and each aspect of
life - religion, politics, ethics, aesthetics - can be analyzed in the same way using
analogous terms.
But where dialectical thought is intrinsically interdisciplinary, problematic
thought is discipline-bound. Problematic thinkers, such as Aristotle and John
Dewey, see the world as containing a number of irreconcilable things, and therefore
find no single method that will answer all questions, no single set of terms that can
be used to grapple with all problems. The initial task of problematic thinking is to
separate disciplines according to their scope, determining their bounds and estab-
lishing a method of inquiry according to the nature of the discipline itself.

S\Valter A. Davis, The Act of Interpretation: A Critique of Literary Reason (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1978), pp. 93-94. 1vlcKeon's grid is too complex to do justice to here, since it contains three
other dimensions as well: A dialectical thinker might have comprehensive, simple, reflexive, or actional
principles. There are also quadripartite distinctions for a thinker's organization and interpretation. The
result is sixteen categories that generate 256 possible positions. McKeon's own mode of thought is, of
course, operationalist - his grid is a way of talking about the relation among modes of discourse. Richard
rv1cKeon's clearest exposition of his semantics occurs in an essay called "Philosophic Semantics and
Philosophic Discovery," widely circulated among his students but unpublished at his death. It was
published posthumously in Richard P. McKeon, Freedom and HistDly and Other Essays, ed. Zahava K.
NIcKeon (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990). See also his article, "Philosophy and Nlethod," in
JOllmai of Philosophy 48 (1951): 653-81; and "Imitation and Poetry," in his book Thought, Action and
Passion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954). See also the exposition of N1cKeon in \Valter A.
Davis, "Critical Theory and Philosophic Nlethod," in The Act of Interpretation, pp. 88-119.

INTRODUCTION II

and Kenneth Burke) into a fourth. hitherto one element among many. and Hegel) into one group. 6Applied to the critical revolution of the past three decades. p. draws a map that puts formalism in the center. the whole is determined not by the nature of things but by the way peo- ple view them and talk about them. but in the long mn. the formalist. McKeon's map. p. Once we outgrow the maps we are given. 198. moved into the vanguard. they have a single method. There is no higher realm of being or truth: The way people see things is all there is. Maps are like Ludwig Wittgenstein's ladder in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922): We can climb only with their assistance.or do as our three mapmakers did: make our own. and social structure (by Claude Levi-Strauss. ethics (by Rene Descartes and Thomas Hobbes). but a logistic approach has also been made to politics (by Niccolo Machiavelli). though contemporary with Abrams's. This map would be more historically complicated than Abrams's since competing modes of thought would operate within a given age. as once logistical psy~ choanalysts began (after Jacques Lacan. the lvIcKeon map might suggest that oper~ ational thought. dialectical thought often takes poetry to be a mode of thinking. 882) has explicitly stated. particularly one that will help him make sense of the transition between the eighteenth century and the romantic age. which is associated with but not limited to modem science: breaking down phenomena into their least parts and then discovering the laws by which those parts are interrelated. which are concerned with particles and forces. in Cicero or in Kenneth Burke (p. but once we have ascended. confident that parts make up a whole. The role of operational thought. Applied to literature. 859). but unlike them. any map. p. is certain to contain implicit assumptions conge- nial to some theorists and anathema to others. problematic thinkers (like Aristotle) into another. and operational thinkers (like Alexander Pope. Similarly. Another map might be created. but for them. logistic thinkers (like Freud or Levi-Strauss) into a third. Like dialectical thinkers. 1122) to think of the unconscious as a mode of discourse rather than a hidden space. Operational thought considers literature as one of many forms of discourse. logistic thinkers avoid the holistic. looks like something a struc- turalist might devise. as once diaIecticallvIarxists began (after Louis Althusser. with spatial vectors that replace linear causality. in other words. all maps are inadequate and none is wholly innocent. Like problematic thinkers. 841) by rhetoric. the Derridean revolution consists. Coleridge. 6 It is useful to be able to refer to three maps rather than one. 633). Abrams's map is that of a historical critic seeking a set of distinctions that will allow him to write a history of critical thought. the implicit starting point for any further study of the text. Crane. no matter how apparently objective and pluralistic. That is. logistic thought considers liter- ature as data in its scientific analysis of the parts of a text. p. 12 INTRODUCTION . operational thinkers take a holistic view of the universe. Plotinus. This method is clearest in sciences like chemistry and physics. gathering dialectical thinkers (like Plato. 1263) to consider history as a text rather than a force. as Paul de Man (p. but it would suggest some impor- tant linkages across the centuries that should not be ignored. in the displacement of grammar (in Ferdinand de Saussure's logistical approach. we throw them to the ground. is to clarify discourse. while problematic thought often takes it to be a mode of making. p. to reduce the ambiguities that arise from using common language to describe disparate perspectives. we learn to do without them .

where theory informs talk about literary texts. the- ories underlying the literary discourse. the famous dead were allowed to rest in the record they left in their documents and documented deeds. one method." and in the portraits of the poet Petroni us. feels like part of postmodernism's rampant eclecticism. however. UNPACKING CRITICAL THEORIES Having first ascended to an overview of theory as a whole. John Updike raises issues about the recent vogue of the historical novel and the postmodern uses of the recorded past in ways that presume that the reader is familiar with theories of post- modernism such as those of Baudrillard (p. so intrinsically conflicted and impure. and it may be even more difficult to unpack the structure of assumptions. we are unlikely to end by resolving their differ- ences into a tidy and harmonious chorus. To the extent that these oppositions are genuinely understood. use theoreti- cal vocabulary as a kind of shorthand to indicate the writer's critical assumptions. 2004): 98. or a novel is certain to bring us into contact with contemporary critical essays." The New Yorker (June 28. in. At one time academic articles were expected to be written in a transparent lan- guage that could be easily understood by the educated layman. "Silent Master. and the historical past became an attic full of potentially entertaining trin- kets. a play. because the clash of one princi- ple. because 'John Updike. examples exist before the twentieth century. True. more often. In contrast. and enter that dialogue our- selves. 1935) and Jameson (p. Tolstoy's depiction of Napoleon and the Russian general Kutuzov in "War and Peace. we now need to descend to where theory meets practical criticism. for there are some very practical reasons why those who want to study litera- ture need to understand literary theory. and image seized priority over fact. Traditional literature courses typically impose a method and an order on the dis- parate texts of one period or one author. And in discoursing with some of the most probing minds that have trained their gaze upon literature. Any research we do into a poem. the emperor Nero. in their letters and the accounts of their contemporaries? Articles in learned journals are even more explicitly steeped in theoretical discourses. 1955) that we find in the final· chapter of this book: Fiction about actual historical persons. set the voices at play. we become participants in an ancient and exalted conversation. and the saint Peter in Sienkiewicz's "Quo Vadis?" But until truth became thoroughly relative. For instance. essays that. Even book reviews in popular magazines by non-academic writers can have us reaching for the dictionary of literary terms and make us grateful for whatever grounding in theory we have. a course in critical theory will often call into question the very myths of order the traditions of culture have handed down. one logic with another cannot be evaded. but today we need to be able to "unpack" the author's language to discover the theory or. INTRODUCTION I3 . in his New Yorkerreview of Colm T6ibfn's novel about Henry James. We can. say. engage them in contrapuntal dialogue with each other. The study of critical theory tends to raise the ultimate questions about literature and its relation to life without establishing an ultimate order. whether or not they explicitly support a particular literary theory.

Dickie argues that the marginalization of Dickinson and eclipse of other nineteenth-century women authors are symptoms of the same androcentric astigmatism and that allotting Dickinson a central role in American literary history will bring other women's achievements into proper focus: "[A] literary history that would include women writers should start with Dickinson and redo the conventional story by fitting literary history around the poet. More than likely we will discover that we need to unpack a complicated eclectic mixtnre of literary theories.an approach unparalleled among female (or. But fitring American literary history around Dickinson is easier said than done. as an ec- centric woman isolated from the main concerns of the day" (186.went out ..as Paula Bennett notes. Like most content-oriented studies of Dickinson. scholars have swerved around the question of how Dickinson's use of language relates to that of her contemporaries. "So Anthracite. such as we find in the fol- lowing example. (2004): 19-50.] 1oR. women poets were beginning to out-publish men even in the most exclusive and prestigious venues" . Dickinson has never found a central place in American literary history .] 9prom Emily Dickinson's poem "lvlore Life . 1962). Dickie says little about how Dickinson uses language. as Margaret Dickie points out. or purely Marxist. male) nineteenth-century American poets. P.!. today's critics are less likely to raise questions that are purely formalist. consid- ering both how she defines the period and how literary history might be redone if she were placed at its center" (187). to live"? To put it differently.none but Dickinson have entered the canons of American literary history (216). to live" . 187)..to those who know how to read him: "So Anthracite. fit into a largely masculine history .when He went.'1 Dickinson is fortu- nate to have achieved even anomaly status. 12Dickie's efforts to recenter American literary history focus on establishing Dickinson as a writer engaged with the major political event of her era .. 8 Here are the first four paragraphs. Blackmur. [Slightly revised by the author. 1999).. Joyce W. Though the nineteenth century was a boom era for American women poets . one of many in Dickinson's unruly oeuvre. taken from a remarkable essay by Jay Ladin. Dickinson remains an anomaly . 2000). to live": Emily Dickinson and American Literary History 9 It Was R. no. in which Ladin makes his intentions and his methods clear . when we have had seven more decades to grow accustomed to Dickinson's peculiar diction.the Civil War. or purely psychoanalytic. [Ladin] [The num- ber Fr415 refers to the numbering of Emily Dickenson's poems as established in the Ralph W. Blackmur who described the phrase "So Anthracite. it hasn't. Twentieth-century American poetry experiments with norm-defying diction." in Challenging Boundaries: Gender and Periodization. because both Dickinson's claim to a place in that history and her relegation to its margins derive in large part from the innovative approach to poetic language apparent in phrases such as "So Anthracite. 12 Studies that focus on Dickinson's language 8Emily Dickinson Journal 13. [Ladin] 14 INTRODUCTION . "Emily Dickinson in History and Literary History. Warren and 1vIargaret Dickie (Athens: University of Georgia Press.10 Even now. Language as Gesture (New York: Harcourt Brace. For the most part. how should American literary history account for Emily Dickinson? For the most part. to live" as "beyond bearing awkward to read" (42). to live" is a shockingly awkward phrase... eds. ll:rviargaret Dickie. "[EJven when she is acknowl- edged as a great writer. for that matter. but how did a woman in the early 1860s come to write phrases such as "So Anthracite. Franklin edition (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. P. "by the last decades of the century." Fr415.

Historicizing studies that locate Dickinson in cultural context generally ignore the peculiarity of Dickinson's poetic language. the most extended presentation of Dickinson in relation to twentieth- century modernist poelly. American modernism" (1).i." To bring the common ground between Dickinson's treatment of language and that of her peers into focus. David Porter's Dickinson: The lv[odem Idiom. By examining Dickinson's early letters and poems. [LadinJ 14See for example Domhnall Mitchell's fine Emily Dickinson: lV/onarch of Perception. to live" by tipping the balance of what Bakhtin calls "centripetal and centrifugal forces" from the centripetally-weighted modes characteristic of most nineteenth-century poetry to centrifugally-weighted modes that became a mainstay of twentieth-century American modernist poetry. by extension. IS But to move Dickinson to the cen- ter of American literary history . [LadinJ 15Por example. to fashion "a literary history that would include women writers" as central rather than peripheral figures . I consider how American literary history looks when Dickinson is placed at its center. Ross' discussion of "!vIy Reward for Being .Miss -Me' -/ I'll unroll - Thee -. focusing on Dickinson's crucial but complex relation to the tradition of J3For example. when Dickinson began to write seri- ously. Indeed. this essay. such as Christine Ross' recent "Uncommon Measures. themes and rhetorical modes into previously unheard-of diction such as "So Anthracite."might be redone if she were placed at its center." which places Dickinson's prosody in the context of practices promoted in nineteenth- century textbooks. tend either to treat her innovations as unique idiosyncrasies or to preseut her as a sort of wrinkle iu time. rather than an exception to.the flourishing mid-nine- teenth-century American women's poetry scene. I argue that Dickinson transfigures common nineteenth-century linguistic materials. before we can take up Dickie's challenge to "consider both how [Dickinson] defines the period and how literary history" . Finally.accost my Hands -/ With 'Me . [Ladin] INTRODUCTION IS . we must read Dickinson's work as an example of.e. the history which leads to and through Dickinson into the feverish poetic innovation of the twentieth century . I argue that Dickinson's pree cociously modernist treatment of langnage represents not an isolated literary mutation." [Ladinl 16Bakhtin-inftuenced scholars of poetry have long noted that Bakhtin's insistence that poetry is monoglossic does not hold true for many texts. tend to overlook her deviant diction.. which notes Dickinson's polysemy but does not address the difference between her poetic language and that of her contemporaries. adapts con- cepts introduced by Mikhail Bakhtin for the study of novels to poetic analysis.. J4 Even studies that focus on aspects of Dickinson's poetics. Gerald Bruns has suggested that American poetry is inherently heteroglossic. Bnilding on recent work by Paula Bennett.we must under- stand how Dickinson's "anomalous" treatmeut of language relates to the more normative language of her contemporaries. That is. nineteenth-century women's poetry.and reaction against . 16 Specifi- cally. and had already been adapted to poetic uses by other nineteenth-century women poets by the 1850s.. Cristanne Miller's landmark study Emily Dickinson: A Poet's Grammar catalogues and analyzes the interpretive implications of Dickinsou's idiosyncratic diction and punctuation with lit- tle attempt to relate Dickinson's techniques to those of other nineteenth-century poets.was this" (Fr37S) does not note the oddity of language such as "When Thrones .and.13 Both these ap- proaches avoid relating Dickiuson's poetics to those of her contemporaries. but a conscious engagement with . argues that Dickinson should be read as the "first practitioner" of "an extreme . both isolate Dickinson from her milieu. a modernist poet born fifty or a hundred years early. I show that Dickinson's precociously modernist confignration of centripetal and centrifugal forces evolved from a technique that Bakhtin calls "novelization" which was common in nineteenth-century prose. like many other recent studies of Dickinson.

And he accounts for why Dickinson. and the deep continuities between nineteenth-century Ameri- can verse and the twentieth-century poetic practices that Dickinson's work prefigures. despite her grounding in the nine- teenth century. R. In effect.when he went. P. in adapting those tech- niques to poetry. and are juxtaposed within the confines of brief lyrics that react against the conventional sentiments of contempo- rary poetic discourse. r6 INTRODUCTION . Feminist scholarship like that of Paula Bennett has made us aware that women were publishing poetry in great volume in the important periodicals ofthe nineteenth century. But to view Dickinson purely as a "precocious modernist" writing in the I860s would be to isolate her from the literary history of her own period. where the catch phrases belong to a disembodied voice rather than literary characters. such as the devastation of the Civil War. Eliot. and have assisted Ladin with his quest: feminism and New Historicism (see respectively Chapters 7 and 6). The problem. In the course of his essay. but of a New Critic. as Ladin announces in his title. Ladin argues." was explic- itly reacting against. about the difficulty "beyond bearing" of Dickinson's poetic diction in the last line of her poem "More life. Two other recent theoretical movements stand in the background of Ladin's prob- lem. and has unearthed once-forgotten female poets who were Emily Dickinson's peers in her own period. Ladin will quote a conventional eulogy on Abraham Lincoln by Phineas Gurley as one example of what Dickinson's obituary poem. Previous writers have found contemporary themes in Dickinson. Ladin wants simultaneously to do justice to the originality of Dickinson's poetic techniques and to view her as a woman of her time. eulogies. created their satirical narrative voices by importing and juxtaposing for comic effect catch phrases used by various trades and professions. Bakhtin discusses how novelists of the nineteenth century." akin to the poetics of the modernist poets of the I920S. also appears to us as a precocious modernist: because the "centrifugal" qualities of Dickinson's poetry are similar to that of modernists like Eliot and Moore. And the New Historicism has made clear that "history is textual'. but have not accounted for her poetics. So in the article as a whole Ladin accounts for Dickinson as a writer of her time.went out. American women's poetry. but also as a great original. not of a literary historian. and in using the techniques of the nineteenth-century comic novel. Dickinson shifts this technique from prose to poetry. Blackmur. And he will quote a poem by Sarah Louise Forten published in William Lloyd Garrison's Liberator as proof that Dickinson's radical poetics were not hers alone. This discussion is Ladin's key to what Dickinson is doing. by the classes and the masses. "More life. advertisements). such as T. in reacting against the conventional poetry of her day. But the theorist who provides Ladin with the important tools for his mission is Mikhail Bakhtin (see the selection from "Discourse in the Novel.' and that the writers of a given pedod are often responding not only to their peers in the literary world but also to genres at the mar- gins of the literary (se=ons. even though those modernists came to their poetics through a different route." pp. 578-87). Ezra Pound." This leads Ladin to the key paradox: Dickinson's use oflanguage is "shocking" and "experimental. is the relationship of Emily Dickinson to American literary history. such as Charles Dickens. S. But Ladin begins with the observation. and Marianne Moore (who were the heroes of the New Critics). legal tracts.

Unpacking Ladin's essay is relatively easy because he is a lucid writer who is at great pains to indicate his sources and his critical affiliations. however. that the force of crisis. Their actual practice. by uneasy implication. as self- professed diruecticians. would put these oppositions into question. is not systematically emphasized in their work." or "failed. The Subrutem Studies collective scrupulously annotates this double movement. It is because of this. A theory of change as the site of the displacement of function between sign-systetus . is the following passage. This leads them to describe the clandestine operation of supplementarity as the inexorable speculative logic of the dialectic. secondly. they open themselves to older debates between spontaneity and consciousness or structure and history. or based on a single theoretical approach." "un- ease. 1988. The most significant outcome of this revision or shift in perspective is that the agency of change is located in the insurgent or the "subaltern. that the moment(s) of change be pluralized and plotted as confrontations rather than transition (they would thus be seen in relation to histories of domination and exploitation rather than within the great modes-of-production narrative) and. the crisis conldnot have made the change happen. Concurrently." "bringing into focus". Indeed. INTRODUCTION X7 . Yet." "getting caught up in a general wave. Even when it is perceived as "gradual. which I will argue. I think. At the other end of the range. even as it is also described as "switch. if the space for a change (necessarily ruso an addition) had not been there in the prior function of the sign-system. is closer to deconstruction. for." The Subaltern Studies group seems to me to be revising this general definition and its theorization by proposing at least two things: first. The most important func- tional change is from the religious to the militant." A functional change in a sign-system is a violent event.which is what they oblige me to read 17New York: Oxford University Press. The change in signification-function supple- ments the previous function. The colonial subject is seen as emerging from those parts of the indigenous elite which come to be loosely described as "bourgeois nationalist. although neverfarfrom their argument. that such changes are signaled or marked by a functional change in sign-systems. He also has a single key critical figure (Mikhail Bakhtin) at the center of his approach to Dickinson." "combination." or yet "reversing itself.all critical concept-metaphors that would indicate force. and sometimes disarmingly alluded to as "impingement. But not all critical discourse is so lucid. Such a definition theorizes the change within the great narrative of the modes of production and." "ambiguity. pervasively." the change itself can only be operated by the force of a crisis. The insertion of India into colonialism is generally defined as a change from semi-feudalism into capitalist subjection. In this they seem to me to do themselves a disservice. and so on." "reasons for change. There are. They generally perceive their task as making a theory of consciousness or culture rather than specificruly a theory of change. as "turning upside down" . from bondsman to worker." "circumstances for unification. both of difficulty of the language and complexity of the argument." "transit[ion]. a general sobriety of tone will not allow them to emphasize sufficiently that they are themselves bringing hegemonic historiography to crisis." "catch- ing fire" and. many other functionru changes in sign-systems indicated in these collections: from crime to insurgency. taken from the first pages of Gayatri Spivak's Introduction to Ranajit Guha's Subaltern Studies: 17 The work of the Subaltern Studies group offers a theory of change. within the narrative of the transition from feudalism to capital- ism. this change is seen as the inauguration of poJiticization for the colonized.

for most of the history of the Raj. But it is quite clear from the tone of the opening lines that her attitude seems to be one of critique rather than of univocal praise. the work of the Subaltern Studies group repeatedly makes it possible for us to grasp that the concept-metaphor of the 'social text' is not the reduction of real life to the page of a book. and Mountbatten. This story. "subjects. Since she is writing an introduction to a collection of their essays. one might expect to find her in general agreement with them." as a possession acquired and exploited by the burgeoning industrial capitalists of England." They are mere objects. If seen in this way. whatever its value. Similarly. The natives of India. Spivak would agree that. in them . relative to the currently available histories of social change in India.' e-laborare. but all the same. My theoretical intervention is a modest attempt to remind us of this. Even this may be difficult to pick up because the history books touching India and imperialism that most of us are likely to have actually read are not on the horizon of Spivak's essay. 18 INTRODUCTION . Subaltern Studies offers a massive improvement. Gandhi and Nehru. Standard "world studies" history textbooks discuss the colonization of India in the eighteenth century and its emancipation in the mid-twentieth century in terms that emphasize India as a land exploited but also modernized and given a set of enlightened civil institutions by Great Britain. first because of the need for access to exotic imports (such as tea and spices) but later. and this story of colonization and emancipation is told in terms of the major personalities involved: John Clive and Warren Hastings. as the nineteenth century progressed. Spivak talks of the "uneasy implication" of this narrative. even at its most dynamic. The site of dis- placement of the function of signs is the name of reading as active transaction between past and future. Spivak is not entirely happy with the way the group has characterized the social his- tory it chronicles and with its own efforts at historiography. within this narrative. and the active agents will predictably be the elite classes of postcolonial India. or as SpiVak puts it. Spivak goes on to claim that the Subaltern Studies group proposes to write a dif- ferent history based on the ideas of the Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci (I 89 I-I 937). victims of exploitation. The historiography against which Spivak views the Subaltern Studies group as an improvement is traditional Marxist historiography. (3-5) The key to unpacking this difficult passage involves locating where Spivak stands in relation to the Subaltern Studies group she is introducing. the story of the emancipation of India in the mid-twentieth century is the story of "bourgeois nationalists" seeking self-rule in order to exploit Indian workers themselves instead of having them exploited by industrialists living abroad. is not on Spivak's map at all. which would inevitably represent the colonization of India in terms of what Spivak calls "the great narrative of modes of production. are not agents. as a captive market for the export of English industrial goods. This transactional reading as (the possibility of) action. Again there is no room for the masses.is a theory of reading in the strongest possible general sense. What she is uneasy about is the fact that the protagonist of colonial his- tory in Marx's grand narrative of modes of production is not the native Indian but the English bureaucrat and industrialist (who by pushing capitalism to its limits will bring about the proletarian revolution). working out. is perhaps what Antonio Gramsci meant by 'elaboration.

INTRODUCTION 19 . p. This is only the start of a far more complex essay. the consciousness of actual Indian women." the Subaltern Studies group has actually caused a change in the sign-systems of history. in the scheme of colonial social relations. (For further information. and the way femininity operates within patriar- chal Indian society." Spivak is appealing to Jacques Derrida's Of Grarnrnatology. would view them as "workers" with a collective or class consciousness rather than as "bondsmen" or slaves with at best an individual hatred for their owners or exploiters.It was Gramsci who coined the term "subaltern" in the sense of the subject who is dominated by the physical power of the state and not merely by its ideological appa- ratus. In both cases she sees the rhetorical moves of deconstruction as evading "older debates" within Marxism (such as the debate about the value of class consciousness versus that of spontaneity). At bottom." but she feels that the Subaltern Studies group is selling itself short by not comprehending that "a functional change in a sign system is a violent event." Even more revolutionary than the insur- gency of the masses against the British Raj. her cri- tique of Subaltern Studies is that it has not paid sufficient attention to the revolutionary implications of its own activities. for Spivak. between sign-systems" as "a theory of reading. When the educated historian writes about the activities of the illiterate masses (who necessarily cannot write their own history). and the changes in the language of history of the Subaltern Studies group as revolutionizing the nar- ratives about subaltern insurgency. Here Spivak is speaking as a deconstructionist rather than as a Marxist: a change in discourse is in this context a revolution more powerful than the storming of the Bastille. II98. And finally Spivak analyzes the even more intense dilemma of the representation of the Indian woman. when she refers to it as employing the "operation of supplementarity. Spivak will critique the Subaltern Studies group in terms of the dilemmas about representing conscious- ness. Despite occasionally falling back into vague terms like "gradual" or "transition. see the introduction to Marxist Criticism. When she refers to the Subalteru Studies group's "theory of change ." Spivak is appealing to Paul de Man's Allegories of Reading. and how that metaphor effaces. Similarly. Spivak points out how "woman" (as the Othered subordinate to "man") becomes a metaphor for India as a whole. even more completely. later on. Grarnsci would view their rebellions against the systems set up by the British as "insurgency" (collective opposition) instead of "crime" (individuals breaking laws).) This revised history would allow a greater active role to the masses. is the crisis in historiography that the Subaltern Studies group is forcing upon Marxist thought. it is the historian's thought process that necessarily takes over and thereby effaces the consciousness of those whose chronicler he is. which she sees as leading nowhere.. Spivak is definitely in favor of "history from the bottom up. Spivak sees Gramsci's language as deconstructing the discourse of Karl Marx. This in turn would allow the Subaltern Studies group to write what has been called "history from the bottom up": the emancipation of India would be viewed as the result of the efforts of the masses rather than as the victory of elite bourgeois leaders like Nehru..

apart from Emily Dickinson herself. as though these were an unimportant part of her reputation. His primary difficulty is in getting them together. Since Bakhtin does not discuss lyric poetry as such. p. primarily aimed at explaining how prose fiction (including narrative poetry. like "capitalist SUbjection" and "great narrative of the modes of pro- duction. only Gramsci is mentioned in Spivak's text. as the title suggests. 754). Derrida and de Man. Ladin finds he needs to critique two varieties of Dickinson criticism: formal criticism that detaches Dickinson from history. Ladin has to work 20 INTRODUCTION . it would not be obvious to everyone who R. will find by consulting tbe index that "supplement" leads one to Derrida. of the four. which can be generalized as follows: I. Detennine the writer's stance toward sources. Ladin is not critical of either Dickinson or Bakhtin. Ladin's critique is not mean-spirited or even snarky. and historical criticism tbat places Dickinson in her own time in terms of the subject matter touched on in her poetry." Similarly. Identify the sources the writer is using. 2. How does the reader pick up covert references of that sort? One might as well be honest about the fact that writing like Spivak's can be obscure even to highly trained scholars. In tbe case of Spivak." quoted in the fourth paragraph and discussed at length later in the essay. is Mikhail Bakhtin's "Discourse and the Novel. At this point. We are expected to understand that her general topic is Marxist historiography through Spivak's use of phrases tbat explicitly echo Marx's texts. however. In the case of Ladin. and is identified as a New Critic on p." the name Derrida is not mentioned. such as Pushkin's Eugene Onegin) works as a speech act. the key sources are Gramsci and Marx. but it makes clear that tbe question he is working on is one that should interest any serious reader of Dickinson. and that Gramsci is discussed at length in terms of ills influence on Althusser and Eagleton. one can go back to the Spivak passage and understand its drift. if the unpacking has been a success. we are expected to pick this up because terms like "supplement" and "supplementarity" connect up with Derrida's arguments about discourse in Of Grammatology (see the introduction to structuralism and deconstruction. although Spivak mentions "deconstruction. since Bakhtin' s discussion of "centrifugal" and "centripetal" writing in "Discourse and the Novel" is. as though one could be a modernist poet half a century before modernist poetry began to be written. And one of tbe things tbat makes SpiVak so difficult to penetrate is that. the key source. but does not bother to account for Dickinson's formal innovations. 8I9). Even in Ladin's essay. P. and the various studies of Dickinson cited are primarily "touchstones" Ladin discusses to show that he is aware of previous work on American literary history and on Dickinson's poetics and that he is not repeating already pnblished studies. But how does one do that for oneself? We can go back over tbe steps in the process. and at one point suggests tbat the lyric is not dialogical. The New Critical reading of Blackmur is there primarily to demonstrate how challeng- ing Dickinson's discourse could be even to critics who valorized modem poetry. Blackmur is or what set of ideas about poetry he stands for (Blackmur too can be found in the index to The Critical Tradition. The reader of The Critical Tradition.

new ways of "reading" society as text. but of course to read the texts that we will later synthesize we need to have analyzed them. she thinks that they are going about things the right way but are theoretically woolly: They need to understand better than they do exactly how right they are. the deconstructionists de Man and Derrida are also revolutionaries operating in the realm of discourse (Spivak's view. is not the only possible one: In the 1990S leftist writers attacked deconstruction as a politically suspect eva- sion of ideology). furthermore. Ladin finds the ideas of Mikhail Bakhtin useful in analyzing the ways in which a writer has trav- estied or re-accented the speech-acts of others. but has discarded Bakhtin's notion that this play of language has no place in lyric poetry. to show that Bakhtin's ideas apply fruitfully to Dickinson. in a key section of his article not reproduced here. though. where in order to understand anything we need first to have understood everything. To analyze we need to synthesize. by Gramsci in order to allow agency and a subject position to the "subaltern" under the Raj. Taking poetry as a speech-act. Identify the writer's theoretical commitments. Marx needs to be revised or. he understands the poet to be in dialogue with other cultural discourses in society. She is also concerned with the issue of who is allowed to speak for whom: how the subject posi- tion of oppressed classes can be effaced even by those from the literate elites who defend those classes. Like some New Historicists. and who stressed the agency of the subaltern fighting an insurgency against state power. INTRODUCTION 21 . Like the deconstructionists. as she would put it. 3. Ladin seems committed to a literary history that will do justice to both the con- tent and form of the poetic text. literary and otherwise. for her part. who saw change occurring through social conflict at diverse zones of contact. is a postcolonial theorist whose understanding of social change owes a great deal to the neo-Marxist Gramsci. This three-step process is just one possible way of blazing a trail into criticism that depends crucially on rhetorical moves licensed by literary and cultural theory. Spivak. But it should be clear from the analysis of Ladin and Spivak that any process of unpacking is going to depend at least in patt on having maps of the critical terrain. and how the subject position of women can be effaced by the men who presume to tell their story.hard. For Spivak. deconstructed. It sounds like a vicious circle. she views textuality as a pervasive condition. Rather than considering them as misguided or wrong-headed. At this point we are pretty well placed to understand where both Ladin and Spivak are coming from in the cited passages. Spivak's tone is quite different: She is making a "theoretical intervention" to "remind" the Subaltern Studies group of what is genuinely revolutionary about their historiography. Spivak holds Marx's "grand natTative" at arm's length: For postcolonial theory. and understands that this dialogue may be a reaction against conventional utterances as well as a reproduction of those utterances. and she sees the possibility for revo- lution in new forms of discourse. Despite her own commitment to Marxism.

which eliminates more ambiguities. We enter it every time we interpret any text. or perhaps a spira\. which in tum allows us to refine our sense of the whole."the hermeneutic circle" . OUf prior sense of what Bakhtin is all about allows us to understand Jay Ladin. And that power is what is working for us here. words that have countless meanings. Unpacking criticism thus gives us a sense of the possible reach of theory that we couldn't have gotten from reading theory alone. however crudely. There is a name for this vicious circle . 22 INTRODUCTION .but it's actu- ally a virtuous circle. as our unpacking not only reveals the sense of criticism but helps us revise our maps of the terrain. individually and in combination. and so on. But as we grope for the over- all intention.ask any dictionary. we remove ambiguities. but reading Jay Ladin has also expanded and corrected our sense of what Bakhtin is all about. including the words you are reading right now.

Part One CLASSIC TEXTS IN LITERARY CRITICISM .

.

132).the nature of being. Later philosophers. while the latter is time-bound: It came into being. most notably in the Neoplatonists of the second century C. however neatly done.which counts.the concept of a thing to write on that also holds one's papers . are imperfect representations of the lines and angles of the theorem.E. over all of Western thought. and it is true in the sense that most of the historically significant issues with which philosophy has been concerned . including Plato's great pupil. the meaning of love and beauty . but it tends to lead our thought downward. despite their vulgarity. in effect. the Academy. 427-347 B.Plato ca. In a philosophy class students might be asked to contrast the "Idea o( the Desk" . will soon vanish. the structure of an ordered society. Nor have later thinkers always merely disagreed with and revised Plato: Century after century has witnessed a renaissance of his sys- tem of thought.E. including Plotinus (p.with the physical object in the classroom. the Cambridge Platonists of the latter seventeenth century. and parallel lines.or eternal truths . Actually. the purposes of light action. and so on .the proof. these are perfectly sound Platonic questions. The real problem is that tlle explanation removes Plato's ideas from common human thought. It is understood that the diagrams drawn to illustrate the theorems. It may be more helpful to think of a geometry class. Nor is it apparent at first glance that the Idea of a Desk is a higher or better thing than a material desk. 109). This approach is a time-honored way of introducing Plato's ideas. For contemporary readers the most difficult concept in Plato's thought is his idealism .C. and where one learns to prove theorems . Sidney (p. to wondering. not the diagram . and their argument with Plato makes up much of the history of thought.. A carpenter who is not merely copying an existing desk must be working from some inner awareness of this Idea. had a warning on it: "Let no one ignorant PLATO 25 . Few of us are acquainted. "All of Western philosophy is but a footnote to Plato. where one operates with perfect circles.have no Forms because they are in fact form- less matter. it is certainly much harder to do one's work on. and the idealists of the romantic movement.the doctrine of a permanent realm of eternal Forms that shape our mutable material world. whether there is a Platonic Idea of a pencil-shaving or of manure. Here. the question of how we know things. have disagreed not only with his results but also with his ways of setting up the questions.mud. Nor is the material desk a pelfect desk: Its very materiality precludes it. exists for a time.were issues that he raised. directly take up Plato's challenge. one is working with the Ideal and the Material. Presumably.about them. on a mathematical level. for example. but his shadow falls. The former is timeless and pure. right angles. and it is the Ideal. other than in theory. 344). This may be why the door to Plato's school. to be created. as Whitehead said. sawdust." Alfred North Whitehead once said. Aristotle. with the ideas of things like desks. and Shelley (p. Later thinkers. The usual solution is to assume that formless things . the Idea of tfie Desk must have preceded the material desk and caused it.

a republic governed by a natural elite of guardians. are known today because Plato used them as debating opponents for his spokesman. had a good reason: Those who had already wrestled with the Idea of the Right Triangle in proving the Pythagorean theorem were prepared to understand the higher ideas of Tmth. Goodness.but how can one know and act properly in the Athenian polis? This question leads Socrates to fashion a model state. but at the center of their training is philosophy. and love. artistic endeavor. so to speak. Goodness. REPUBLIC. which opens with the issue of whether i'vlight makes Right. even matter could be shaped to cheat and deceive. as it is not in Athens. Some of the major Sophists. the language arts. like Gorgias and Lysias. They have a poor reputation today . and Beauty that Plato believed shape all human knowledge. Plato thought it dangerous to suppose that the highest realities . right action. the dia- gram Socrates draws looks like this: MODES OF BEJNG MOOES OF MENTAL ACTIVITY Ideas Knowing Mathematical Forms Understanding Material Things Opinion Images Conjecture 26 PLATO . in which it would be possible. Plato developed his idealism in reaction against the notions of the Sophists. But how should the guardians be educated to rnle? They must learn a great many other things.of what does philosophy consist? . Book X is at the end of the Republic. Its central thesis . to understand one's place and its duties. In simplified form. Against this.has stung devotees of the arts for the last two thousand years. This harsh question leads Socrates and his two friends to consider the question. What is Justice? Socrates' hypothesis is that Justice is knowing one's place and perfOlming its duties . like language.the word sophist!)' testifies to that . of geometry enter here. and Beauty . and his world of ideas may derive from his fear that.Tmth. BOOK X Book X is the most influential discussion of art in the Platonic canon. The Sophists claimed that their science oflanguage could lead to the knowledge of tmth and virtue." The mathematics prerequisite.but the original Sophists were not a set of quibblers but a diverse group of teachers of what we would now call rhetoric and composition.had the flicker- ing impermanence of human words. Socrates. the longest of the dialogues.that Socrates presents his hierarchical portrait of the physical and mental universe: the myth of the divided line. And it is in answering this question .that poets have no place in Plato's perfect state save as writers of hymns to -the gods and songs in praise of great leaders .

then the artistic object is merely an image. Socrates does praise such an experience elsewhere. and that Socrates does not seriously respect inspiration. The chain runs from the god to Homer to Ion to the applauding citizens. Socrates exposes the inferiority of art as a way of knowing. not inferior stuff. Another possibility is to suppose that the Ion is an essentially ironic (as well as humorous) dialogue. Where Ion differs from the Republic is iu the suggestion contained in the image of the magnet as a metaphor of divine inspiration. Reconciling this notion of art with the contrary position in Republic. has been attempted in a number of different ways. in the Phaedrus. who inspires the audience. plants. the principal dialogue on love and beauty. where poetry finds its place along with PLATO 27 . but the pleasures of art are con- denmed as inherently corrupting to citizens and guardians alike. Plato identifies art as imitation. and a good deal more entertaining if we allow ourselves to enjoy the spectacle of Socrates exposing the vanity and pretensions of the none-too-bright performer for whom the dialogue is named. Book X. and human artifacts we can at best hold correct opinions. and with respect to mere images we can only hazard guesses. The vertical line separates modes of existence from the modes of thought appropriate to them. The poets may stay as servants of the state if they teach piety and virtue. One way is to suppose that Plato changed his mind. First of all. But if this is the case. For Plato the word knolV applies only to Ideas. If this view of art is true. and its literal meaning is closer to "demonic possession" than to the English derivative "enthusiasm. (The moment when Ion declares that he is the greatest general in Athens as well as its greatest rhapsode is made richer if one remembers that at the purported time of the discourse." It is hard to believe that the rationalistic Plato could commend such a state. slightly but not more meaningfully permanent than a reflection in a pool of water. so the muse inspires the artist. the material things that are begotten. art cannot be justified as an activity worthy in its own right. (Notice that Socrates is not being redundant when he twice proves the inferiority of art: The first time he proves the inferiority of the mode of being of art. but about material animals. Just as a magnet attracts iron and passes that attraction along. ION Much of the Ion is reasonably consistent with the Republic. is the later dialogue (we have only conjectural datings) and deciding whether his first or second thoughts were the more trustworthy. the second. the Ion or the Republic. The first horizontal line separates the eternal world of true Being from the world of Becoming. Athens was fighting for its survival in the Peloponnesian War. The Greek word translated as "inspiration" is enthousiasmos. and objects in the physical world. its inferiority as a nwde of mental activity. In this context. but that would mean trying to discover which. as in the Republic. born. positing that what artists do (as they have claimed in the cen- turies before and after Plato) is hold the mirror up to nature: They copy the appear- ances of men.) As a result.) Here. the discussion of art in Book X is logically sound. who inspires the interpreter. and die. And the intelligence that went into its creation need involve nothing more than conjecture. animals. But on the other side. then it is divine.

(poetry. replies that. they cannot interrogate the written text. the eternal Forms of Truth. its source is nonetheless divine. At the outset. which the soul experienced directly prior to its incarnation. The real truth. which has no "living soul" to give an answer. to retrace. and Beauty. There Socrates claims that the state of enthousiasmos allows a dim but gripping memory of the Ideas. the place where hieroglyphic writing was invented. try different expressions. as Socrates mentions almost in passing. as Socrates argues in his speech of recantation.) The other truth Socrates arrives at is the truth about rhetoric: that while 28 PLATO . In response to Phaedrus. in which the god of learning. We try to express exactly what we think. our audience can ask 'us to go back. In oral discourse. Perhaps most plausibly. and we can respond. someone only pretending not to be in love. (We see this process today. human memory is certain to decay. Whether they agree or dis- agree.) Socrates' deeper complaint is that writing is one step farther removed from human thought than spoken language is. Thoth. In Republic Socrates is imagining a perfect state. and the ruler of the gods. and. but can sometimes be heard to speak holy truths in tongues given them by the gods. who has argued that. When we advance an argument in writing. as telephone memories make it unnec- "essary to recollect the numbers of even our closest friends. and our readers mayor may not understand us correctly. where poets may be generally foolish and ignorant. the gods' most precious gifts to humanity. so we do not commit them to memory. Socrates first produces a parody version of Lysias in which he suggests that such a text would more naturally be spoken by a wily lover. Socrates tells Phaedrus a myth from Egypt. because lovers can act insanely and irrationally. can point up possible self-contradictions. But suddenly Socrates stops this mode of attack in its tracks as he realizes that he is misleading Phaedrus. Its rulers must therefore act rightly out of permanently dependable knowledge. is yet another species of this divine madness. luck. like Lysias's. with writing as an aid. the speakers can search for truth. praises writing as an aid to fallible memory. because. prophecy and love as forms of divine madness. one that must be designed to run without benefit of chance. PHAEDRUS The selection from the Phaedrus points up Plato's mistrust in writing. Phaedrus is full of admiration for a text by Lysias. or divine interven- tion. we may be right or wrong. for prudential reasons. This in fact is what Phaedrus and Socrates have been doing throughout the dia- logue. his own speech presumes love to be nothing more than physical desire. not occasional inspiration. is that love is one of the gods' most precious gifts. if it be a form of madness in our mortal longing for transcendent Beauty within the physical world. a young man should choose as his lover an older man who is not in love with him rather than one who is. the discrepancies between Ion and Republic may be ascribed to their different contexts. Goodness. but it is surely not ironic in context. In this dialogue. In the Ion Socrates is discoursing about the actual world. to see if the conflict is in what we think or in different understandings of the words we have used. Ammon. This doctrine is narrated as a myth.

I973. Selected Bibliography Cavamos. Gerald F. in the Seventh Letter. Hans-Georg. Mimesis: Culture . The Fire and the Sun: Why Plato Banished the Artists. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. Norman. their form creates problems of interpretation and consistency. Paul. This may be why Plato did not set down his philosophy in the usual form of a set of treatises but rather in dialogues. William Chase. I933. Greene. Plato's Theory of Art. Andrea Wilson. Gulley. Richard. Constantine.written discourse can be flashy and impressive. Preface to Plato. because it could not be written down. Hamburg: F. Iris. Genres in Dialogue: Plato and the Construct of Philosophy. I995. William W. ~ Fortenbaugh. The Passionate Intellect: The Transfonnation of the Classical Traditions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gunter. 4 (I988): 279-87. 1962. New York: Pantheon. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1999. Deception and Dialectic: Plato on the True Rhetoric (Phaedrus 26I-266). Plato and Aristotle on PoetlY. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. London: Methuen. Plato. I963.Society. 1935.Art . Havelock. Plato's View of Art. Plato's Theory of Know/edge. "Plato und die Dichter. I958-69. But if the liveliness and depth of the dialogues remains unequalled. G. Shorey. 1972. the way to search for the deepest truths is through oral discourse between people who care about each other. I972. no. Marback. Plato's Thought. Both these issues emerge in the Republic. Plato's Theory of Fine Art. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Gadamer. whether he always is speaking directly for Plato. Murray. Morriss Henry. Meiner. At times we wonder whether Socrates is being serious or ironic. Berkeley: University of California Press. Grube. Nightingale. Friedlander. "Disputation. What he seems to have meant is that the published dialogues represent philosophy as an activity rather than as a set of received doctrines. "Plato's View of Poetry. M. Murdoch. Oxford: Clarendon Press. eds. Rupert C. Plato claims that he never wrote down his philosophy at all. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press." Philosophy and Rhetoric 2I." In Platos Dialektische Ethik llnd andere Studien. But Plato may also have meant the dialogues to stimulate philosophy: The dialogues cause us to philosophize as we read and reason and argue with the positions taken by Socrates and his interlocutors. and in the Ion. London: Methuen. Partee. I995. Else. Indeed. A. What Plato Said. I981. Plato's Poetics: The Authority of Beauty. Oates." Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 29 (I9I8): I-75. Paul. Lodge. James S. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. PLATO . Book X. Athens: Astir. Plato's Dream of Sophistry. New York: Scribner. I953. I 986. Eric. I968. And a position held in one dialogue may be renounced in another. and Lewis Ayres. I996. New York: Humanities Press. Whitney J. Gebauer.

and all living crea- tures. any denounce me to the tragedians and the rest of the instance of such a group. the other of a Explain the purport of your remark. are there not? to the understanding of the hearers. to know what you would say of him. but in your presence. Well. I960. we I see far more clearly now that the parts of the assume that there is one corresponding idea or soul have been distinguished. Robert. Love. Herman J. and all the Translated by Benjamin Jowett. but a man is not to be reverenced more than makes the idea itself: how could he? the truth. professes to be. What an extraordinary man! A likely thing. for he seems to be the great captain with the idea .but no artificer pany. furniture . in accordance on my lips. for our present purpose. unless as an Yes. for the your saying so. Hades under the earth." Alif: loumal of Comparative Poetics I4 (I994): 6-36. I929. table. "The Topology of Madness: Philosophical Seduction in Plato's Phaedrus. for it certainly ought not to be received. Speaking in confidence. Republic. and there will be more reason for There would be nothing strange in that. and besides these he can make earth and sky and the gods.that is our way of speaking in and teacher of the whole of that noble tragic com. this and similar instances . although I have always True.I should like Listen to me then. all that grows out of the earth. for you will not Let us take. Book X Of the many excellences which I perceive in the Very true.one the idea of a bed. as number of individuals have a common name. from my earliest youth had an awe and love of And the maker of either of them makes a bed Homer which even now makes the words falter or he makes a table for our use. antidote they possess the knowledge of the true But there are only two ideas or forms of such nature of the originals. then. if I had any faint notion. he said. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. following our usual method: Whenever a poetry. and therefore I will speak out. Sinaiko. Will you inquire yourself? To what do you refer? Well then. even order of our State. answer me. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. E. One who is the maker of all the works of all tion? for I really do not myself understand what it other workmen. Impossible.do you understand me? What do you mean? I do. Very good. I will tell you. For this is the craftsman who is duller eye may often see a thing sooner than the able to make not only furniture of every kind. Knowledge and Discourse in Plato. Switzer. I965. Wait a little. there are beds and tables imitative tribe.many of each. A. The speakers are Socrates things which are in heaven or in the realm of and Glaucon. And there is another artificer . courage to ulter it. himself included. Who is he? Can you give me a general definition of imita. there is none which upon reflec. Put your question. Plato. he said. 30 PLATO . or rather. all poetical imitations are ruinous in the world . form: . shall we begin the inquiry at this To our refusal to admit the imitative kind of point. I could not muster tion pleases me belter than the rule about poetry. that I should know. Taylor. but keener.

what is he in rela- be speaking the truth. He must be a wizard and no mistake. which the painter also creates a bed? Is there not? So it seems. He is the author of this and of denoted by the word bed.just such Very true.Do you think he tries REPUBLIC. bed? And what shall we say of the carpenter . again both possessed the form. and so are all other imitators. there are three of them. in nature. there are many maker of the bed. but they would be appearances would still appear behind them of which they only. and if anyone were to say that the work maker? of the maker of the bed. . he said. then. and furniture and all the other things of which we Why is that? were just now speaking. then. he replied. and the such beds neither ever have been nor ever will be earth and yourself. Shall we. whether from choice or from necessity. but only a particular all other things. which is made by God. are you? Do you carpenter? mean that there is no such maker or creator. as I conceive. BOOK X 31 . has real existence. three artists who superintend them: God. which r is essentially creates is untrue. him as the imitator of that which the others No wonder. but only some semblance of But would you call the painter an artificer and existence. Because even if He had made but two. as I think that we That appears to be so. another . speak of Him as the natural And what of the maker of the bed? Were you author or maker of the bed? not saying that he too makes. in one sense there might be a maker of all these And the work of the painter is a third? things but in another not? Do you see that there is Yes. is he not? God knew this. And No one. tion to the bed? Not. an imitator? Suppose now that by the light of the examples Certainly. the real maker of a real bed.for no one else can be the maker? Then about the imitator we are agreed. a third Yes. tinct expression of truth. not a kind of bed. And the painter too is. a way in which you could make them all yourself? Beds. mirror round and round . I said. made by God. an appearance only. are of three kinds. not he also the maker of a bed? Then if he does not make a real object he can. here we find three beds: one existing truth. he said. and there are And what way is this? he asked. that we may fairly designate who make a business of these discussions. Good. that his work too is an indis. I suppose. Certainly not. he could hardly be supposed to Yet if he is not the maker. now. not make what is. he said. and other animals and plants. in the mirror. Yes. he replied. at least. what about the painter? . or rather. the An easy way enough. or of any other workman. is third in the descent from nature.you would soon made one bed in nature and one only.is Yes. Yes. and But then I suppose you will say that what he therefore He created a bed. he said. but here again. accomplished. inasmuch as by the natural which according to our view is the real object process of creation. then. in the view of those I think. and the painter? ways in which the feat might be quickly and easily Yes. and He desired to be Of course. he said. make. then you call him whose product No wonder. There is another which is the work of the Oh! you are incredulous. And yet there is a sense in and by nature one only. I think. just offered we inquire who this imitator is? And so if the tragic poet is an imitator. or that Yes. may say . and that would be Very good. is thrice removed from the king and from the Well then. you are coming to the point the real bed and not the two others. he too If you please. none quicker than that of turning a God.a creator of appearances. two or more enough make the sun and the heavens. I said. I did. not the idea Yes.

we press the same question upon them about the self was unable to analyze the nature of knowl. he tion of things as they are. he may deceive children or simple per. not ask them. and he who has not this knowl. obliquely or directly or from any other point of and good poets do really know the things about view? Or does it simply appear different. and the education of man. the difference is only apparent." then saying that these poets know all the arts. Now let me ask you another question: Which Now do you suppose that if a person were able is the art of painting designed to be . he said. considered. because not in the third . and that part But the real artist. and. he said. and What do you mean? could easily be made without any knowledge of I mean to ask whether a bed really becomes dif. he said. and all we say to him. and cerned. I think that we can only retort that he is a by a poet. as if he had noth- Then the imitator is a long way off the truth. and would desire to leave as memorials of painter. as they were by simple creature who seems to have been deceived Asclepius. without which they seem to the many to speak so well? being really so? And the same of all things. But we have a right to know respecting edge and ignorance and imitation. carpenter. in case any poet has been a doctor and every single thing with a higher degree of and not a mere imitator of medical parlance. touches on a small part of them. and indeed all divine things too. I said. "Friend Homer. and all things else that anybody knows. remove from truth in what you say of virtue. though he would be interested in realities and not in imita- knows nothing of their arts. And surely. an imitator . ancient or modem. warfare.afier all. cobbler. which are the chiefest And next.an imita. ing higher in him? and can reproduce all things because he lightly I should say not. because they are appearances only and ferent when it is seen from different points of view. where virtue and vice are con. by the good poet cannot compose well unless he our definition. they may not As they are or as they appear? you have still to have remembered when they saw their works that determine this. tors and been deceived by them. if he is a good tions. and they will fancy that they to be the theme of them.of would seriously devote himself to the image- appearance or of reality? making branch? Would he allow imitation to be Of appearance. Nor shall whom he thought all-knowing. or only the creation of artificers? sion. he would prefer ter from a distance. Yes. or as they appear . We ought to consider worse in private or public life. like the Asclepiads. instead of sons when he shows them his picture of a carpen. to discern what pursuits make men better or edge can never be a poet. the administration of States. should by all means be Yes. the ruling principle of his life.to imitate in each case that which originally exists whether here also there may not be a similar illu- in nature. other arts. that would be to him a source of Certainly. tell us what State 32 PLATO . because he him. we have to consider tragedy and noblest subjects of his poems. strategy. or what disciples in medicine a poet by some wizard or imitator whom he met. my friend.and if you are able knows his subject. from calling Homer regard all such claims: Whenever anyone or any other poet to account regarding those arts informs us that he has found a man who knows all to which his poems incidentally refer: We will the arts. and we may and its leader. being the author of encomiums. The question. the truth. "if you are only in the second things human. himself works many and fair.not an image maker. for we hear some persons fairly ask him about them. are looking at a real carpenter. and. Most true. Homer. not realities? Or. they may be in the right. he said. Perhaps they may have come across imita- The latter.whoever tells us show what patients have been restored to health this. For example: A painter will paint a those things which he chose also to imitate. and has left behind him. I said. these were thrice removed from the truth. that is. to make the original as well as the image. this is how we should Now let us refrain. to accuracy than any other man . much greater honor and profit. who had real knowledge of an image. or any other artisan.

tators. Pythagorean way of life? who are as ignorant as he is. And is it ilarly benefited by others. I say. but have no contact with practical genius such as Thales the Milesian or the truth? The poet is like a painter who. the companion of or of military tactics. Homeric way of life. bling. would have allowed either of done them any good? Italy and Sicily boast of them to go about as rhapsodists. I replied. such as was established by In like manner the poet with his words and Pythagoras who was especially beloved for this phrases! may be said to lay on the colors of the reason and whose followers are to this day con. or have been a good legislator to them and have again of Hesiod.] REPUBLIC. are only imi- clever improvements in the arts. Glaucon. that he would beautiful. bloom of youth has passed away from them? ored and loved by them? Protagoras of Abdera. and other people. to stay at home with them? Or. For his words. Socrates. not even the Homer. beginning with Homer.and this 'Or. or in other oper. rhythm by nature have. Then must we not infer that all these poetical Or is there anything comparable to those individuals. if what is said is true. and making men love them that their companions all many other cities great and small have been sim. himself understanding. in meter Homer. and who handed down to posterity a Quite so. and judge only he in his lifetime friends who loved to associate by colors and figures. will make a likeness of a There is absolutely nothing of the kind. would not stay. several arts. and observe this point: The imita- only to whisper to their contemporaries: "You tor or maker of the image knows nothing. he speaks very well- makes us laugh.if he had Yes. with him. which are said to have been due to men of themes of their poetry. is quite true. have Come now.can you imagine. was ever better governed by your help? The good ingenious device of theirs has such an effect in order of Lacedaemon is due to Lycurgus. that. and judge only from Nothing of the kind is recorded of him. and his picture is good enough for those was he privately a guide or teacher of any? Had who know no more than he do[s. if the master ids themselves pretend that he was a legislator. if Homer never did any public service. but only blooming. that is the tradition. and Prodicus of Ceos. and a host of others. Exactly. then the disciples would have fol- Well. he said. their nature spicuous among others by what they term the only enough to imitate them. and recited in simple prose. You have imagine. Creophylus. For I am sure that you that Homer was greatly neglected by him in his know what a poor appearance the works of poets own day when he was alive? make when stripped of the colors which art puts Yes. and been hon.that if Homer had really been seen some examples? able to educate and improve mankind . imagine that if he speaks of cobbling. and have compelled them I think not. until they had got carried on successfully owing to his leadership or education enough? counsel? Yes. but who says that you conceivable that the contemporaries of Homer. but is there any war on record which was lowed him about everywhere. I think. seen when the not have attracted many followers. if they had really Charondas. might be more justly ridiculed such is the sweet influence which melody and for his want·of breeding. we will never be able to manage either your own house or your own State until you appoint us to be your ministers of education" . whose name always and harmony and rhythm. surely. or of anything else. as we Anacharsis the Scythian? have already observed. said Glaucon. who copy images of virtue and the other ations. cobbler though he understands nothing of cob- But. Socrates. and there is Solon who is renowned been able to help mankind forward in virtue? among us. BOOK X 33 . been capable of knowledge and not been a mere They are like faces which were never really imitator . "with his nouns and verbs. But can you upon them. that child of flesh. There is not. but what city has anything to say about Would they not have been as unwilling to part you?" Is there any city which he might name? with them as with gold." [Tr. but carry them about on their shoulders.

since he associates with one who knows. I conjure you . hardly even the workers in Nay. for example. will make them accordingly? sight is liable. looked at out of the water. and the concave becomes convex. And still he will go on imitating without know- man who knows how to use them . only the horse. Imitation is only a kind of play makes. and he must report to which imitation makes its special appeal? the maker the good or bad qualities which What do you mean? develop themselves in use. removed from the truth? True. Certainly. is relative solely to the And now tell me. the flute I will explain: The same body does not appear player will tell the flute maker which of his flutes equal to our sight when seen near and when seen is satisfactory to the performer. and Very true. paints is correct or beautiful? or will he have right Then let us have a clear understanding. in iambic or in heroic verse. another which what he imitates.have said. The imitative poet will be in a brilliant state of But does the painter know the right form of the intelligence about the theme of his poetry? bit and reins? Nay. owing to the illusion about colors to which the confiding in him. and may be their right form. but about the the human mind on which the art of painting in excellence or badness of it the maker will possess a correct belief. he knows appear. he will tell him at a distance? how he ought to make them. the goodness and badness of flutes. brass and leather who make them.2 are imitators in the And the excellence and beauty and rightness highest degree? of every structure. Neither. whereas the user will have knowledge? 2Dramatists wrote in iambic verse and epic poets in dac- True. Thus every sort of confusion is True. appears to be good to the ignorant multitude? And may we not say the same of all things? Just so. 34 PLATO . very much the reverse.he knows ing what makes a thing good or bad. Then beyond doubt it is the user who has the And what kind of faculty in man is that to greatest experience of them. revealed within us. a third which imitates them? or sport. ion than he will have know ledge about the good- And the worker in leather and brass will make ness or badness of his models? them? I suppose not. and not opinion from being compelled to associate with be satisfied with half an explanation. whether they write Yes. and this is that weakness of The instrument is the same. and crooked when in So the one pronounces with knowledge about the water. But will the imitator have either? Will he ances only. while the other. attend to his instructions? And the same objects appear straight when Of course.this imita- use for which nature or the artist has intended tion is concerned with an object which is thrice them. Am I not right? know from use whether or not that which he Yes. and the tragic poets. tylic hexameters . of true existence. and is compelled to hear what he has to say."heroic" verse. Certainly. animate or inanimate. expected therefore to imitate only that which Most true. and the other will True. another who knows and gives him instructions Proceed. and he will paint a bit? Then an imitator will no more have true opin- Yes. What? Thus far then we are pretty well agreed that the That there are three arts which are concerned imitator has no know ledge worth mentioning of with all things: one which uses. about what he should paint? Of the painter we say that he will paint reins. of every action of man.

or does other ingenious devices impose. similar oppositions occurring at the· same Then that part of the soul which has an opin. is the truer statement. but let us once more standing .been traryopinions at the same time about the same already admitted. contradicted by the appearance which the instance of sight there was confusion and opposi- objects present? tion in his opinions about the same things. What was the omission? And the part of the soul which trusts to mea. and rightly. which is most. moment? ion contrary to measure can hardly be the same And we were right. But will he have no sorrow. he said.light and shadow. BOOK X 35 . as they imagine. having an effect it extend to the hearing also. and that they have no true The fact of being seen will make a great dif- or healthy aim. many things which he would be ashamed of any- course with an inferior has inferior offspring. Were we not saying that a good man. I said. or more imitative poetry has converse. are engaged upon pro. surely. thus far we were right. but give way before the power of calculation and By all means. on a probability derived weighing come to the rescue of the human under. True. as in the time. and Tell me: will he be more likely to struggle and are also the companions and friends and associ. one hearing. but there with measure? was an omission which must now be supplied. for I remember that all this has . Is there anything more? And often when this principle measures and No. that although he cannot help sorrowing. involuntary. the art of conjuring. hold out against his sorrow when he is seen by his ates of a principle within us which is equally equals. relating in fact to upon us like magic. Exactly. or shall we say This was the conclusion at which I was seek.there is the beauty of them . tates the actions of men. indeed. what we term poetry? True. When he is by himself he will not mind saying The imitative art is an inferior who from inter. again. no longer have the mastery over us. The latter. also is there not strife and inconsistency in his But did we not say that such a contradiction is life? Though I need hardly raise the question impossible . and they rejoice or sorrow To be sure. is good or bad. Probably the same would be true of poetry. whether voluntary or And this. dear to him. measuring and weighing? We may state the question thus: Imitation imi- Most true. so here True. with that which has an opinion in accordance Yes. or when he is alone in a deserted place? removed from reason. and many And is this confined to the sight only. would not care to be seen doing? REPUBLIC. No doubt. or that some But in all this variety of circumstances is the. I said. there is nothing else. who has sure and calculation is likely to be the better one? the misfortune to lose his son or anything else Certainly. certifies that some things are equal. are greater or less than others. and also doing many things which he Very true. it is. at the same man at unity with himself .with go directly to that faculty of the mind with which the result that the apparent greater or less.the same faculty cannot have con. he said. and the soul has been acknowl- thing? edged by us to be full of these and ten thousand We did. And the arts of measuring and numbering and Do not rely. on which. a good or culating and rational principle in the soul? bad result has ensued. ference. and see whether it or heavier.will bear the loss with And therefore that which is opposed to this is more equanimity than another? probably an inferior principle in our nature? Yes. he said.or rather. moderate his sorrow? and imitation in general. accordingly. must be the work of the cal. ductions which are far removed from truth. he will ing to arrive when I said that painting or drawing. from the analogy of painting.

maintain.the best of irrational. order our affairs in tbe way thinks tbe same thing at one time great· and at which reason deems best. and wasting time in setting up a howl. awful thing? Well then. tbe higher principle is ready Yes. I said. while it is tbe affliction ular is not by nature made. in which he represents some hero recollection of our troubles and to lamentation. he said. Certainly. delight in giving way to sympathy. because no human thing is of serious the reason. you know. like children who another small. keeping hold of the part struck is very far removed from tbe truth. accustoming the soul forthwith to apply a rem. Indeed. I say. he is the law? ' like him. raising up that which is sickly and fallen. as Clearly. part of the soul. also. Very true. for he is like him Certainly. as I conceive. And now we may fairly take him and place ples in him? him by the side of tbe painter. but always Exactly. as we shall What is most required? he asked. which inclines us to the tragedians. As in a city when tbe evil are permit- importance. materials for imitation? Whereas tbe wise and . not. who is drawling out his sorrows in a long oration. on the opposite quality . and can never have enough of them. and grief stands in the way. and are in raptures at the excellence of the poet Now does not tbe principle which is thus who stirs our feelings most.he is an imitator of images and have had a fall. for he indulges the irrational nature happened. we affirm. and nothing is gained by impa. Clearly. nor is his art intended. if the effect is what you say. Butwe have not yet brought forward the heav- edy. us. that is the true way of meeting are very few who are not harmed) is surely an the attacks of fortune. furnish a great variety of Yes. and smiting his breast . But when any sorrow of our own happens to calm temperament. of tbe way. we may. when we listen to a passage of Homer or one of But the other principle. inasmuch as his creations have One of them is ready to follow the guidance of an inferior degree of truth . soul. he said. to and from the same object. but he will appeal ratber to tbe lachrymose But when a man is drawn in two opposite and·fitful temper. of tbat ted to wield power and the finer men are put out which at the moment is most required. but according to their fall.we would fain be quiet tated. and cowardly? us. directions. and he is also like him in being the asso- How do you mean? ciate of an inferior part of tbe soul. which has no discernment of greater and less. certainly. and When tbe dice have been thrown. and this is The law would say that to be patient under enough to show that we shall be right in refusing calamity is best. and promiscuous crowd is assembled in a theater. this.in this. which is easily imitated? . then you 'may observe that we pride ourselves is not easy to imitate or to appreciate when imi. And doubtless it is the law and reason in him Then tbe imitative poet who aims at being pop- which bids him resist. being always nearly equable. useless. and by strengthening it impairs tience. poetry has of harming even the good (and there Yes. necessarily implies two distinct princi. we may call or singing. iest count in our accusation: The power which banishing the cry of sorrow by the healing art. the imitative poet implants an evil con- That we should take counsel about what has stitution. so in tbe soul of each man. in two ways: first. True. because he awakens and nourishes this are not clear. PLATO . itself which is urging him to indulge his sorrow? to please or to affect the rational principle in the True. and that we should not give way to admit him into a State which is to be well to impatience. as the good and evil in such things ordered. tbis is considered the manly part. strangers. For the other which delighted us in tbe recitation is the feeling represented is one to which they are now deemed to be tbe part of a woman. to follow this suggestion of reason?· Hear and judge: The best of us. inclined to complaint. of course I know. especially at a public festival when a and patient.

he said. ness or want of politeness.of "the yelping hound howling at her greatly amused by them. REPUBLIC. that when in misfortune again and again and get to know him and regulate we feel a natural hunger and desire to relieve our your whole life according to him. while profess.we are very conscious Quite true. is now let out assure the poetry which aims at pleasure. of her charms. in human nature the "subtle thinkers who are beggars after all. with any of the eulogists of Homer. quite reasonable from one point of he has been the educator of Hellas. let us tell her that there lous? There are jests which you would be ashamed is an ancient quarrel between philosophy and to make yourself. I said. which we have described. he thinks that the pleasure is a gain. she lets them rule. must remain firm in our conviction that hymns to allows the sympathetic element to break loose the gods and praises of famous men are the only because the sorrow is another's. for reason constrained How very true! us. reasonableness of our former judgment in sending tunes of others is with difficulty repressed in our away out of our State an art having the tendencies own. that the contagion must pass And now since we have reve. of desire and pain and pleasure. I dare say. he said. /"' should imagine. whenever you meet No. Glaucon. greatest of poets and first of tragedy writers. delighted to receive her . which and there are innumerable other signs of ancient you once restrained by reason because you were enmity between them." and repeated. denigrating both poets and philosophers. Glaucon. not hav. person? Therefore. as far as their lights extend. which by common lamentation. consent have ever been deemed best. which are held to be inseparable from every action . fancies that there can be no disgrace to himself in For if you go beyond this and allow the honeyed praising and pitying anyone who.. although they unknown. . profitable for education and for the ordering of What point of view? human things. we may love and sorrow by weeping and lamentation. of which there are many proofs.in all of them poetry has a like effect. the whole poem. let us afraid of being thought a buffoon. and having stimulated the risible faculty at art of imitation. and all the other affections. it feeds and waters the passions instead of 3Socrates is alluding to various proverbs. there is a principle. but we ing been sufficiently trained by reason or habit. that is certainly not reasonable.declaring that Nay. I said. and that he is view. such as indeed in private. I said. and the spectator poetry which ought to be admitted into our State. and yet on the comic stage. you are betrayed unconsciously to to exist in a well-ordered State we shall be yourself into playing the comic poet at home. and our own calamities is satisfied and delighted by we are ready to acknowledge that Homer is the the poets. and this. and are not at all dis.rted to the subject from others to themselves. BOOK X 37 . either in epic or lyric verse.3 which is disposed to raise a laugh. but it would not be right on that And the same may be said of lust and anger account to betray the truth. he said." or of one "mighty in the vain talk of fools. that if she will only prove her title the theater. but pleasure and is far from wishing to lose it by rejection of and pain will be the rulers in our State. Few persons ever reflect. and that you should take him up If you consider." gusted at their unseemliness. But that she may not impute to us any harsh- And does not the same hold also of the ridicu. and the again. Now can we be right in praising and admiring ought to be controlled if mankind are ever to another who is doing that which anyone of us increase in happiness and virtue. the better nature in each of us. the case of pity is and "the mob of sages circumventing Zeus. For the pity which has of poetry. would abominate and be ashamed of in his own I cannot deny it. when you hear them. gives way to untimely and the reason of mankind. or poetry. and that this honor those who say these things . Muse to enter. lord. let this our defense serve to show the been nourished and strengthened in the misfor.. you are the saying. otherwise drying them up. as I That is most true. not law ing to be a brave man.they are very feeling which is starved and suppressed in excellent people. Notwithstanding this.

Ion SOCRATES: Welcome. poetry. Epidaurus. minor divinities connected with Apollo. Ion! And whence come SOCRATES: So? And did you compete? And you now to pay us a visit? From your home in how did you succeed? Ephesus? ION: We carried off first prize. Socrates. he said. behalf: let them show not only that she is pleasant fearing for the safety of the city which is within but also useful to States and to human life. then. be profited if under the influence of honor or but put a restraint upon themselves when they money or power. one never could be a rhapsode if one did not com- 2Proffessionals who delivered recitations of poetry. prehend the utterances of the poet. and especially when she appears in Homer? therefore we shall be glad if she appears at her Yes. You have to understand his thought. ION: No. and he who listens to her. or under the excitement of think their desires are opposed to their interests. he said. It is an enviable lot! In fact. And what will anyone other persons who are enamored of something. now. he said. but so long as she is unable to Shall I propose.that you are as much charmed by her as I am. shall be a charm to us. must become an interpreter of the poet's thought to PLATO . have a contest SOCRATES: I must say. my dear friend. the best and most divine of all. which we will repeat to that she make a defense of herself in some lyrical ourselves while we listen to her strains. At all events we are And we may further grant to those of her well aware that poetry. like that of other merely learn his lines. that there is a Yes. which captivates the many. this argument of ours return from exile. SOCRATES: What! Do the citizens of ION: It shall be so. Socrates. whether a If her defense fails. his festival. Ion. espe. should be on his guard against her seduc- will listen in a kindly spirit. then. and meanwhile you must be conversant with many excellent poets. we shall be the gainers. They have every sort of requires of you always to go in fine array. I said. We too are argument. and espe- cially with Homer. issue at stake. greater than appears. as beautiful as you can. Your art ION: Indeed they do. and not IGreek god of medicine. the gainers if this can be proved. education of noble States has implanted in us. like man is to be good or bad. he neglect justice and virtue? so too must we after the manner of lovers give her Yes. my dear Glaucon. I have been convinced by the up. God willing. but upon this condition only. I quite agree with you. as I believe that anyone else would inspired by that love of such poetry which the have been. for we shall surely be tions and make our words his law. that we or other meter? may not fall away into the childish love of her Certainly. use in poetry as well as a delight? Yes. for great is the Certainly. indeed. I am often envious between rhapsodes2 too? of you rhapsodists in your profession. that she be allowed to make good her defense. such as we have defenders who are lovers of poetry and yet not described. Translated by Lane Cooper. for the rhapsode cially of Homer and the other epic poets. best and truest. and look musical competition. I come from Epidaurus and SOCRATES: Well done! See to it. though not--Without a struggle. is not to be regarded seriously as poets the permission to speak in prose on her attaining to the truth. I am greatly charmed. and we him. was the occasion for artistic perfonnances and competitions. aye. that we the festival of Asclepius.! win the Panathenaea also. in honoring the god.

will excite one's envy. of course. and what foods are wholesome. SOCRATES: Is there any point on which both When several persons are discussing number. then. SOCRATES: But what about the cases where they SOCRATES: And this will be the one who do not say the same? For example. ION: Obviously. And. would you interpret better what these two poets given person see the excellence of the best say. or such fine ones. Socrates. or in Hesiod and Archilochus as well? SOCRATES: He in a better way? ION: No. only in regard to Homer. SOCRATES: Well now. but. or would one of the diviners. would you ION: I agree. SOCRATES: We may therefore generalize. ION: No doubt the same. In my opinion I deserve to be crowned SOCRATES: And what about the other poets? with a wreath of gold by the Homeridae? Haven't they dealt with these same themes? SOCRATES: Another time I shall find leisure to ION: Yes. ION: Yes.those who listen. and on the art of divination. ION: Manifestly. to me. And I judge that I. of all men. will a it. there are many cases will be someone who distinguishes the good of it. the same. I think. Socrates. do so? or will the same man distinguish both? ION: One of the diviners. Are not these the subjects Horner dealt with in his ION: Not at all. or subject. seems enough. nor Glaucon. yes. as they forgather. that neither that all the other poets treat of? Wasn't his subject Metrodorus of Lampsacus. take the art of knows the art of numbers? divination. SOCRATES: But suppose you were a diviner. Homer. ones. as well as special craftsmen. not in the same way. and to do this well is quite impos. and where they differ on one of them speaks better than the rest. but not in Hesiod or the other poets? concern. I should do equally well with both. that you are skilled all events. the admirers of Homer. to me that ION: Better indeed. and say: When several persons are discussing a given 3 A group of poets who claimed descent from Homer. or the general run lived. or will it ION: In the cases where they say the same. I warranryou. explain as well the passages where they differ? All that. Are you skilled in Homer only. and another the inferiority of the worst. would you not be competent to sible unless one knows just what the poet is saying. is talking well on it. hear your recitation. gods to one another and to men. ION: Quite so. SOCRATES: That is pleasant news. and hasn't he discussed the mutual Thasos. Socrates. tell me. for the phenomena of the heavens and occurrences in obviously you will not begrndge me a display of the underworld. Horner and Hesiod both speak of it. where they agree. speaker? SOCRATES: In those cases. it really is poetry? worthwhile to hear how well I have embellished ION: What you say is true. nor Stesimbrotus of mainly war. where they say the same cussing diet. Socrates. ION: Far worse. and the birth of gods and heroes? your talent. and the one who is talking ION 39 . Homer and Hesiod say the same thing? and one of them talks better than the rest. one of the good speaker. interpret what Homer says better than what SOCRATES: It will be the same one who distin- Hesiod says? guishes those who are speaking badly. When several are dis- SOCRATES: Well then.is it. this aspect of the art has given the most in Homer. SOCRATES: Tell me. the man who can distinguish the one who more generally in this case. At the moment do but SOCRATES: How so? In a worse way than he? answer me so far. ION: What you say is true. 101} darling. I think so. then. have the Does Homer treat of matters different from those finest things to sayan Homer. nor anyone else who ever relations of men good and bad. at SOCRATES: How. had so many reflections. Ion. the relations of the to present on Homer as have 1. there ION: Indeed. be another? Socrates. SOCRATES: Who is he? What is he called? If you were competent to explain the passages ION: The doctor.

I frankly doze. Ion. good and bad? ION: And what I say is true. and rhapsody. poems you chant. Ion. Then the same man will be skilled place remark. among them Hesiod and Archil. and on the harp. we shall not be mistaken. and that everybody else avers I do it ION: Yes. the same is and knowledge comes your power to speak con. For example. take the question I just now ION: That is so. the not right? rhapsodist at Ithaca. or the works of any other single SCUlptor. the same whenever one takes an art in its entirety. when I said that the inquiry is ION: Yes. and is attentive. Have you ever seen a man with the poets who speak worse. so in the works of other painters? A man who. see what that means. but on the other poets I do not. and can offer no Epeus. you ever seen a man with the skill to judge the for my behavior? When anyone discusses any finer works of Daedalus. on my oath. SOCRATES: Then you. It well. any other art you please. SOCRATES: Or. and that the poets vir. There is an art of other poets. but is at a loss. is at a loss. has no remark ION: Yes. You never saw then you could speak about all the other poets as a man with the skill to judge of Olympus. works of Polygnotus. and the SOCRATES: And there. is at a loss. singing to the harp. if you can recognize the SOCRATES. confronted by the works of other sculptors. will always be the same. all treat of the same subjects. as I think. On that I cannot contradict you. I never saw one. son of poet who speaks well. when you take it as a ION. true of playing on the flute. SOCRATES: I only wish you were right in say.badly. Now. It has to express a judgment on one partiCUlar painter. whole? The same method of inquiry holds for all But of this thing I am conscious. but when he and all other poets. the same fashion. I never saw the like. or of Orpheus. If it were art that gave you power. and his SOCRATES: And is not the case the same with success or failure in reciting. take Polygnotus. The riddle is not hard to solve. Well then. my ION: No. friend. dozes when we say that Ion has equal skill in Homer off. if he does not the rhapsodists and actors. Ion. and on him have what I mean by that? much to say. has nothing to suggest. take sculpture. 40 PLATO • . or of other poet. and dozes off. could also recognize the Aglaophon. but without the power to do ION: SO it seems. immediately I am but. and full of things to say. There is an art of poetry as a whole? Am I Thamyras. and in fact will pro- ing that. SOCRATES: Now you assert that Homer and the Let us reason the matter out. granted that the subject is the same. Observe what a trivial and common- SOCRATES. awake. again. something any- with respect to both? one might know. and is full of things to say? speak of the same matters. ceed to show you what to my mind it betokens. Socrates. wakes same man will befompetent to judge of all who up. of men in speaking about Homer. to make concerning Ion the Ephesian. on my oath. Samos. and see that they speak skill to point out what is good and what is not in the worse. Have ION: Then what can be the reason. sinee you yourself admit that the say Polygnotus or anyone else you choose. or of Theodorus of remark of any value. it is plain to everyone that not from art SOCRATES. I pay no attention. while I have nothing else to tell clearly. No. SOCRATES: I do see. ION: Yes indeed. ION: No. Or. or of Phemius. that I excel all the arts? Do you want some explanation. painting taken as a whole? ochus. but the one speaks well.are and have been many rest of them speak worse. when SOCRATES: Well then. then. and the men whose recognize the one who is talking badly. gives mejoy to listen to you wise men. Socrates. son of Metion. ever anyone mentions Homer. after the fashion of the ordinary talking well. tually all deal with the same subjects.it was that I uttered. anybody shows the works of other painters. Socrates. of well. man. painters. and cerning Homer. Yet further. son of Panopeus. my best of friends. neither will he recognize the one who is besides the truth. But "wise men"! That means you. yet not all in ION: Yes. without a thing to say? SOCRATES. upon my word I do. attentive. asked you. must be so. But when.

the language spoken by Socrates 4Pemale worshippers of Dionysus ·whose rites drove them takes on the rhythms of the dithyramb . according to Ion? Don't you think that I am right?5 their own report. and they bring them as the bees do poets convey to us these utterances of the gods. ides called the magnet. For all of them. all gle poem worth recalling. wellnigh the finest of all but are inspired. since if it were by art impelling you like the power in the stone Eurip. and are possessed . but not when in their senses. but that it is another. for a poet is a light and winged thing. and it does rills that run with honey. another out before his feet. and a chain is formed. say. but by power divine. have their excellence. The Bacchae. and thus they utter all lyrical poems. this gift you have of speaking one of them is poor. And ing is not by art. their power the god himself who speaks. No. and absolutely what he called it. So long as he has this in of interpreters? his possession. of iron rings.As I just now said. they are seized with preters of the gods. Therefore. that is. . You are chanting. and interpret the utterances of the poets? holy. ION: You are indeed. to chant in prophecy. and poured the arrows panegyric odes. another choral songs. draw milk and honey this. it is a power divine.as the divinity to whom he is in bondage. the story of able to do well only that to which the Muse has Odysseus as he leaped up to the dais. save the song of praise the good ones. true. not from art. each one possessed by the the Bacchic transport. that these lovely poems are not of man are not in their senses when they make these or human workmanship." This stone does not simply attract the too. you are interpreters son is no longer in him. along with soothsayers and godly seers. an these admirable poems. when possessed. SOCRATES: Accordingly. the spirit of the lyric poet works. that-they knew how to treat one subject finely.He never composed a sin- asm. again. And to prove bacchauts. when once they launch the gods. Tynnichus of Chalcis. these. Suppose you are fine about the deeds of men. ION 41 . lest in their senses when they dance." By this example above lyric poets. so the lyric poets we doubt. another iambs. suspended from one while their mind is not within them. don't they. For the poets tell us.therefore each is most deeply. and thrill the spectators Homer. Isn't it so. which everyone repeats. and never able to compose until he has ION: There also you are right. becomes articulate to us. SOCRATES: Wait now. about 5In the preceding speech. and you rhapsodists. In all the rest.the traditional hymn to frenzy. for not by art do they utter well on Homer is not an art. another himself to the suitors. and then through evidence of this statement is offered by these inspired ones others share in the enthusi. and is beside himself. Euripides. as the worshiping Corybantes4 are not all.as though he himself were in an inspired state. the god would show us. cf. it also imparts to bereft them of their senses. it thing as the stone itself. and that the poets are nothing but inter- into harmony and rhythm. since their mak. so that sometimes a chain is formed. or of Achilles rushing upon epic poems. which most call "stone of they would know how to deal with all the others Heraclea. flying like the bees? And what they say is SOCRATES: Well. but is by lot divine . however. no man is able to make poetry or ION: Undeniably. honey. or one of the pitiful passages. become inspired. unmasked impelled him . to attract another is in order that we listeners may know that it is ring. So is it also with the good "Invention of the Muses. when they utter many things and answer frankly what I ask you. to Dionysus . Ion. and rea. The most convincing She first makes men inspired. quite a not they who utter these precious revelations long one. So lyrics through the most miserable poet. your that the melodies they bring us are gathered from words in some way touch my very soul. tell me this. just by themselves. for the epic poets. it seems to me. and through them depends upon that loadstone. but are divine and from lovely lyric poems. each Hector.one to make dithyrambs. the deity on purpose sang the loveliest of all from the rivers. Just so the Muse. Herein lies the reason why the deity has iron rings. I vow! Socrates. possessed. just as you do about reciting epic poetry well. out of glens and gardens seem to me that by dispensation from above good of the Muses. and uses them as min- the rings a force enabling them to do the same isters.

are you in your senses? Or are you to that. the rhapsodist and actor. for I know them. and haven't a thing to for me! I will tell you frankly that whenever I recite say. you fall asleep. stricken with amazement at the deeds heard me speaking upon Homer. on those matters loadstone? You. lot divine that you are eloquent in praise of SOCRATES: Now then. indeed. I'll repeat them to you. though nobody is strip. ION: And the matters Homer tells of. and you have much to say. let me do it. and are possessed by Homer. my eyes are filled with tears. or Hecuba. I see sessed or mad when I praise Homer. And yet I too? should be much surprised if by your argument ION: Yes. I take it. I do it on every is the last of the rings I spoke of. I grant you. or science do you say of Homer what you say. others are in horse race in honor of Patroclus. One poet is suspended from one Muse. for instance. since he is held. ION: No. and he weeps. others by Musaeus. obliquely fastened to if I can recollect the lines. Socrates. do you see that the spectator ION: I assure you. melody are well supplied with attitudes and utter- standing in the presence of more than twenty ances. at a sacrifice or possession. Socrates. his son. thousand friendly people. adorned with lively feeling for that strain alone which is of the golden chaplets. got up in holiday attire. does not Homer in many another. On laugh when I get my money." but says to Antilochus. my hair stands dances. Socrates. and for that nothing of his finery. but Homer middle ring. Because it is not by art but by strictly true. for if I set them weeping. I know it very well. and are filled with inspiration. and does not your soul in Orpheus. all points. But the majority an ecstasy conceive herself to be engaged in the are possessed and held by Homer. what are we to say but by dispensation from above and by divine of a man like that? There he is. the poets. but when anybody gives tongue to a strain of a tale of pity. casting terrible think that you yourself would find me so if you glances. Ion. I myself shall not until you have answered me as follows. SOCRATES: Well now. When anyone mentions Homer. where he warns him the fact is much the same. That is not about the rest. what are they? transmitting the attractive force from one into SOCRATES: Why. As I you succeeded in convincing me that I am pos- look down at them from the stage above. masters of about them? About driving a chariot. you actions you relate. but about the other poets you are at a loss. Nor do I them. you are awake at once. you are ping him or doing him damage. your spirit when it is one of horror or dismay. whether they are in Ithaca. Troy. another SOCRATES: Then recite for me what Nestor from another. we call it being "possessed. through all the series. and I do draws the spirit of men wherever he desires. the rings which are suspended from the Muse. and heed no others. or Priam. some chant these. though he has lost deity by whom they are possessed. every time. and have much to say chain hangs down. without exception. 42 PLATO . So the worshiping Corybantes have a festival. produce the same effects in most of the spectators ION: Well put. Socrates. tells of? But it is the deity who. And so it is with you. Shall we say that ready. some by carried out of yourself. as from the loadstone. I have to give them very close SOCRATES: And indeed I wish to hear you. Or he recoils with fear. are you aware that you Homer. and this one. in the lay of the from these primary rings. and my heart goes leaping. some attached to this one. for not by art up on end with fear. of choric dancers. the chorus. the man is in his senses? You ask me why you are ready about Homer and ION: Never. When you turn suspended. Ion. In fact. upon my word. are the of which you happen to be ignorant. or are one of these. and the first one is the poet himself. it what point in Homer do you speak well? Not on is I who have to weep at losing it. which receive point. and. you make your proof other poet. but if they laugh.Andromache. I fancy. not know. Ion. And to be careful at the turning post. or wherever the story puts them? And whenever anyone chants the work of any ION: How vivid. a mighty passages speak of arts. but attention. SOCRATES: Well. weeping. their force from one another by virtue of the SOCRATES: Yet not. underrnasters. And so. recounted.

do doubt. Which yet beware to strike!6 another art not the same. ION: arithmetic.] 'Iliad 24:80-82. Suppose I asked you if we knew this Which. with hand give him free rein. take these fingers. SOCRATES: If they meant simply knowledrre of b or the rhapsode' s art. and not a charioteer? of medicine as well. ION: That is true. SOCRATES: Each separate art. lines. ION: Yes. then. nec- seem essarily. if it really is anothe. by another? But before you answer that. another art the knowledge of With brazen grater. then call upon the off horse With goad and voice. same matter. a particular occupation? I take it that what w~ SOCRATES: Doubtless because you are a rhap- know by the pilot's art we do not know by the art sode. if one does not possess whether Homer speaks aright or not. cubine. gave the wounded Machaon the broth to SOCRATES: Now with me the mark of differen- drink? The passage runs something like this: tiation is that one art means the knowledrre of one She grated goat's-milk cheese in Pramnian wine kind of thing. art. one will not be capable of rightly charioteer? knowing what belongs to it in word or action? ION: The charioteer. SOCRATES: The rhapsode's art is different SOCRATES: And what we know by medical art we do not know by the builder's art as well.that. SOCRATES: Then tell me now what just a little And at the post let the near horse come so close while ago I was on the point of asking you. ION: No indeed. Now. and you know the same as I about She plunged to the bottom like a leaden sinker them. in the lines which you other reason? recited. you and I. a doctor or a a given art. 7 names. Nestor' Sbcon- ION: Yes. Does That the nave of the well-wrought wheel shall that seem true to you of all the arts . which will have the better knowledge ION: No. aud so it is with all the arts? What we know by one of them. because it is his art. mounted on the homtip from a field ox. it is a SOCRATES: Well. and so I give them their respective brew. the same art makes us know the same To graze the stone. I know that there are five of them. Ion. [Tr. properly or not. just tell SOCRATES: Now what about the passarre in me this. [Tr. we do not know knowledge also about other matters. adding onion as a relish to the another. which will be more capable of judging SOCRATES: Well then. Socrates. then. [Tr. Do you do that? On the question whether Homer here speaks ION: Yes. when SOCRATES: What of this? The passage in both would give us the same knowledge? For which Homer says: example.] ION 43 . To the left of them. ION: Yes.s 'Iliad rr:639-40. I fancy you would hold that we knew it by the same? Thyself lean slightly in the burnished car ION: Yes. it must make us know something else? SOCRATES: That will do. to discriminate aright? the same things. or for some SOCRATES: Then. or by different arts. art from another? Why call them different. Do you allow a distinction between arts? One differs from another? which Homer tells how Hecamede. why should we distinguish one ION: The art of the physician. is it for the art of the physician. from the charioteer's? ION: Yes. you or a assigned to it by the deity the power of knowin rr charioteer? ION: The charioteer. but.] 61liad 23:335. by the same art. has had whether Homer speaks aright or not. ION: No indeed. SOCRATES: Because that is his art. that of Speeds its way bringing mischief to voracious fish. SOCRATES: If it is another art. in these ION: That is my opinion.

now you severally. Come likewise. able thing for each. you are right. wretched men. it smote the bird that held it. and the bird did cast it from him. poet does. the rhapsode will know joy of battle. in the lay of the battle at the wall. SOCRATES: In "such matters" you must include There he says: approximately all the other arts. pick out for me the sort of passages. proached them. man. pick me out the passages concerning the Homer. and cheeks ION: I remember. Socrates. the diviner. the kind of things that that concern the rhapsode and the rhapsode's art. with a cry. that a man An eagle of lofty flight. diviner. you say so. it is for the art of SOCRATES: And you are right too. only such matters as that. to decide on what the appertain to the diviner to examine and to judge. in fact. by your own account sun the art of rhapsody will not know everything. and the diviner's art. doctor. a bird ap- them all. I judge. infolds the world. and the fisherman. appertain to him. Socrates. nor had it yet forgot the SOCRATES: You mean. 44 PLATO . above all other to discern whether the poetry is good or bad?" men. himself went flying on the gusty ruler should say than will the doctor? wind. either. the Are you really so forgetful? Indeed. or the rhapsode's art. what bane is this ye suffer? SOCRATES: Don't you remember how you Shrouded in night Are your heads and your faces and your limbs stated that the art of the rhapsode was different below. From both the Odyssey and Iliad I questioning. upon should say than will the pilot? the breast ION: No. Ion. I contend. The ION: All passages. Ion. verses mean.for example. Suppose that you were done for you. "Now. Beside the neck. are wet with tears. for instance. And the porch is full of ghosts. it had another field of knowledge? them.What shall we say? Is it rather for the art of fish. when a scion of Melampus. as they were eager to pass over. These passages. nor Has perished out of heaven. it would ill diviner Theoclymenus. as the rhapsode does not know the subject matter of For. w ION: No.the suit- serpent. are doubtless And he treats of it in many places in the Iliad. ing. and the SOCRATES: Well then. Hastening hellward beneath the gloom. a subject and a ruler . Still alive and struggling. SOCRATES: But suppose it is the ruler of a sick In the agony of pain. from the charioteer's? And kindled is the voice of wailing. [Tr. 9 ION: The exceptions. Well.] that suits a slave. to the earth. [Tf. and a woman would say. the hall is full of being different. Come now. And. and you admitted also that. what sort of matters will he know? . says to the wooers: become a man who is a rhapsode to forget.] ION: Yes." lOIliad 12:200-<>8. ION: The kind of thing. and asked me. treat of this matter in the Odyssey SOCRATES: Surely. since you are better versed than I in then. and an evil mist the rhapsode either. Will the rhapsode know better what the And dropped it in the middle of the throng. Socrates. better what the ruler of a ship in a storm a\ sea Writhing back. Ion. and whether they are good or not? ION: And. ION: Obviously. ION: Yes. "the kind of speech 'Odyssey 20:351-56. ION: Why? What am I forgetting? Ah. skirting the host on the left. to examine and to judge. Socrates. and others like them. would say. you don't mean all! too . you do for me what I have SOCRATES: Reflect now. SOCRATES: Well. Observe how easily and truly I can answer you. is what I say. Socrates. not in that case. you picked out for you the passages belonging to the find it is for these several arts to judge in Homer. regarding which he must be able the passages it befits the rhapsode. what appertains to each of them. SOCRATES: But you say. when fishing. and a slave And in its talons bearing a monstrous blood-red and a free man. in that case the pilot will know better.

you would know when horses selves. and Heraclides of SOCRATES: Then. and you keep offering to display it. you doubtless have the tal. Socrates. you know who which art. then you do me wrong. for instance. I do not think that holds. if It really is by SOCRATES: What. Socrates. whoever is an able rhapsode is an able general too? which Athens eventually lost to Sparta. ION 45 . do you know that horses are well ApoJlodolUs is.is it because you are a horseman. deceiving me. Far from giving the display. and you are the ablest rhap- should say to quiet angry cattie. will she not elect ION: Yes. under your dominion. but you are SOCRATES: And so. but sodist will know. if his worth SOCRATES: But when you know of military becomes apparent? Why. by far. no difference. or two? that you have much fine knowledge about Homer. not as general. of Cyzicus. You assure me the general a single art. And Ion of Ephesus." Phanosthenes of Andros. but the rhapsode? sodist in Greece? ION: Surely not. that if you are right. if you were picking out Clazomenae. when good players on the lyre. petent as a general. the rhapsodist will know SOCRATES: Then. Socrates. The same is true of man. do you know them because you are com. him general. SOCRATES: But you think the other does? That lIThe dialogue occurs during the Peloponnesian War. Ion! And suppose you happened and Lacedaemon. are you not. Ion. fact is.about the work. and accord him honors. how in heaven's name "the kind of speech that suits a man" . although he is an alien. you inhabitants of matters. though all this while I have been SOCRATES: And then. ION: I should say. is speech a general should make. SOCRATES: Well. What think you? The Greeks are in SOCRATES: What! Is the rhapsode's art the great need of a rhapsode adorned with a wreath of general's? gold. and SOCRATES: Indeed. has no need whatever of a general. Ion? The a woman" . I ION: No. ablest one in Greece? ing up of wool? ION: You may be sure of it. you are so able. along with skill in general. go about Greece performing as a rhapsode. and do not need a general at aIl?l1 ION: At all events I ought to know the kind of ION: It is because my native city. there is a single art. and not by your art as horseman? positions. you would admit that they had shown their competence. and put in other high lyre. don't you? managed . were raised 'to you discerned them by your art in playing the the generalship by the city. who nevertheless. Ephesus are originally Athenians. for. ION: Yes.a general is this? You are at once the ablest general and exhorting his soldiers? ablest rhapsodist among the Greeks. As for yours ents of a general. SOCRATES: Well. but if I asked you. you say? You art and knowledge that you are able to praise mean to call the art of the rhapsode and the art of Homer. also aliens. "It is by my skill as horse. ION: No. and yet you ION: Yes! that is the sort of thing the rhap. or as a rhapsode? and Ephesus is a city inferior to none? But the JON: I cannot see a bit of difference. SOCRATES: You mean. Ion. "the kind of speech that suits SOCRATES: And the ablest general. it is not he who will know what one SOCRATES: Well. if the slave ION: Absolutely! is a cowherd. Socrates. and your militmy rule. or ION: What might he be? because you play the lyre?" What answer would SOCRATES: The man whom the Athenians at you give me? various times have chosen for their general. Ion. "By SOCRATES: Excellent Ion. whoever is an able rhap. you think yourselves sufficient to your- playing on the lyre. neither would choose me for to have skiIJ in horsemanship. ION: To me. you sode is going to be an able general as well? will not even tell me what subject it is on which ION: Unquestionably. too. whoever happens to be an able general is an able rhapsode too. learned this also out of Homer. were well or badly ridden.one who spins .

invent tales of Egypt. if you only promised me a display lovelier to be deemed divine. This. you who are the father as arithmetic and calculation and geometry and of letters. you twist and turn. concerning Homer! So if you are an artist. Socrates. To him came Theuth and showed his which you have discovered is an aid not to inventions. how you will be called by us.entreating you to tell. desiring that the other Egyptians memory. And all in whether we shall take you for a man unjust. as ION: The difference. and he dwelt in that great city souls. and the god himself is called by them and not remember of themselves. but only the semblance of enumerated them. But if you are not an artist. the parent or inventor of there was a famous old god. the bird which is called the Ibis is sacred inutility of his own inventions to the users of to him. shall be fault. And in this instance. will be tiresome company. whether true or not they only know. just as I said you did. and praised some of them and ancients. they Translated by Benjamin Jowett. but to reminiscence. It is far I said just now. they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing. until finally you elude my Choose. the memory and for the wit. and you give your might be allowed to have the benefit of them. various arts.! most ingenious Theuth. the god of learning and the god of power. if by lot divine yours. Socrates. do them. But when they came to letters. of Upper Egypt which the Hellenes call Egyptian they will trust to the external wlitten characters Thebes. will make the Egyptians wiser and but I wish that you would tell me what you say give them better memories. It would take a long time to repeat all that you think that we should care much about the Thamns said to Theuth in praise or blame of the opinions of men? . he disciples not trnth. and. wisdom withont reality. to be in our minds divine. or of any other country. speak many things and fine about the Proteus. therefore. you are possessed by Homer.C. is great. on Homer in order to deceive me. then you are at SOCRATES: This lovelier title. they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing. or for order not to show how skilled you are in the lore a man divine. assuming every shape. because they will not use their memories. for this discovery of days the god Thamus 2 was the king of the whole yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' country of Egypt. you are just like nothing. The specific Ammon. knowing in praising Homer. and so. and Thamus enquired about truth. 'Theuth and Thamus are better known as the Egyptian gods PHAEDRUS: Yes. grasp and reveal yourself as a general. from a paternal love of your own chil- astronomy and draughts and dice. then you do no wrong.E. Thamus replied: 0 SOCRATES: At the Egyptian city of Naucratis. poet. censured others. such them. PLATO . and not an artist. bnt his great dren have been led to attribute to them a quality discovery was the use of letters. No. Now in those which they cannot have. From Phaedrus SOCRATES: I have heard a tradition of the their several uses. whose name was an art is not always the best judge of the utility or Theuth. you can easily Thoth and Ammon. it is a specific both for that you have heard. Ion. said Theuth. PHAEDRUS: Your question needs no answer. as he approved or disapproved although if we had found the truth ourselves. having the show of I A Greek trading colony in the Nile Delta founded in the seventh century H. and he was the inventor of many arts. this way and that.

the speaker SOCRATES: Then he will not seriously incline to always gives one unvarying answer. den of letters he will sow and plant. and in sober seriousness view about letters. but if you want to know anything PHAEDRUS: Certainly not. but only for tect them. to whom not: and. And when 'write' his thoughts 'in water' with pen and ink. this will be the PHAEDRUS: Whom do you mean. Would a husbandman. and I think that the Theban4 is right in his wishes to bear fruit. and they cannot protect or defend the sake of recreation and amusement. they have been once written down they are tum. whose priests baskets or shallow bowls on rooftops. The men of old. in some SOCRATES: He would be a very simple person.in the gar- maltreated or abused. which can defend 5In the midsummer festival of Adonis (the mortal but annu- ally resurrected lover of Aphrodite). plant them during the heat of summer. and having far greater path. ances. and what is pastime in which his days are spent. sowing words which can neither speak for them- bled about anywhere among those who mayor selves nor teach the truth adequately to others? may not understand them. and practices hus- deemed that writing was at aU better than knowl. which sprouted quickly. on the eighth day. and knows when to speak and when to be of Dodona3 that oaks first gave prophetic utter. they should reply. and know not to whom PHAEDRUS: No. that will be his way SOCRATES: I cannot help feeling. only in play. SOCRATES: There was a tradition in the temple itself. and watered them daily. Socrates. as you that writing is unfortunately like painting. or who earnest he sows in fitting soil. deemed that if they heard knowledge which has a soul. whereas you seem to consider not SOCRATES: Yes. creations of the painter have the attitude of life. Phaedrus. if at all. and put a question to one of them. silent. when he is in earnest. were thrown into the sea "Thamus!Ammon. You would imagine that they had own seeds? intelligence. The plants. that is not likely. garden of Adonis. who should leave in writing or receive least he would do so. SOCRATES: And can we suppose that he who and yet if you ask them a question they preserve knows the just and good and honorable has less a solemn silence. write them down as memorials to be treasured PHAEDRUS: That again is most true. by himself.S that he may rejoice when he and quite a stranger to the oracles of Thamus or sees them in eight days appearing in beauty? at Ammon. PHAEDRUS: Yes. And the same may be said of understanding. than the husbandman. he will do the other. But when he is in word would be intelligible or certain. along with an image of the dead Adonis. whether a thing is or is not true. PHAEDRUS 47 . only for the sake of in writing any art under the idea that the written amusement and pastime. his origin? SOCRATES: I mean an intelligent word graven in the soul of the learner. women planted seeds in 3Site of the most ancient temple to Zeus. which he values and which he rebuke. SOCRATES: Is there not another kind of word or or by any other old man who is treading the same speech far better than this. and of which the the truth even from 'oak or rock. gave out oracles based on the leaves of the sacred oak tree. unlike in their simplicity PHAEDRUS: You mean the living word of to young philosophy. PHAEDRUS: I acknowledge the justice of your take the seeds. and while others are refreshing their begotten? souls with banqueting and the like. bandry. he will themselves. but lawfully growth.' it was enough written word is properly no more than an image? for them. He will rejoice in beholding their tender power . but who the And now may I be aUowed to ask you a question: speaker is and from what country the tale comes. they have no parent to pro. who is a man of sense. if they are SOCRATES: No. that is not likely .a son of the same family. for the say. of course that is what I mean. about his speeches. against the forgetfulness of old age. and is satisfied if in eight months the edge and recollection of the same matters? seeds which he has sown arrive at perfection? PHAEDRUS: That is most true.

having agreed performance. fancying that PHAEDRUS: Far nobler. And I think: that we are now pretty well ten word there is necessarily much which is not informed about the nature of art and its opposite. the brethren and descendants and rela- accomplished all this. and is able to define them as they are. is there clearness and perfection and serious- to arrange and dispose of them in such a way that ness. But nobler far is SOCRATES: Secondly. which is the true way of writ- course which are adapted to different natures. certainly. whether private making the possessors of it happy to the utmost man or statesman. and they brought us to this SOCRATES: But he who thinks that in the writ- point. writer that ever was or will be. place. as noble as for the purpose of teaching or persuading . would pray that we may become like him. a congenial soul. and until in tice and goodness and nobility taught and com- like manner he is able to discern the nature of the municated orally for the sake of instruction and soul.C. graven in the soul. Homer. particularly the works of someone not in love with him. sured . argued that a beloved should yield to 'Performers who recited poetry. and who thinks that even speaking. and that neither poetry nor prose. the fact of his so writing is only a upon the premises we may decide about the con. PHAEDRUS: A pastime. rily about justice and the like.and who cares nature allows them to be subjected to art. as far as their by him in the souls of others. and can discourse mer. ite to the more complex nature . who. sought to determine. and not with any view to several particulars of which he is writing or criticism or instruction. the word which he finds in his own bosom.? selves and him who planted them.this is the right sort of man. to know the nature of justice and injustice.these are the questions which we PHAEDRUS: Certainly. Phaedrus. if. the best of writings are but a reminiscence of and having defined them again to divide them what we know. ing argument. and you and I. not to a lover. PLATO . PHAEDRUS: Yes. 7 they are only recited SOCRATES: Until a man knows the truth of the in order to be believed. and the erwise than disgraceful to him. Socrates. and are not PHAEDRUS: Show what? unfruitful. For not clusion. there is any great certainty and clearness in his SOCRATES: And now.such the other is ignoble. the dream from the reality. but I wish or written. cannot in truth be oth- and his art of writing. in them .J Thirty-four of whose orations are still extant. the author of a political treatise. Phaedrus.being. certainly. SOCRATES: True. whatever men may say. either for them and no others . finding was passed on the speaking or writing of discourses. . serious. and his discourses.until he has secondly. as to the censure which the serious pursuit of the dialectician. disgrace to him. he will be unable to handle tions of his idea which have been duly implanted arguments according to rules of art. and that such principles are a man's own the simple form of speech may be addressed to and his legitimate offspring. but have in them a seed which others SOCRATES: That whether Lysias or any other brought up in different soils render immortal. even though he rhetorical skill or want of skill which was shown have the applause of the whole world. and ing. in the first the simpler nature. and not to be able to distinguish SOCRATES: About Lysias. positions of the rhapsodes. I think with you. and the complex and compos. and that only in principles of jus- until they can be no longer divided. the pastime of a man who can is the view which is implied inlhe whole preced- be amused by serious talk. His oration on love. that was our view.6 whom we censured.E. proposes laws and so becomes extent of human happiness. and discover the different modes of dis.did not our previous argument show . analyzed and refuted in the Phaedrus. Phaedrus. spoken PHAEDRUS: Yes. 'Athenian sophist (459-380 B. and PHAEDRUS: About what conclusion? good and evil. by the help of science sows and and how they might be rightly or wrongly cen- plants therein words which are able to help them. like the com- that you would repeat what was said. is of any great value. .

and where. and befitting title. for that 8The stream of I1issus. term laws . according to legend. I may not call them.to all of them we are to say that if SOCRATES: And now the play is played out. whether set to music or not. and they can defend or prove them. down.to Homer and other writers of orators. not only poets. then they are to be called. PHAEDRUS: That is most assuredly my desire form of political discourses which they would and prayer.- North Wind) was supposed to have carried off the nymph lovers of wisdom or philosophers is their modest Orythia. and to Solon name. when the fountain and school of the Nymphs 8 we went they are put to the test. PHAEDRUS 49 . speeches . and others who have composed writings in the PHAEDRUS: What name would you assign to them? SOCRATES: Wise. by spoken arguments. where Socrates' conversation with Phaedrus begins. Boreas (the is a great name which belongs to God alone. befitting the serious pursuit of their life. but are worthy of a higher poems. and were bidden by them to convey a which leave their writings poor in comparison of message to him and to other composers of them. legislators. their compositions are based on knowledge of the and of rhetoric enough. Go and tell Lysias that to truth.

Tolstoy begins by rejecting most of the central aesthetic principles of the nine- teenth century. was published in 1877. lines. Art is a human activity consisting in this. a scholar of Russian literature. that one man consciously by means of cer- tain external signs.that is the activity of art. partly to relieve the boredom of guard duty in the Caucasus. has said. it is not pleasure. hands on to others feelings he has lived through. DIALOGUE WITH PLATO Leo Tolstoy 1828-1 9 10 Born at Yasnaya Polyana. so to transmit that feeling that others experience the same feeling . and that others are infected by these feelings and also experience them. the manifestation of some mysterious Idea of beauty or God. He is mystified by Hegel's idea that art is a necessary road to Absolute Spirit. and hence. few commentators have been charitable to What Is Art?. Russia. and they are impOltant if only because they voice a theory one needs to learn how to argue with. he began to plan out his vast epic of Napoleonic Russia. Tolstoy's notions about art have an admirable consistency. Back on his estate. That year Tolstoy experienced a spir- itual crisis. What Is Art? may be. partly because Tolstoy himself is so dismissive of all previous aesthetic thought and partly because the conclusions to which he comes put most of the masterpieces of painting. There he began to write. Art is not. Anna Karenina. At this point. and. In fact. colors. and indis- pensable for the life and progress towards well-being of individuals and humanity. 5) 50 LEO TOLSTOY':' DIALOGUE . so that any aesthetic based on taste would have to be specific to a particular class. as Ernest J. Tolstoy presents his own idea of art: To evoke in oneself a feeling that one has once experienced and having evoked it in oneself then by means of movements. and literature (including Tolstoy's own) into the vast category of bad art. it is the fruit of Tolstoy's speculations since the I850S about the nature of art..g. his more concentrated psychological tragedy. which was completed in 1869. Simmons. repudiated his previous work with the exception of two short stories. a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy. (Ch. publishing sketches and stories start- ing in 1852. music. and devoted himself rigorously to the doctrines of quietism (non-resistance to evil) and the social improvement of mankind. "the most immodest contribution to aesthetics ever written. as the aesthetic physiologists say. it is not the production of pleasing objects. which is unsatisfactory because people's tastes differ. above all. War and Peace." Composed at white heat in 1897. Except for Tolstoy's biographers. The various definitions of beauty either lead in a circle (e. Count Leo Nikolaievich Tolstoy enjoyed a dissipated youth before enlisting in the army to reform himself. and equally mystified by philosophers' use of the idea of beauty. it is not the expression of man's emotions by external signs. insufficiently universal. but it is a means of union among men joining them together in the same feelings. it is not.:. . sounds or forms expressed in words. as the metaphysicians say. "beauty is that which pleases with- out exciting desire") or culminate in the notion of taste.

one internal and the other external. (3) on the sincerity of the artist" (Ch. which is that most of the artistic works beloved of the intelligentsia are. like the symphony. and this. He merely suggests that every society has what he calls a "religious ideal. since he was inveterately hostile to all religious cults as coming between man and God. Tolstoy does not pause to justify which are the best feelings." The difficulties with What Is Art? have less to do with consistency than with the theory's external plausibility and internal coherence. The internal criterion is efficacy: the best art will be that which infects us most strongly. (2) on the greater or lesser clearness with which the feeling is transmitted. nega- tive kind. whether feelings of pride. for example. Similarly. he was also consistent enough to consign most of his own works to the dustbin: He repudiated War and Peace and Anna Karenina as bad art. Tolstoy's assumption that a folksong is more universal than a Beethoven symphony needs to be examined: The folksong. and ennui are found only arnong the upper classes or whether modem culture has not made them universal. positive" kind of true art. which actively transmits the message of human brotherhood (and he gives a list that includes Dickens's A Christmas Carol and Eliot's Adam Bede). since. The bet- ter the feelings according to some criterion of value. (A simple folksong or a lullaby would for Tolstoy be considered better art. and a "lower." which becomes the repository of its most cherished values. If art is a form of infection. in his terms.) This value system TolstDy locates in "Christianity in its true meaning" . which would determine the specific feelings that were communicated. the medium in which it is expressed is such as to be unintelligible to most people. It is questionable. which serves "to unite men with God and with one another. whose infectious feel- ings were those to which the upper class are devoted . Tolstoy is forced to distinguish invidiously between the upper class art of his time. Shakespeare's plays. then there are two criteria for value. regardless of its explicit message. Once he has located the values which art should infect us with. " Here he distinguishes once more between the "higher.· On the other side. like Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. is informed by a Western scale and strophic form that may not be intelligible to a different musical culture (Indonesians. IS). for example. and excepted from the general condemnation only two of his stories: "God Sees the Truth but Waits" and "A Captive in the Caucasus. More significant to Tolstoy was the external criterion for quality of art: the subject matter. sensuality. Had Tolstoy stopped here. Tolstoy (who was not musical) tended to overestimate the amount of cultural training required to LEO TOLSTOY·:· DIALOGUE 51 .) If Tolstoy was brutal. depends upon "(I) the greater or lesser individuality of the feeling transmitted. bad art. but he also felt compelled to point out the negative consequence of his theory. if not the feeling of universality (the list here includes Don Quixote and Moliere's comedies).pride.what is today called the Judeo-Christian tradition of human brotherhood. for instance. work to divide rather than unite humankind. The same would be true of music. or Hopi Indians). in that his characters speak a language never spoken by normal people and unintelligible to the normal people of the present day. the better the art. (Tolstoy emphatically does not mean the ideal of any specific organized reli- gion. sensuality. he might have found general agreement with his the- sis. and ennui- and universal art. Tolstoy said." which conveys universal feelings.

Jones. nos. ed. ''Tolstoy' s Prophecy: What Is Art? Today. Troyat. "James. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. that is. James T. Tolstoy' S Rejection of Kantian Beauty in What Is Art?" Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 27. in the post-Romantic aesthetic tradition that art is a form not of imitation but of self-expression. 1925. the criterion of sincerity of feeling is one that cannot be tested: We know what a work has communicated to us but can- not know whether it is the same thing the artist experienced or indeed whether the artist experienced anything at all. Literature and Morality. and the Novel. art essary for the well-being of mankind being replaced by others kinder and more needful for that Translated by Aylmer Maude. Y. "A Case of Well-Concealed Indebtedness: L. London: Chatto and Windus." Century Magazine 62 (1901): 298-307. John. Steiner.feelings less kind and less nec- the best and foremost men of their own times. Farrell. Selected Bibliography Allen. For one thing. Malcolm. Kasulke. George. Lev Nikolaievich. And speaking now 52 LEO TOLSTOY I WHAT IS ART ? (. That is the purpose of art. end. Tolstoy. Speech proceeds by truer and more necessary knowledge renders accessible to men of the latest generations dislodging and replacing what was mistaken and all the knowledge discovered by the experience unnecessary. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Henri. Garden City. New Essays on Tolstoy. Maude. W. DIALOGUE . Tolstoi 'sTheory of Art. since we cannot cross-compare the feelings of every- one who has experienced and will experience a specific work. Tolstoy. But it is inter- esting to note what different questions arise when a moral critique of art (begun by Plato) is couched." Revue de Litterature Comparee 53 (1983): 359-68. Maren S.is equally untestable." New Criterion 17 (December 1998): 15-20. 1966. 1935. Tolstoi on Art and Its Critics. New York: Vanguard Press. In fact. [978. so the evolution of feeling proceeds and reflection both of preceding generations and of by means of art . of the movement temporaries. [967. These problems do not devastate Tolstoy's theory: They are objections that can be answered. Milford. Aylmer Maude. "Tolstoi's Moral Theory of Art. Crowell. 1947· Garrod. And as the evolution of knowledge of humanity forward toward perfection. What Is Art? Trans. From What Is Art? How in the subject-matter of art are we to decide renders accessible to men of the latest generations what is good and what is bad? all the feelings experienced by their predecessors Art like speech is a means of communication and also those felt by their best and foremost con- and therefore of progress. N. Aylmer. Tolstoy or Dostoyevsk:y: An Essay in Contrast. Sergio. H. London: Faber and Faber. Perosa. London: H.the idea that art instills identical feelings into its whole audi- ence . James Sloan. NY: Doubleday. 1960. [-2 (2000): 25-50. John A. Tolstoy and the Novel. Internally. the central notion implicit in Tolstoy ' s infection metaphor . 1898. Tolstoy. as Tolstoy's version is. New York: T. Macy. there are difficulties with the "infection" theory that Tolstoy did not anticipate. appreciate a symphony. Bayley.

trans.. Gay's picture Judgment may mitting feelings accessible to all. then as examples of the high- recognition of one or other set of feelings as more est art flowing from love of God and man (both of or less good. art transmitting the simplest Langley to which I have already referred. Lherrnitte. of the Gospel stories. or drawing by Kramskoy (worth many of his finished evokes in them feelings which show them that they pictures). There are plenty of pictures treating deserving of selection and respect. works of this relegates such work to the category of art that is kind. ing historical events with great wealth of detail. and capable of. Only these two kinds of art can be consid. resent the hard-working peasant with respect and The first. love..and Adam Bede by subject matter. in dances. Such sessed by their painters. in archi- more art fulfills that purpose the better the art. the less it fulfills it the worse the art. the words. Approaching these in kind are pictures which rep- ered good art in our time. that the art of The Tale ofTlVo Cities. religious perception which demands the union of Dostoyevsky's works . Schiller. while on the other hand it of love of God and of one's neighbor. art transmitting feelings nurse holding a baby. the religious but of pictures representing great deeds of self- perception of our time. The our time. for it treating of the personal feelings of various people. manifests itself iu serve... The Man with the Hoe. such union. Christian art (basing itself on a Chimes.the art of the people . Such also is the picture by Walter the term. directly transmitting the Christian feeling bad in its subject matter. and Christian art either evokes in men . do ple feelings if only they are accessible to all men not and cannot transmit religious feelings not pos- without exception. attains the end which Christianity. and such feelings of common life. that is. and secondly. showing a drawing-room with a balcony are already united in the joys and sorrows of life. It In modem painting.univer. and a boy. the novels and stories of Dickens - ently from former art chiefly in this. namely. excludes from the domain of art good in its from the HOllse of Death . are hardly to includes in the category of art that is good in be found. sets before humanity. universal art. and others . but the mother. As examples of pictures form of words. They are admiring flowing from a religious perception of man's the procession of the troops. the of these kinds of art. in literature I should name The Robbers by perception of the age. and others. sacrifice and Christian love there are very few. the relief of a steamer that is being wrecked. accessible to all men in the whole world . Such for instance is the them ready for. but such always as are again is a picture by the French artist Morlan.especially his Memoirs man). If I were asked to give modem examples of each The appraisement of feelings (that is. in sculpture. cover- position in the world in relation to God and to his ing her face with a handkerchief. religious art . more or less necessary for the well. also pic- negative feelings of indignation and horror at the tures in this style by Jules Breton.Uncle Tom's Cabin. Victor Hugo's Les Pauvres Gens and Les The art of our time should be appraised differ. and larly his drawing.the art depicting a lifeboat hastening in a heavy storm to of common life . especially among the works of the cele- subject matter a section not formerly admitted as brated painters. positive. The Christmas Carol. and they are for the most part not pic- draw them to closer and ever closer union and make tures but merely sketches.transmitting both posi. Miserables. violation of love .religious art in the limited meaning of the sofa sobbing. and tecture. On the balcony stands a wet- and is of two kinds: first. these however. while depict- sal art transmitting even the most trifling and sim. sal art. everything transmitting exclusive George Eliot. love of God and man. univer. in painting. feelings which do not unite men but divide them.of the feelings which are its subject-matter. and also Leizen-Mayer's Signing the Death I LEO TOLSTOY WHAT IS ART? . past which troops are marching in triumph on their And therefore the Christian art of our time can be return from the war. and most of all in music. strange to say. There are many pictures art cannot but be esteemed good in our time. and of the lower. negative being of mankind) is effected by the religious kind). DIALOGUE 53 . the higher. and to some extent also in painting evoking indignation and horror at the violation of and sculpture: the second kind. has fallen back on neighbor .manifests itself chiefly in the Defregger.feelings what there are are principally by artists who are not which through love of God and of one's neighbor celebrated. and therefore unite them. Such are the pictures by Millet and particu- tivefeelings of love of God and one's neighbor..

but unites only a few. And this abundance of detail love in them. as would be done nowadays.are yet more difficult. I am compelled to conclude that this Moliere is perhaps the most universal. is Joseph went out into another room to weep . and artificial produc- circle and will be equally comprehensible and tion. The author of the novel of Joseph did not need Anxiety about the technique and the beauty of the to describe in detail. To verify its claim to be such I time and locality. all details except the most essential . whether I of Don Quixote or of Moliere's heroes (though like it or not. the pose and attire of Potiphar's much horror at what is being perpetrated as attrac. and the superfluity of special details of great work of art. music is exclusive and does not unite all men. and has lasted to our times Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers by Dickens. or cially trained to submit themselves to its complex an old man. and how adjusting the bracelet on her left tion by the beauty of the spectacle. Gogol' s and Pushkin's tales. the dwelling and instance. work belongs to the rank of bad lit. and therefore I ask myself next: Since this work hensible only to people of their own circle. That does not belong to the highest kind of religious art. owing to the exceptional nature of the feelings they Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is considered a transmit. Gerome's Pollice Verso expresses. And therefore this novel is acces- inner contents might be assigned to this class (such sible to all men. an African.. that the story may be told to any thing of this long.:.the quality of uniting all men in one com- wife wishes to tempt the youth. especially in literature and superfluous and would only hinder the transmis- music. For the blood-stained coat of Joseph. being jealous of his father's has it the other characteristic of the good art of our affection. and above all on account of the must first ask myself whether this work transmits poverty of their subject matter in comparison with the highest religious feeling? I reply in the negative. touches people of all nations and as Don Quixote. I arm she said. But there are very few of this kind also. Moliere's comedies. picture for the most part obscures the feeling. a child. that attached to the end of of Pickwick and his friends. educated or uneducated. and will yet last for thousands of years to come. [Tr. It is curious to fore the most excellent. And therefore. examples of universal ancient art (such.such as that versal art." 54 LEO TOLSTOY I WHAT IS ART? . DIALOGU E . and some things of But strip the best novels of our time of their details Maupassant's). These feelings are not this very symphony is a poem of Schiller's2 which common to all men but very exceptional. is so free from any crowd of nonnal people who could understand any- superfluous detail. confused. for the described by the author.] 'The "Ode to Joy. a Chinese.are compre. but I am unable to imagine to myself a written with such restraint. instance. But though this poem is sung at the makes the stories difficult of comprehension to all end of the symphony. namely that feeling (Schiller speaks only have surrounded them with abundant details of of the feeling of gladness) unites people and evokes time and place. But not such are the feelings what is incomprehensible. and there. for since music in itself cannot transmit those feelings. nor note in this connexion. litist of modem times).these negative. of art of the second kind: good uni. If there are some works which by their sion of emotion. because To give examples from the modem art of our the content of feeling in this novel is so strong that upper classes. dividing them off from the rest of lIn this picture the spectators in the Roman Amphitheater mankind. as the story of Joseph) . not so dress of Jacob. and what will remain? .does it rank: as Christian universal attained to highest station he takes pity on his art? And again I have no option but to reply in the brothers. and (though somewhat obscurely) expresses this very therefore to make them contagious the authors thought." and so on..Warrant. "Come to me. are turning down their thumbs to show that they wish the van~ guished gladiator to be killed. sell him to the merchants. the music does not accord who do not live within reach of the conditions with the thought expressed in the verses. or even of the art of a whole people. these works for the most part. including Benjamin the favorite . that Potiphar's time . wife. and it is all hypnotism. that having mon feeling . Joseph's brethren. except short snatches which are lost in a sea of touching to everyone. David classes young and old. for not only do I not see how the feelings and all the rest are feelings accessible alike to a transmitted by this work could unite people not spe- Russian peasant.

Aristotle was a metic . the eternal laws of change. learning its philosophy and its methods of argumentation. the Lyceum. of course. but meant to be filled out with further examples and arguments during presentation. like ethics and politics. like rhetoric and poetics.C. were not mere signs of the mutable. psychology. like logic or physics. who was a native-born Athenian aristocrat. politics. whose goal lay in the realm of human action. his systematizing of thought made science as we know it possible. one can see a major difference from Plato.the son of a doctor from Thrace.it was circulated privately. the usual gaps that appear in transmitting and translating a verbal text more than two thousand years old. Aristotle's origins may help explain why Plato's idealism had so little ultimate appeal for him. Aristotle tells us that he will speak of comedy later. ethics. and the productive sciences. and music pursue their disparate disciplines by different methodologies. There are other sources of obscurity. It has been presumed for centuries that the treatise on ARISTOTLE 55 .E. but his own school. literature. Where the text seems dogmatic or disconnected or downright obscure. This is the problematic method. brief and pointed.Aristotle 384-322 B. the world was not One but Many. Aristotle's immense philosophical output may be divided into treatises on three types of science: the theoretical sciences. as it were . Aristotle may have been loath to dismiss physical reality as an illusion. but never returns to the subject. where specialized departments of physics. Textual scholars believe the Poetics to be what is technically termed an esoteric treatise . Although Aristotle was often wildly wrong about details (Galileo's disproof of his speculations on gravity is the most famous instance). In Chapter 6. Aristotle spent many years in Plato's Academy. and much else. music. an impoverished military state. They possessed immense significance.this was not the form in which Aristotle's students received it. the practical sciences. and investi- gating it meant adapting one's methods and principles to the subject under consid- eration. inferior character of the world of Becoming compared with the unalterable world of Ideas. For Aristotle.rather than an exoteric one meant for general publication. whose purpose was in making something. within the Lyceum . poetry. rejected Plato's ideal- ism in favor of a materialism that investigated every aspect of the physical world. and it is rare in the history of philosophy. whose Republic combined speculation on metaphysics.one's general ideas on a particular subject. which aimed at improving thought itself . At the same time. As a skilled biologist from Macedonia. Here already. for example. If Plato is the father of Western philosophy. thought was holistic: all was ultimately One and could be known through one dialectical method. where most thinkers have preferred universal dialectic to institutionalized improvisation. Unlike his teacher Plato.a foreigner with a green card. For Plato. Certainly for Aristotle the universal processes of nature. It can be compared to teacher's lecture notes. we should be tolerant . Aristotle is the father of most of the sci- ences. Aristotle's mode of organization has clearly pre- vailed over Plato's in the structure of the modern university.

All these technical issues are IThe method of analysis is itself di scussed in the Posterior Analytics. one of Aristotle's major treatises on logic. the course of the action. and ·efficient causes. Here the mate- rial is language. the same method of definition is used. Aristotle analyzes its qualitative parts (plot. Aristotle considers plot form (its general character. 56 ARISTOTLE . (Note that Aristotle never formally defines more general categories like poetry or drama. that tool might be defined by its shape (a long handle to give leverage. the manner is dramatic or narrative (as the case may be). Recently a manuscript has turned up containing what some scholars believe to be fragments of the lost Poetics II. comedy was a second book of the Poetics that had been lost forever. diction. the form is the imitation of a serious action. but because they do not have similar final causes. Later critics attacked the drama of their day for not conforming to Aristotle's rules. and here again the same four-cau se organization is used. its manner of construction (the relation and attachments of the parts). relation to history. and its end or purpose (the final cause). and spectacle). its manner of construction (the efficient cause). its composition (the material cause). length. beginning with the most important . In defin- ing a dramatic or epic tragedy. and harmony . song. and so on). a flat striking surface). in other words.l Thus. thought. Although the Poetics was later misread as a how-to manual. rhythm. and its purpose (pounding nails).plot. Productive science relies on Aristotle's method of four-cause analysis. Those things called poetry are similar in for- mal and material causes. and plot handling. NI~arly half of the Poetics is devoted to the analysis of plot. They are not definable because they do not have all their causes in common. often without understanding the reasons behind his general statements or the highly empirical basis of the Poetics.) Having defined tragedy. light but strong wood or plastic for the handle). in which an artifact is defined by its shape (the formal cause). and the end is the kathar- sis of pity and fear (about which more will be said later). Aristotle is a genre critic. the Poetics takes as its topic the making of a work of art. For him these are not legitimate genres. those called drama in formal. he was not dispensing tips for the practicing tragedian. character. its materials (hard metal for the head. but whether the fragments are genuinely Aristotelian or not is still undecided. material. and then examines each part successively. plot materials (devices like recognition and reversal or the tragic deed). not by choice but because of the demands of his systematic method. Aristotle was only presenting the general principles of dramatic construction as they applied to the poetry and theater of his age. The first four chapters of the Poetics discuss the causes of tragedy (among the other arts) and prepare the reader for the famous definition of tragedy in Chapter 6. specifically a dramatic or epic tragedy. in the poetics of hammers. It would be as much a mistake to fault Aristotle for not being able to anticipate every devel- opment in the drama over the last two millennia. they remain congeries of many things rather than one definite species. ORGANIZATION AND METHOD As a treatise on productive science.

like Plato. ARISTOTLE 57 . would be the transcendent triumph of art. poetic art is not. he does not preclude its possibility. After he has constructed the plot. the poet translates action into language." The point is that for Aristotle. Just as the portrait sculptor translates the human countenance into clay or stone. meihod is rigorous. he surpris- ingly does not think that art itself is necessarily or essentially imitative. This is the paradox behind the saying "Truth is stranger than fiction. protagonist's character flaw- derives directly from the nature of the tragic emotions of pity and fear.explained ultimately in tenns. not of mere imitation . thought. Nor can the poet merely translate his materials raw. Pygmalion's statue.? Another surprise is the title of the treatise. for poetry is more concerned with the universal. Later he moves from plot to the fonnal and material aspects of character. as many Greek tragedians did. For Plato.of making. that artists were not always faithful to the truth counted against them. contingent realities the historian is forced to deal with. "embellished" language and compose it visually for the stage. merely copying: It is a creative act. of the pllrpose of plot. KATHARSIS One of the most controversial passages in the Poetics is contained in the passage on the final cause of tragedy: The play. For Plato. ARISTOTELIAN IMITATION Although Aristotle. Throughout. and history more with the individual. Even if he does not invent his plots but takes them. for Aristotle. Divesting the historical action of the accidental and the incidental. (Thus with- out having experienced abstract art or even discussing it.. since the word poetikes in Greek means "things that are made or crafted." 3"Poetry . artists must disregard incidental facts to search for deeper llniversal truths. he argues deductively that hamartia .. and thus more powerfully tragic. The whole process is a complex one . for Aristotle." This is a crucial passage in the Poetics (see p. as Plato thought. "through incidents arousing pity and fear effects 21n the sentence where Aristotle tells us that poetry is a fann of imitation. though what remains of the Poetics is not com- plete alld there are occasional interruptions or interpolations (like Chapter I2). If this is done well. from the historical or mythological record. and so on.that requires keeping the ultimate end in constant view. a statue that was merely true to life would not be art at all. he must compose it verbally using extraordinary. he selectively reshapes the action to make it more universal. the katharsis.the tragic. The issue for Aristotle seems to be that we can learn more from the universal principles that poets must abstract in creating their plots than from the messy." Precisely . which came to life. he uses not the usual verb elm! C"be") but rather tllgkhano." In Chapter I3. 3 he pares away unnecessary prologue until he has a probable sequence of actions leading inex- orably to the protagonist's doom. his. is more philosophical and more significant than history. 65). the bare summary of a tragic plot should have something of the tragic effect. considers poetry a fonn of mimetic art. "happen to be. One reason poetics cannot be simple copying is that art involves the translation of reality into another medium.the poets who create fictions must jettison the strange accidents that shape the events of this world.

Elizabeth. many benefits . New York: Macmillan." "purification. rather they are exhausted. and what is clarified. Cronk. Selected Bibliography Belfiore. Some persons fall into a religious frenzy. purified. Those who are influenced by pity or fear. katharsis rrieans "clarification." After seeing a performance of Oedipus the King or King Lear. Aristotle perhaps could not resist using a familiar medical metaphor for the experience. Lane. which has a long history beginning with the Renaissance theorists Lodovico Castelvetro and Francesco Robortello. (Politics 1341 b 35 to 1342' 15) Aristotle thought that the Poetics would ciruify the Politics rather than the other way around. Glyn P. Aristotle's Theory of Poetry and Fine Art. Cooper. 1902. Tragedy here has an educative function. for the sake of . Butcher. "Aristotle. Norton. but when hereafter we speak of poetry we will treat the subject with more precision)." is the action of a powerful laxative. Tragic Pleasures: Aristotle on Plot and Emotiol1. when they have used the sacred melodies. "Editor's literal Lran slation. in a passage from the Politics: Music should be studied . Princeton: Princeton University Press. Nicholas. exist very strongly in some souls. cleansed." and it is the tragic incidents that are clarified: The process of poetic imitation. A doctor's son. pre- served in the English cognate "cathartic. Horace and Longinus: The Conception of Reader Response. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.. .. sug- gests that tragedy has the function of tempering (or hardening) the emotions by revealing to the audience the proper objects of pity and fear. their katharsis. The "purification" theory. H. The primary meaning of the word katharsis. must have a like ex- perience. 199-204." According to the classical scholar Leon Golden. but the context of this passage is clear enough: Unpleasant feelings may be relieved through music or poetry. whom we see ." the violent driving-out of the emotions of pity and fear.. The oldest theory holds that katharsis means "purgation." In The Cambridge HistOlY of LiterOlY Criticism. For feelings such as pity and fear. S. 1963. and every emotional nature." and "purgation". New York: Cooper Square. 58 ARISTOTLE . by stripping all accident and contingency from the tragic fall of the noble protagonist. 1992. or purged must be either the "incidents" or the emo- tions of "pity and fear. and have more or less in- fluence over all. again. [one of which is] pur- gation (the word purgation we use at present without any explanation.4 But what does katharsis mean and what is "katharted"? Three pos- sible translations of katharsis are "clarification. This theory is supported by the only other instance in which Aristotle uses katharsis in the context of the arts. 1999.... 1923.. enthusiasm. When the experience is over. or.. ed.. and all are in a man- ner purged and their souls lightened and delighted. emptied of emotion. reveals as clearly as possible how such things can happen. restored as though they had found healing and purgation. Ill: The Renaissance. spectators are no longer gripped by pity and fear. the soul is "lightened and delighted. The Poetics of Aristotle: Its Meaning and Influence. and others in so far as each is susceptible to such emotions.

use harmony and rhythm alone. Plato and Aristotle on Poetry." Tulane Drama Review 4 (1960): 23-32. Dancers imitate by using rhythm without har- ters as are relevant.. but and in verse. in prose ing all happen to be. species. as indeed. for all these accomplish names as "elegiac poets" and "epic poets. dance-figures. London: R. From Poetics I imitation through rhythm and speech and har- mony. Lucas. and how it is necessary to construct plots if the and this would also be true of any other arts poetic composition is to be successful and. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.. itself. and its in combination. 1986. for example. 1976. the number and kind of parts to be pipe) that are similar in character to these. 1957· . Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Aristotle's TheOlY of Language and Meaning. others only through habit).Else. The art that imitates by words alone. Deborah K. as poets and completely misses the point that the POETICS 59 . Aristotle's Poetics: The Argument. . but in a different manner. the art of playing the shepherd's thermore. in the term "poet" to a meter gives writers such the arts mentioned above. Modrak. beginning with first principles. Let us follow the order of mony. tragedy.." In On Value Judgments in the Arts and Other Essays. ed. comedy. in generaI. fur. and in the latter case. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.. House... .. Princeton: Princeton University Press. except that the public at large by joining other artists imitate through sound. Gerald F. W. F. Aristotle: The Power of Perception. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. describing the character of each of them. L. making use of these elements separately or Let us discuss the art of poetry. and as many other mat. Fergusson. 200I. since they imitate characters. 1992. 1956. Elder. either com- they differ from each other in three ways: either bines various meters or makes use of only one. "The Poetic Method of Aristotle: Its Powers and Limitations. and most forms of fiute and lyre play. New York: Macmillan. 1965. because the imitation is carried on by different has been nameless up to the present time. Rorty. . Tragedy: Serious Drama in Relation to Aristotle's Poetics. 1987. 1958. emotions. Hart-Davis. Olson. found in the poetic work. "On the Poetics. Amelie Oksenberg.. Francis. nor would we have a name for such For just as some artists imitate many different an imitation if someone should accomplish it objects by using color and form to represent them through trimeters or elegiacs or some other such (some through art. Humphrey. Essays on Aristotle's Poetics. For we means or because it is concerned with different cannot assi an a common name to the mimes of kinds of objects or because it is presented. not in Sophron ~d Xenarchus and the Socratic dia- the same. logues. Cambridge: Carnbndge Umverslty Press. . Aristotle's Poetics and English Literature. The Poetics of Aristotle in England... meter. (for example. bic poetry. imitations. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press." Here the public classifies all those who write in meter Translated by Leon Golden. dithyram. and actions by rhythms that are arranged into Now epic poetry. nature. Flute playing and lyre playing.

and Kassel.s It is through the same dis- he must also be designated a poet. as in the writing of dithyrambs and nomic poetry! and in tragedy and comedy. about Nicochares. flute-playing. than the nann. a third factor by which we dis- the various elements at the same time. in this way. For. representation of men as worse. then.1 ferences of this type and will be different through wrhe translation given of this phrase is based on the tradi~ its choosing. [Tf. Cleophon was a dramatic or epic writer. rhythm and song and meter. at. and Dionysius as like the [Tr. but we must consider Em. Bywater prefers to emend the text of the passage so that it reads as foI~ IThe dithyramb was originally a choral ode sung in honor lows: "Given both' the same means and the same kind of 0.] 5Timotheus was a dithyrambic poet who lived in Miletus norm. have been discussed.. which has been accepted by Butcher. 3 ference is apparent here in that some arts use all There is. From this it follows mentioned here. 2 It is clear that each of the above- from 450 to 360 B. The public is even lyre-playing it is possible for these differences to accustomed to apply the name "poet" to those exist. must either be. [Tf. we have no further certain information or worse than or like the nonn. Homer as better.] mation of this observation in the practice of our '7here is a lacuna in the text at this point where the name painters. writer of parodies) and Nicochares. [Tr. although Homer has nothing at all in com. These. On philosophical and linguistic grounds.capacity to produce an imitation is the essential to imitate. ment. using the same means and imitating which the imitation is accomplished.] 60 ARISTOTLE . finally.] things described. the Cyclops theme. if anyone should create the Deiliad.C. Concerning tinction in objects that we differentiate comedy these matters let us accept the distinctions we from tragedy. A dif.4 as we Chairemon did when he wrote The Centaur. a see in the way Timotheus and Philoxenus handled rhapsody composed by the use of all the meters. of another writer of nomic poetry was probably mentioned." [Tr. [fr. or (3) the imitators may represent the whole century B. as Homer or lyre accompaniment.] does. the same kinds of object. whereas nomic poetry was originally concerned object for imitation. are what which the artist represents the various types of I call the differences in the artistic means through object. and characteristic of the poet. Hardy. and that is the manner in others use them separately. as is shown by the fact that Cleophon rep- mon with Empedocles except the meter. one may either (I) speak at one moment with texts taken from the epic and was presented with a flute in narrative and at another in an assumed character. as worse. both Hegemon the Thasian (who was the first pedocles a physicist rather than a poet. For Polygnotus represents men as better. Neither PausoD nor Dionysius are identified with story dramatically. lived in Cythera from 436 to 380 B. namely. It is just resents men like the nonn. the latter as bet- There are some arts that use all the means that ter. a different kind of object tional text. Philoxenus was a dithyrambic poet who mentioned fonns of imitation will manifest dif.C.C. Pauson as worse. and in verse who publish a medical or scientific treatise in that does not make use of musical accompani- verse. noble or base since human charac- ter regularly confonns to these distinctions. Even in dancing. it is possible for the poet on different occasions to narrate the story (either speaking in the person of one of his characters as 2 Homer does or in his own person without chang- ing roles)6 or to have the imitators perfonning Artists imitate men involved in action and these and acting out the entire story. whereas tinguish imitations.£ Dionysus. the author of And in the same way. We find confir. a that the objects imitated are either better than small fragment of a parody of Hegemon of Thasos is pre- served in Athenaeus. all of us being different in character because of some 3Not much is known about the poets other than Homer quality of goodness or evil. as though they were actually doing the certainty. 3 The same situation is an imitation by combining all the meters as found in dithyrambic and nomic poetry.' (2) one may remain the same throughout. without any 'Polygnotus was one of the great painters of the fifth such change. for the fanner takes as its goal the have just made. and to call Homer a poet. and they are seen also in prose.

some of the Dorians in pleasure in the imitation qua imitation but rather the Peloponnesus claim to be the originators of in the workmanship or coloring or something tragedy. We know of no "invective" by poets tions that characterize "imitations. cause of this is that the act of learning is not only By the way. at first writing concept. of our earliest writers. the less dignified sort of writers imitated whereas Athenians use the word prattein for this the actions of inferior men.for example. but and we observe that all men find pleasure in imi- in another sense. some tell us. the Margites of Homer 4 himself. that these latter kinds of imita. in addition. to see the object previously. he resembles Aristophanes. tations. For there are some things that dis- dramatizing the incidents of the story. encomia. As we said at the beginning. It is from tress us when we see them in reality. heroes. the origin of the art of poetry the fitting meter came to light. the technical terms they use for these art forms. Thus. that this particular object is out that their poet Epicharmus far antedates that kind of object.. but that the Athenians call their towns meters are parts of the rhythms). By this they argue that the root of the been naturally endowed with these gifts from the name "comedian" is not derived from komazein beginning and then developing them gradually.] not only handled these well but he also made his POETICS 6r . Writers of be the originators of "drama. In these poems." let us accept before Homer. to other men as well. the one that now is to be found in· two natural causes. Thus men find those in Megara itself. Speaking generally. Homer. were many who wrote such poems. invective] because it was originally used by men to satirize each other.e. The proof of this point is what actually since they both imitate characters as acting and happens in life. the forms characters who "dramatize" the incidents of the of the most despised animals and of corpses. and other such poems. [Tf.C. Thus. in one way. animals because he is the most imitative of them. in their wanderings after they had been driven in Poetry then diverged in the directions of the disgrace from the city. but the most this. For the bears the name "iambic" [i. since if one has not happened Chionides and Magnes 7 .claim to have origi. some were 7Not much is known. who point is -for example. imitations are to process of imitation is natural to mankind from be distinguished under these three headings: childhood on: Man is differentiated from other means. Since imitation is given to us by nature. invectives as the former writers wrote hymns and Concerning the number and kind of distinc. having demoi. who assert that comedy pleasure in viewing representations because it arose when democracy was established among turns out that they learn and infer what each thing them. in a similar Dorians claim to be the originators of both way. they cite similar. for example. The plot. The Megarians . although it is probable that there what has been said above. beyond what Aristotle tells us in the heroic and some iambic poets. and manner. men. only they have an tragedy and comedy. about these-three comic writers who lived in the early was especially the poet of noble actions (for he part of the fifth century B. since they both imitate noble men. those Megarians in Sicily. [the word for "reveling"] but from komai [their for the most part. but it is pos- sible to attribute them to authors who came after Homer . finally created the art of poetry word for the towns] that the comic artists visited from their early improvisations. In support of their claim to natural dispositions of the poets.both abbreviated share in this pleasure. and." they point out that greater dignity imitated the noble actions of noble the word for "doing" is dran in their dialect. And just as Homer Poetics. object. he will not find any nated comedy. as are for they say that they call the towns around their harmony and rhythm (for it is apparent that city komai. As proof of their contentions. it is also for this reason that the most pleasant to philosophers but. accurate representations of these same things we tions are called· "dramas" because they present view with pleasure . Sophocles is the same kind of imitative artist as and he learns his first lessons through imitation.as.

and number of actors from one to two. Aeschylus was the first to increase the logues." tragedies instead of epics because these genres What we mean by "the ridiculous" is some error were of greater importance and more admired or ugliness that is painless and has no harmful than the others. whoever can judge what is good 62 ARISTOTLE . are unknown. one group becoming writers of comedies vice but specifically by "the ridiculous. of the parts of a poem are common to both tragedy was embellished. For the iambic is the most attempts. These are characterized not by every kind of natures. a dignified Now epic poetry follows the same pattern as level. the performers ary in many of our cities. there is a difference in length. as far as possible. What is about have been recorded. we must consider them tragedy and epic. But epic dif- tetrameter because their poetry was satyric and fers from tragedy in that it uses a single meter. Thus by developing away from a and began to write speeches and plots of a more satyr-play of short plots and absurd diction. And dialogue was introduced. and regard to time. and it was first Crates among the Atheniau poets duced scene painting. which is ugly and dis- tragedy is by now sufficiently developed in its torted but causes no pain. information about the history of comedy is lack- tion (both tragedy and comedy are similar in this ing because the genre was not treated. who established the number of actors. comedy is an imitation of baser each type of poetry according to their individual men. undergoing were all volunteers. The creation of plots came first from Sicily. invective but the ridiculous. For tragedy the appropriate meter. respect. at first. to remain within one conversational of the meters . and some belong to tragedy as having been mentioned by us. But when tragedy and 5 comedy began to appear. at the respect) on the part of those who led the dithy. Epic poetry. not depart from this the fact that we speak many iambs when talking by much. tragedy achieved. And it was only after comedy many changes (since our poets were developing had attained some recognizable fo= that we aspects of it as they emerged). as an improvisa. however. Tragedy. until then. although at first the poets proceeded in Moreover. the number of episodes was increased. universal nature. For his Margites has the same relation to comedy as the Iliad and Odyssey have to tragedy. Therefore. increased the number of actors to three and intro. beginning. For it would alone. belongs to another discussion. the consideration of whether or not mind is the comic mask. to the comic poets. poets were attracted to As we have said. he also many other matters of this type. Then the iambic meter took the place of the tragedy insofar as it is the imitation of noble sub- tetrameter. judged both in regard to its Now then. tory of tragedy and the men who brought them mances. just as comedy arose from those who led recently that the archons began to grant choruses the phallic songs that even now are still custom. logue the major element in the play. began to have a record of those designated as gressed until it attained the fulfillment of its own "comic poets. we are told. writers of a subdivision of the category of "deformity. but few [dactylic] hexameters." which is in place of iambics. late in its history. and the other. formal elements. very closely associated with dance. Then tragedy acquired its who departed from iambic [or invective] poetry magnitude. nature itself discovered further. so also he first traced out the probably be an eno=ous task to go through each fo= of comedy by dramatically presenting not of these elements one by one.as we see from circuit of the sun or. and differs from tragedy in this only when departing from conversational tone. Some As to the other elements by which." Who introduced masks or pro- nature. Sophocles where it is attributed to Epicha=us and Phormis. gradually pro. tragedy in the same way as they did in epic.imitations dramatic). The example that comes immediately to Now then. has no limit in to each other. the successive changes in the his- essential nature and in regard to its public perfor. at least. as a serious art form. For the poets first used the trochaic jects presented in an elevated meter. but when and its manner of presentation is narrative. effects. reduced the role of the chorus and made the dia. It was only rambs. but the analogous relevant is that it arose.

that· the arrangement of the spectacle arrangement of the incidents. per se. Now I mean by the plot the arrangement of Tragedy is. an imitation of a noble and com. employ these parts. and the end 9There is no word in the Greek text for "proper. 8 Let us now discuss tragedy. I mean by These parts are plot. "Catharsis. of course. Both happiness are the means through which the agents accom. I mean by diction the act. and thought. Golden. it is presented in dramatic. on the basis of these two considerations that we designate the quality of 6 actions." It is. and kinds of linguistic adornment applied separately three from the objects of the imitation. See L. without action tragedy would be add a modifier to the term "magnitude" where it is logically warranted. character. it may be. 23 and 24. diction. 8 Aristotle discusses the epic in Chs. having the proper magnitude. of life is some action. it follows. written but lost. [Tf. for in turn. but of human action and as would be melody and diction. indeed. thought. applied separately in the various parts of prove a point or. the most significant thing of all.9 it accordance with which we say that agents are of employs language that has been artistically a certain type. through the representation of whole have six parts in accordance with which. some part of the tragedy imitation of men. and by according to their characters men have certain qualities. for tragedy is not an should be. first The most important of these parts is the of all. indeed. It is also in is associated with hexameter verse and about regard to these that the lives of all turn out well or comedy later. not some quality. because the two natural causes of human We shall speak about the fonn of imitation that action are thought and character." but I is.lO Now itself. song. the catharsis of as a genre. so to speak. 18-19).is found in whatever things men say when they ment. The term "representation" has also been added to the final clause of this sentence because of Aristotle's insis- tence that the pleasure of tragedy is achieved through imita. and the end plish the imitation. but tion of the Poetics dealing with comedy seems to have been character is included on account of the action. [Tf. Poets do not. also. Not parts are accomplished by meter alone and others. what is completely obvious. diction. pitiable and fearful incidents. therefore. for these life and happiness and misery. these are imitation is of an action and is accomplished by also found in tragedy. Various Aristotelian scholars (including Lane Thus the end of tragedy is the presentation of the Cooper and Elder Olson) have attempted to reconstruct what a poetics of comedy would be like. Beyond in the various parts of the play. and by thought I mean that which enhanced by each of the kinds of linguistic adom. and achieves. bring.] and Hardy. individual incidents and of the plot. it achieves its particular quality. express a general the play. imitation by acting the story out. lone text is corrupt here. It is necessary. but according to their actions they are happy or the opposite.create action in order to imitate character. such pitiable and fearful incidents.11. For whatever parts epic poetry has.the incidents. as we have said. every drama [theoretically] has specta- And since [in drama] agents accomplish the cle. plot.and misery consist in a kind of action. that tragedy as a fonn. For this reason we say that tragic plot is ing together the definition of its essence that an imitation of action. not narrative truth. character. Since the epic. Two of these parts come that which is accompanied by rhythm and har. of making metrical compositions. one from the manner of its presentation. and by character that element in plete action. the sort of men these agents are is of the parts of tragedy are found in epic poetry." TAPA 93 emendation suggested by Vablen and accepted by Bywater (1962): 58." spectacle. but. "language that has been artistically enhanced. necessarily dependent upon their "character" and "thought.from the means by which the imitation is carried mony and song.and bad in tragedy can also do this in regard to melody. a few poets. 14. has emerged from what we have already said. of necessity.poorly. not all certain agents. and by the phrase "each of the out. but the sec.] POETICS . then. The translation follows an tion (Ch." I mean that some these parts there is nothing left to mention. through song. have followed the practice of several other translators who Furthennore. therefore. and melody.

has a satisfactory is more effective than that of the poet. and second is to have a beginning and a middle and an end. arts of politics and rhetoric. indeed. To be a whole tively. Now that we have defined these te=s. his painting. in reference to the composi. Therefore those speeches very small animal be beautiful (for one's view of do not manifest character in which there is the animal is not clear. ing situation exists in painting. therefore. and our contemporary is composed of separate parts. anywhere. and I mean an example from our painters. Thought we find in those speeches in that the tragedies of many of our modem poets which men show that something is or is not. utter some nniversal proposition. Thought is the third part of tragedy and is the It is necessary. or are characterless. A closely correspond" By a "beginning" I mean that which is itself not. the most important factors by means of which tragedy exerts an influ. to a living being and in regard to any object that ters speak like statesmen. that tragedy is the imitation of a complete and tion of the incidents. the soul of tragedy. thing else and which has something else after it. for sion of thoughts through language which. but that they confo= to the distinc- tion of speeches. in importance is character. that well-constructed ability to say whatever is pertinent and fitting to plots not begin by chance. as we see. he mean exactly the opposite: that which is naturally would not please us as much as if he had outlined after something else. For if someone by necessity. nor end the occasion. but without character it would still be absolutely nothing that the speaker chooses or possible. but the object must also be of a magnitude individual's purpose by indicating. We have posited perfect diction and character before the construc. the expres- the point when compared to Polygnotus. that is not fortuitous. on account of this. but the work of Zeuxis shows no real Of the remaining parts. something naturally is or develops. experience this difficulty. By an "end" I ors. plot and arrangement of incidents. but far more will this be accomplished mance and actors.. is an tomarily. Furthe=ore. Also. both in regard point out that our earlier poets made their charac. then. 7 ence on the soul are parts of the plot. not only must there poets make them speak like rhetoricians. what sort of things magnitude and order. attracts our attention but is the least essen- and are well-constructed in diction and thought. by this alone. then. in ARISTOTLE . as it does. For beauty is dete=ined by stances where it is not clear. in whole action having a proper magnitude. the reversal. possible for something to be a whole and yet not The first principle. For it is nearly all of our early poets. and it is. achieve the end of tragedy is felt even without a dramatic perfor- tragedy. is the essential function of the tions that have been made above. since this is the first and most those who attempt to write tragedies are able to important element of tragedy. after anything else but after which should paint by applying the most beantiful col. Zeuxis illustrates by diction. have any considerable magnitude. for beauty to exist. neither would a he chooses or rejects. for the . to take The fourth literary part is diction. which.impossible. This point is illustrated both by the fact rejects. but without reference to an overall plan. for example. By imitation of an action. nevertheless. as has already been said. Furthe=ore. Polygnotus is good at incorporating character into is the same whether in verse or prose. if someone of the linguistic adornments. but after which there is nothing else. melody is the greatest characterization at all. therefore. to be arranges a series of speeches that show character sure. the art of the costume designer inadequately but. As proof of this we Furthe=ore. and by the fact that many poets. tial part of the art of poetry. in general. and spectacle. anywhere. In addition to the arguments already given. taking place. Tragedy. and to speak figura. For the power of he will not. a "middle" I mean that which is itself after some- an imitation of men acting. Now be a proper arrangement of the component ele- character is that part of tragedy which shows an ments. is the plot.realiza- by the tragedy that employs these elements rather tion of spectacle. either necessarily or cus- the figure in black and white. We have further proof of our cuss what kind of process the arrangement of view of the importance of plot in the fact that incidents must be. in circum. let ns dis- and the recognition.

orga- and wholeness of the animal are lost to the nized the Odyssey around one action of the type viewer's sight as would happen. assign any names that happen include all the things that ever happened to to occur to them. in their metrical and prose versions). regard to bodies and animals for there to be a so also. since it is an irrutation of an action. of a what sort of man turns out to say or do . would. therefore.the. It is apparent from what we have said that it is not The limit." But Homer. Necessarily. whereas 8 the poet writes about things as they might possi- A plot is a unity not. very large animal beautiful (for then one's view but between these two events there is no neces- does not occur all at once. For if it were necessary for a hundred tragedies to be played. if we have been speaking about and did the same we should come across an animal a thousand with ·the Iliad. story to be one story. and history anyone person.they do not follow the pro- Odysseus: (For example. By the universal I mean assert. and . the action be put together in such a way that if any and this is one that can be easily taken in by the one part is transposed or removed. we must more with the individual. remain a form of history both sity. events such as whatever is longer (provided it remains quite might occur and have the capability of occurring clear) is always more beautifuL To give a general in accordance with the laws of probability or rule. whether through his technical skill or his native once they have constructed the plot through talent. just as he was superior in other Now then.thus. for in some of the cal and more significant than history. For that whose pres- matic contests and in terms of the physical view. a plot. for the comic poets. with the universal. is more philosophi- concerned with one individual.theywould be presented by timing them with water. it is necessary that the parts of there must be a proper length in regard to plots. So that just as it is necessary in forms of imitation. in the life. being the goal poetry aims at. lies in the fact that the historian nar- rates events that have actually happened. rather. actions are imitated. this point has already been made respects.unity sary or probable relation. but rather. Poetry. rather. rather. For this reason all: those poets this. By the individual I mean a for they think that since Heracles was one person statement telling.to have erred who have written a Heracleid gives individual names to the characters whose and a Theseid and· other poems of this type.. since in making the Odyssey he did not probable incidents. also. POETICS 65 .that is set in regard to magni.an· almost unperceived length of time). merely if it is bly occur. the function of the poet to narrate events that have tude by the very nature of the subject itself is that actually happened. did or experienced. nonetheless. although it seem. verse but they that are in accordance with probability or neces. it happened that cedure ofthl:: iambic poets who write about spe- Odysseus was wounded on Parnassus and that he cific individuals.) Homer. one imitation is of one thing. for example. the whole will memory. whole. ...what sort single person from which no overall unity of of thing according to probability or necessity - action emerges. however. Moreover.and this is the length that must be an imitation of an action that is one and can easily be perceived at a glance . Thus. as some think. nor is a feigned madness at the time of the call to arms. also seems to have seen this point well. there are Jllany actions. proper magnitude . For the historian and the poet do not change to occur from bad fortune to good or from differ by their writing in prose or verse (the works good fortune to bad through a series of incidents of Herodotus might be put into. ence or absence has no evident effect is not part ing of the performance is not a matter related to of the whole. The differ- ence. but. The limit oflength in regard to the dra. just as in other miles in length).. be disordered and disunified. however. clear in regard to comedy. for example. there \S no unity . In regard to tragedy. is a sufficient limit of magnitude. "what Alcibiades it is appropriate for his. then.clocks as we 9 are told happened on some occasions in the past.: the art of poetry. we say that whatever length is required for a necessity . for poetry is many and infinitely varied things that happen to more concerned.

we feel. yet because of as the same indicates. is a change from ignorance one another. It is clear then been defined. Recognition. the play to the opposite state of affairs. we argue. it could not have occurred. understand the prominently. ten. and complex when its change of his meters. Thus we must not seek to cling exclu- sively to the stories that have been handed down 10 and about which our tragedies are usually writ. should be in because of their own inadequacies. bringing about either a state of 11Agathon was' a late fifth-century B. because of the action that has taken place. in others not even one is not without meaning and thus we must con- is well known. for example. just as has Such plots are constructed by the inferior poets been said. It would be absurd. actually occurred from belonging to the class of For it makes quite a difference whether they occur the probable or possible. And in action. invented for the occasion. and nonetheless they please us. this in the story of the statue of Mitys in Argos if it were not. continuous and unified I call simple from these considerations that it is necessary for when its change of fortune arises without reversal the poet to be more the poet of his plots than of and recognition. action but is also of fearful and pitiable inci. Thus. pretation of this passage. so actually occurred. that dents. 11 sider plots that incorporate incidents of this type since in this play both the incidents and the to be superior ones. he is no less the poet for that.C. tragic poet whose 121 have followed Butcher's. but it is apparent that whatever associated with them. but it turns out. to do this since for the actions of which the plots are imitations are the well-known plots are known only to a few. Hardy's." [Tr.] phrase to mean "when he was looking at the statue. and by the accordance with probability and necessity. Even in capable of happening is readily believable. He appears. insofar as he is a poet· because he is fortune arises through recognition or reversal or an imitator and imitates human actions. and it: is in regard to this because of those events or merely after them. For there is more of the marvelous to knowledge.rz The occurrence of such an event. An action that is. If the both. good poets because of the actors. aspect that he is the poet of them. Of the simple plots and actions the episodic are the worst. names have been invented. as has but nevertheless please everyone. Agathon's Antheus. and I mean by episodic a plot in II which the episodes follow each other without Reversal is the change of fortune in the action of regard for the laws of probability or necessity. Others. We have an example of has happened is also capable of happening for. For since they in the Oedipus the messenger comes to cheer are writing plays that are to be entered in contests Oedipus and to remove his fears in regard to his (and so stretch the plot beyond its capacity) they mother. we must note that these are intensified Danaus dies and Lynceus is saved. Lynceus is being led away to die and Since the imitation is not only a complete Danaus is following to kill him. when they occur unexpectedly. Plots are divided into the simple and the complex. but by showing him who he actua1ly is he are frequently forced to distort the sequence of accomplishes the very opposite effect. Lynceus. and this change. killing the man who caused Mitys' death by Nevertheless in some tragedies one or two of the falling upon him as he was a spectator at a festi- names are well known and the rest have been val. [fr. Now these aspects of the plot must develop poet happens to write about things that have directly from the construction of the plot itself.our poets cling to the names of the heroes of the in them if they occur this way than if they past on the principle that whatever is clearly occurred spontaneously and by chance. indeed. astonishing that appear to have some design pened is possible. in Plato's Symposium. naturally of this character. and Bywater's inter- work has not survived except in fragments.] 66 ARISTOTLE . however. that they occur from prior events either out of For nothing prevents some of the things that have necessity or according to the laws of probability. those seem to be most cannot be sure that whatever has not yet hap. We regard to coincidences.

to conceming the quantitative aspects of tragedy. the above distinctions have been made of a very causal kind. in must view as formal elements we have discussed a way. that ple. scenes of very great pain. the parode is the entire who have been marked out for good fortune or first speech of the chorus. The most effective recognition is one that the chorus without anapests and trochees. one who succumbs choric songs. must an extremely evil man appear to move from reversal and recognition. repellent. rather. is found songs from the stage and kommoi. and there is also a third bad fortune to good fortune for that is the most part. There are also other kinds of recog. which difficulties have defined tragedy as an imitation of actions of they must be wary of when constructing their this type. looking servedly falls into misfortune. and how the proper function of tragedy is will appear in circumstances of this type. on must be an imitation of pitiable and fearful inci- other occasions it will be necessary for there to be dents (for this is the specific nature of the imita- a recognition on the part of both parties: for exam. exode. it is clear. it would 12 not contain the necessary elements of pity and The parts of tragedy that we must view as formal fear. The parts of tragedy that we nition for. This would logue is the complete section of a tragedy before be a person who is neither perfect in virtue and the parade of the chorus. selves who encounters this misfortune (pity. These are com. indeed. What is left. in regard to inanimate things. nitions that belong to this class will merely Since the plots of the best tragedies must be involve the identification of one person by another complex. the of the pitiable or fearful in it. the stasimon is a song of bad. For such a recogni. Furthermore.friendship or one of hostility on the part of those chorus. Nor Now then. which is ter). and furthermore. for that is neither be another recognition of him on her part. but it is necessary that there to fall from good fortune to bad. tion under discussion). for example. the exode is the complete section through some miscalculation. even things previously. The pro. rus and the actors. reversal and recognition untragic situation of all because it has none of the have been discussed. for pity is aroused by someone who unde- elements we have discussed previously. and a occurs together with reversal. Of the choral part. someone in between these extremes. as in kommos is a lament sung in common by the cho- the Oedipus. these are two parts of the plot. fear for the lat- episode. arising for the former reason. what we have said happens. it both vio- results from destructive or painful action such as lates our human sympathy and contains nothing death on the stage. and it is possible. not simple. the remarks that have just been made. For. the follow. Since accomplished are matters we should discuss after this kind of recognition is of persons. an episode is the justice. first of all. Therefore the emotional effect of the situa- divided into parode and stasimon. tion just mentioned will be neither pitiable nor monly found in all plays. but only in a few are fearful. Of these. as I ing are the distinctions to be made: prologue. But the type of recognition that is especially a part of the plot and the action is the one that has been mentioned. and fear is evoked at the quantitative aspect of tragedy and the parts by our recognizing that it is someone like our- into which it is divided in this regard. happiness and misery plots. say. although such a plot would be in accordance with our human sympathy. lainous man should not appear to fall from good fortune to bad. He must also be of a tragedy after which there is no song of the a person who enjoys great reputation and good POETICS . after our considerations. the incident of suffering necessary requirements of tragedy. Iphigenia is recognized by Orestes from her unqualifiedly good human beings must not appear sending of the letter. "recognize" whether someone has or has not done and the parts into which it is divided in this regard. nor one who falls into misfortune through complete section of a tragedy between complete vice and depravity. something. suffering. some recog. but rather. 13 tion and reversal will evoke pity or fear. and the choral part. it is. a vil- infliction of wounds. and we What goals poets must aim at. further. and the plot of a tragedy when the identity of the second person is clear. and the like. pitiable nor fearful.

Since the poet should provide pleasure from Meleager. the most tragic of the poets. for we should not seek accepted any chance plots. be something pitiable. our poets the creation of tragedy. artisti. It is neces. and for this to of the Oedipus would experience. That is what anyone who hears the plot opposite. If an enemy takes such his plots end in misfortune. ending in or commits some equally terrible act . and because many of whatsoever. skillful adaptation of a story. Orestes adapting the stories that have been handed down. it is not possible for of the audience. such as Oedipus. whoever are the great-. this function must be worked into the incidents. kind of plot. Telephon. furthermore. one that is called first by some. go Let us define more clearly what we mean by the off together. completely the traditional stories. as we have said. For initially. It is also possible to have the from the very structnre of the plot. Oedipus. For as we have indicated. It is. and other superior way and shows the better poet. than a worse one). and not an appropriate pleasure of tragedy but rather Eriphyle at the hands of Alcmaeon. For our poets trail along writing a poet to alter. which is the deed done with those who accomplish the terrible 68 ARISTOTLE . the an action against an enemy. but now the best every pleasure from tragedy but only the one tragedies are constructed about a few families. essary for the poet to be inventive and skillful in est enemies in the story . The achieve- take place not because of depravity but through ment of this effect through the spectacle does not some great miscalculation on the part of the type have much to do with poetic art and really of person we have described (or a better rather belongs to the business of producing the play. indeed. has a double son a father or a mother a son or a son a mother structure of events. for proper to it. and any others pity and fear through imitation.for example. about Alcmaeon. The poet illustrious men from similar families. and. as in the Odyssey. the spectacle to create not the A sign of our point is found in what actually fearful but only the monstrous have no share in happens in the theater. The second ranking if a brother kills or intends to kill a brother or a plot. the very turn out. . should construct the plot so that even if the action sary. But this dou.there will opposite ways for the better and worse characters. indeed. those critics make the necessary that any such action occur either very mistake that we have been discussing who between those who are friends or enemies to each blame Euripides because he handles the material other. Now. from good fortune to bad. But Euripides. and party had any relationship with the other. terrifying acts. and no one is killed by anyone. I mean. with the characters. except the suffering itself.for example. the best tragedy arises from this appear to be terrifying and pitiable. as our early poets bandIed it. It is possible for the action to occur. if they are properly worked out. For in comedy.fortune. Therefore. Thyestes. to each other. aud to illustrate a change of fortune both shudders and feels pity from the way they not from bad fortune to good but. the given fact that ble structure of events involves a pleasure that is Clytemnestra dies at the hands of Orestes. nevertheless appears to be involving strong ties of affection . or between those who have no relationship. Let us try to understand what type of occurrences cally considered. Thyestes. Aegisthus . as indeed Euripides makes Medea Pity and fear can arise from the spectacle and also kill her children. Those who use. are It seems to be first on account of the inadequacy the ones to be sought. in his tragedies in this way. intention to perform it. one wbo have a single rather than a double construction. knowing and understanding what 14 they are doing. These situations. then. for example. The very great pitiable in the performance of the act or in the proof of this is that on the stage and in the dra. or to commit.becoming friends at the end. Orestes. matic contests such plays appear to be the most Nor would there be anything pitiable if neither tragic. but it is nec- of comedy. example. even if in other matters he does not whenever the tragic incidents occur in situations manage things well. there is nothing correct procedure. it is apparent that who were destined to experience. as merely hears tbe incidents tbat have occurred some urge. to please the tastes of the audience. rather. For this is. for the well-constructed plot to is not performed before spectators.

JThe Crespholltes and the Jphigenia. we must always seek for either the necessary ate effect in their plots. and in the lament of Odysseus in the Scylla and the in the Helle. to return time and again to that number says or does certain kinds of things. both a woman and a to have an action take· place. We have no further infonnation like lvlenelaus's cowardice in Euripides' Orestes. The third point about character is that it for example. but we find an example of such an incident in the play itself. and in the Jpizigenia. no the intellectual cleverness that is associated with one handles a situation this way. First and foremost." Aristotle is distinguishing between the'intrinsic value of personages (he considered women and slaves to be inferior beings) and the instrumental value of their 13Astydamas was a fourth-century B. We have now spoken sufficiently about 15Aristotle's word for "good" here. For proceeding not by art. ----------". but. For even if it is and after he has done it recognizes his relation. it is neverthe- the most effective is the final type. where a son who is about to surren. and the recognition is startling. choice is good. so that a given type of person therefore. For it is necessary slave have their particular virtues even though the either to do the deed or not and either knowingly former of these is inferior to a man. The incident. debased character in the figure of Menelaus in the nizes him. The fourth the case where one does the deed in ignorance aspect of character is consistency._---_. it will manifest character. chresten. is out- side the plot. and the character will be good if the but recognizes this relationship before doing it. as in the construction of the ind.. there are four points to be Wounded Odyssells. for it is repellent and not tragic because priate for a woman to exhibit either this quality or it lacks the element of suffering. as has ignorance of his relationship to another person been said.is to be concerning the Helle.] point is that character must serve the ends of the drama. For it is possible for a person to be knowingly is about to do the deed and does not is manly in terms of character. poet. dents._-- deed in ignorance of the identity of their victim. except rarely. which has no effect on the action- extant. of unsuitable and inappropriate character involved in a similar situation with a brother. the construction of the incidents and of what type only later recognizing the relationship as in the plot must be. speech of Melanippe. lies. the Wounded ethical choices to the drama in which they figure. here. But kind of character being imitated)..on the contrary. For. and the latter or in ignorance. Sophocles' Oedipus. in the action of l5 Astydamas's Alcmaeon or of Telegonus in the In regard to character. for example. character must Of these possibilities. Therefore. in the Antigone. character as it develops later in the play. and of inconsistency of der his mother recognizes her. They are compelled. is completely ignobleY Second. but it is not appro- the worst. and l. men . the case in which one be appropriate. [Tr. character should be type in addition to these that involves someone good. For the repellent aspect imitation (I refer to the model that suggested the is not present.- error. POETICS . To do the deed making character virtuous and making it appro- knowingly is the next best way. We have an example of unnecessarily her son and does not. poets learned how to produce the appropri.C. for this is different from act in this way toward Creon. Goodness is possible for each Beyond these possibilities. and one event of families in which these terrifying events have occurred. but by trial and In character. means "valu- able" rather than Unable. where Merope is going to kill sistent. [Tr. Aristotle's Odysseus may have been a play by Sophocles. ine's role as a suppliant does not fit in with her ously.13 and there is further a third aimed at. as we have defined these tenus. or the probable. Haemon is made to should be like reality. an inconsistent character who is the subject of the ship to the other person.14 character in Jphigenia at Aulis where the hero- It is for this reason that. the fanner no longer that motiveless choice. are plays by Euripides. as we have said previ. tragedies are concerned with a few fami.] avoided. there is no other way class of individuals. in less necessmy for him to be consistently incon- the Cresphontes. where a sister is Orestes. If a speech or action has some choice con- who intends to commit some fatal act through nected with it. recog. Better than this is ptiate.

it is possible frequently to make mistakes The third type arises from our being stimulated in regard to these. Hardy. hears the lyre player and. Thus.l able for Orestes to infer that. reminded of his past cated previously. and Bywater in reading nition of this type was suggested by Polyidus the the name of the tragic poet here. or those that occur after that need ways. the "voice of the shuttle" in the Tereus of sarily from the nature of the art of poetry. as in birth. there is no one resembling me except Orestes. has an emotional significance for us. in Sophocles' these. in both instances. Of these some are found on the body. for the Medea. and as another ex- The deus ex machina must be reserved for the ample. example. body. Of the kinds of recognition fortunes. and are therefore inartistic. For example. We have spoken sufficiently by something that we see to remember an event that about these matters in our published works. which poets mainly use through the recognized. also. there is one. since his sister was 70 ARISTOTLE .follows another according to necessity or proba. are Because tragedy is an imitation of the nobler better. they also paint Orestes in the Jphigenia makes known that he is them better than they are." or the "stars" such as bility. Now those things. either those that accomplished in the Tyro. Thus. as well as all that are similar to outside the plot as. Another recog- "I have followed Butcher. and also in regard to the events sur. for Iphigenia made herself known imitating men who are prone to anger or who are through the letter. the way jects and represent them faithfully. achieved by the deduction: Someone like me has ple. accustomed to bear. has come. for example. the ark through which the recognition is events that lie outside the plot. first of all. he. for example. scars. rather close to the error that has already been just as Agathon 16 and Homer portray Achilles. weeps. it should be signs as proof. For through his scar in one way by the nurse and we grant to the gods the power of seeing all in another way by the swineherds. Then the plots should also occur through the plot itself there are characteristics that we acquire after and not by means of the deus ex machina. This is the form of The fourth type of recognition occurs through recognition that is achieved through external reasoning. sort of men it is necessary for poets to imitate In second place come those recognitions that good portrait painters. and also in the story of Alcinous where Odysseus What we mean by "recognition" we have indi. the poet Orestes. for example. in addition." [Tr. Another matters and. but those that derive from the reversal of Oedipus. Other scholars accept a Sophist in regard to Iphigenia. Sophocles. poverty of their inspiration. for exam. some of these are birthmarks. For even though they have been contrived for the occasion by the poet reproduce the specific characteristics of their sub. action. that is least emotional reactions that the characters were artistic. mentioned. For. and others are external to the rounding the department of the fleet in the Iliad. such as necklaces. it is apparent that the resolutions of Carcinus wrote about in his Thyestes. as in the Bath Scene ofthe Odyssey. Therefore this type of recognition is well. Odysseus was recognized to be announced and spoken of beforehand. indeed. even though they have such characteristics. This type of recognition occurs in the Cyprioe of Dicaeogenes 16 where the sight of the painting brings forth tears. then. in the Choephoroe it is signs. therefore. "the spearhead which the Earth-born are come. be nothing improbable recognitions are less artistic that depend on in the action. it was by their that occur. for it was reason- manuscript reading of the word meaning "good. for it would have been just as pos- It is necessary to pay close attention to these sible for him to carry tokens with him. to those that pertain to example of this type of recognition is the use of the effects upon an audience that follow neces. It is also possible to happened before it that are not capable of being employ these recognitions in better and worse known by men. There should. but if this is impossible. but he himself says what the indifferent or who are disposed in other such poet wishes him to say but not what the plot ways in regard to character makes them good as requires.

The second-best type of recognition is the which it was the custom to sacrifice strangers to one that is achieved by reasoning. this came his deliverance. soning to suppose through this that he would rec. both those that ognize it again (as if he had seen it before). that not only had it been necessary for his his notice. distress. For. When possible before his eyes. [Tr.19 tion is made that he who had come to find a son As much as is possible the poet should also was.ls already are in existence and those he himself The best recognition is the one that arises from invents. they were fated to die tate. for example.17 for example. the mad- ness of Orestes through which he was captured and his deliverance through purification. sary to complete the episodes. in the Tydeus of Theodectes. a point that would have names have already been assigned. man is away from home for many years. and one who is enraged conveys anger There is also a type of composite recognition most truly. and she came to hold the priesthood for this sacrifice. Euripides handled the situation or as Polyidus cover what is fitting for his purpose. in the action of eral view of the action of the play. those are most per- the place. the play failed must be appropriate. the following general view of the where it is reasonable for the heroine to wish to Iphigenia: A young girl had been sacrificed and dispatch a letter. and there arranged it. achieves its length by means of them. when they had seen of the same natural abilities. for some reason. like. the goddess. in a very reasonable will be the least chance of incongruities escaping way. Except for the Choephoroe. either as present at their actual occurrence. for the Oedipus of Sophocles and in the Iphigenia. because the audience was annoyed at this inc on- Again. for example. gruity. [Tr. For Amphiarus is com. for example. She settled in another country in laces. After this. The episodes ally seen it. example. and from that is made of Carcinus. in the story of Odysseus. just as if he were sacrificed he made himself known. the poet must keep the action as much as pose of his coming is outside of the plot). one who is distressed conveys there. commanded In constructing plots and working them out with him to come is outside the argument. striking us. but epic meaning "another" in place of the manuscript reading "audi.] further is known of the play mentioned here. matter for the well-endowed poet than for the fren- acter. Later. "both text and inter. and on the stage. closely pretation here are in the highest degree doubtful. For the ence" followed by Kassel and Hardy. of the latter type are possessed. to perish. nothing plays mentioned in the previous paragraph. the zied one.sacrificed. he was also going to be sacrificed.] argument of the Odyssey is not long: A certain 18In this passage. but it is false rea. as they do. In regard to arguments. by his saying. we do not have any infonnation about the 19Carcinus was a fifth-century B. the poet should first put them down in the incidents themselves. Such recognitions alone are had disappeared in a way that was obscure to the accomplished without contrived signs and neck. Therefore. sacrificers. A sign of this is found in the criticism sister to be sacrificed but also for him. [Tr. for he said that he would know teristic can easily change character. and on the point of being events as distinctly as he can. the art of poetry is more a from false reasoning on the part of another char." I have fol- lowed his interpretation of this difficult passage. Another example is in the work out the action with gestures. inferred their destiny: that since they suasive who are involved in the emotions they imi- had been exposed there. the pur- diction. he will dis. For by visualizing the he came he was seized. it turned out that the 17 brother of the priestess came to this country (the fact that the god. given poets Phinidae where the women. I mean that the poet should take a gen- their occurrence as.] POETICS 71 . Bywater notes that. it is neces- escaped the audience's notice if it had not actu. For poets marked by the fo=er charac- False Messenger. when the ing back from the temple.C. whereas those the bow that he had not seen. himself. tragic poet. 171 have followed Bywater in accepting an emendation In drama. the deduc. the episodes are short. as. universal fo= and then extend them by adding with astonishment through the very probability of episodes.

By their complications. Frequently plot more than anything else: that is. then as many as possible and certainly Storm-driven. the songs included in the play Bound. Many poets are skillful in constructing the rest of the play consists of the resolution. for example. include all elements in the play. Bywater. who were outstanding in regard to each kind of thing else is episode. translates the passage 1456'. 18 It is correct to speak ofa tragedy as. for example. For although there have been poets self saved. 7-10. every. In the hands does not connect the latter play with the famous Prometheus of our later poets. Now it is alone. or a brave but unjust man is defeated. necessary to attempt. This is especially so certain people acquainted with him. while destroying his enemies. His family at home continually faces a sit.watched by Poseidon but otherwise completely those plays that take place in Hades. as Sisyphus. in the Lynceus of plot). there. Hardy. about the entire story of Niobe (and not just a which consists wholly in reversal and recogni.] involvement in the action should not be in 22The Daughters of Phorcis and Prometheus are both by Aeschylus. as much as possible. Butcher. For example. but if that is not dered by the suitors who plot against his son. having made the most important ones. must olution I mean the part of the play from the remember not to make a tragedy out of an epic beginning of the change in fortune to the end body of incidents (by which I mean a multiple of the play. part. however. to uation where his possessions are being squan.l are no more a part of that particular plot than they 72 ARISTOTLE . when the public unjustly criticizes suitors and. in regard to some matters outside the action together with an action having the same complication and reso- some within it comprise the complication. for example. he arrives home and. is The that is. but their resolutions are poor. someone should construct a plot out of the entire thing done before the action of the play begins Iliad. for example. and lution.. [Tr. we find both the complication from or similar to another one on the basis of its and the resolution of the action. because it is pro- tion of Susemihl. is also no longer extant. our poets. mentioned the actors and as an integral part of the drama. It is necessary to consider the chorus as one of were probably written by Sophocles. complication I mean that part of the play from It is. and Kassel retain the tradi- tional reading that I have followed in my translation. these poets aim with marvelous tian Women and the Peleus. but the same parents. the tragedies of suffering. the this reason alone. the complex. following a sugges. because of the length. necessary for both elements to be the beginning up to the first point at which the mastered. This is the essence of the story. But in their reversals and in tragedies of character. 21 And a fourth type accuracy at the effects that they wish for: [the tragedy of spectacle]. its above and at 1. possible. the parts and the seizing of the child. is him. 9 in Ch. neither now extant. their simple plots. I I. since even Agathon failed for Ajaxes and Ixions that have been written. indeed. the resolution comprises all that hap. at this bable for many things to occur contrary to point in the text. if Theodectes. Troy (and not of sections of it. change occurs to good or to bad fortune. [Tf. 21The Phthiotian Women and Pe/ells. the public now demands that one man be superior to the particular virtue of each of his pre- decessors. By res. of the take on the appropriate magnitude. as Agathon says.2o as have written· about the entire destruction of There are four kinds of tragedy (for that num. the complication comprises every. Bywater identifies them as lost satyr-plays and Euripides' manner but in Sophocles'. as Euripides) or ber of parts has been mentioned). as Aeschylus) either completely fail on tion. the Phthio. probable. in turn. whatever is tragic and touches our human Daughters of Phorcis and Prometheus22 and sympathy. plot used in the drama turns out quite contrary to pens from the accusation of murder to the end of one's expectations. A sign of this is that so many the play. tragedy.] probability. as has frequently been said. The Lynceus. and. [Tr. This occurs whenever a clever but evil person is deceived. For. the stage or do badly. The poet. different In every tragedy. Such an event is 2CThe text is in dispute here. [as would be the case]. he attacks the now.

24 example. although it under this heading. in the places in the the probable. for the forms of diction that are investigated by the example. indeed. in having an acute. it is the business of the art of elocution and are the concern of the indi. therefore.] POETICS 73 . and sentence.] Protagoras says to order someone to do some. vidual sounds uttered by wild animals letters. and threat and question neither hinders nor promotes the creation of one and answer and any other such matters. All that is audible without the contact of any of the those matters pertain to thought that must be pre. further- incidents without verbal explanation. The Concerning thought. verb. connective. And yet what difference does it make whether one sings 20 an inserted song or adopts a speech or a whole episode from one play into another? The following parts comprise the entire scope of diction: letter. for example. For in significant sound from many sounds and that it is regard to the knowledge or ignorance of these matters. in aspiration and ference . Homer on the grounds that when he said. It is clear that we must becomes audible when it is accompanied by let- employ thonght also in actions in the same ways ters that are sounded. the terrible. noun. in being long or short and. but inaudible in itself. Indications of the duced by the contact of the physical structures of importance or insignificance of anything also fall the mouth. These letters differ in the positions taken tion of the pitiable. what a command is and what a prayer A connective is a nonsignificant sound that is. A vowel is a sound appropriately a subject of that discipline.mute and a vowel. art of metrics also to investigate distinctions in vidual who considers this his guiding art. Agathon first introduced this practice. whereas in more. For what would be concerning these matters belongs to the study of the function of the speaker if something should metrics. GRA. Let us. 19 but only one from which a compound sound can We have already spoken about other matters. However. of the wrath . many difficulties of interpretation. for this area. "Sing. Why should any 23r have followed Butcher and Hardy in seeing this pas~ one accept as an error Protagoras' s censure of sage as a reference to the physical means of producing speech. mouth where they are produced. For. inflection. or by the mouth to produce them. The detailed investigation arise because of the speech. Bywater disputes this interpretation and argues that the o goddess. and mute. [Tr. the significant. for example. A letter is an indivisible sound. of emotional effect. ambiguous (ean prosbole does not refer to the impact of the physical structures of the mouth but to the addition of one although he really wished to utter a prayer. For I would call none of the indi- remains for us to discuss diction and thought. not every such sound is a letter. and they may be subdi." he gave a command. or middle [cir- the speech they are produced by the speaker and cumflex] pitch accent. with the exception of this one dif. however. for example.are of any other tragedy. a sound that is audible with the contact of some of vided into proof and refutation and the production the physical structures of the mouth. sounds. not the art of poetry. no censure worth taking seriously can be made against the art of poetry.23 a semivowel is sented throngh speech. as inserted pieces from the time ple of some other art. the G and D [as in speech] whenever we aim at the representa. what a statement is. syllable. let it be taken as given what subdivisions of this category of "letters" are we have written in the Rhetoric. They have been sung. For letter to another. and a mute is a letter pro- anger or other similar emotions. pity or fear or the Sand R sonnds. for this is more vowel. Concerning diction one kind of study involves GR without an A is a syllable and also with it. disregard such a consideration as being a princi- therefore. [Tr..that the effects arise in the case of the smoothness. uthe passage that begins here is corrupt and contains thing or not is a command. appear in the way that is required without being A syllable is a nonsignificant sound con- dependent on the speech? structed from a . physical structures of the mouth.. grave. semivowel. it be constructed.

. composed solely out of significant elements. by which I mean con. for example. or is a metaphor." for example. one that itself. Thus. that tion of man by signifying one thing. For in compound nouns we do not consider altered in some way. now substitutes this term. man or men. the Iliad is a unity by the process of sometimes poets add the reference to which the joining together many speeches. can be both strange and ordinary but not. and the defini. transferred term applies." However. A verb is a compound significant sound indi. for example. or is itself.. The poet will. and by a strange word. Or it is a nonsignificant sound (except that neither element is significant within that is naturally able to make one significant the compound word itself) and nouns that are sound from a number of sounds. therefore. for example. or other to species.] 74 ARISTOTLE . such as Hermo- sentence and that may naturally be placed at caicoxanthus . "Odysseus has truly accom- questions and commands. An example of the transference from that fall under the art of elocution. in the name "Theodore" the foreigners use. This latter of this line. four. I mean by standard. and others like them." A speech is a unity in two related to a first as a fourth is to a third. Diel's conjecture. kind of connective that is a nonsignificant sound or more parts. the same word root dar [gift) has no significance. "Did plished a myriad of noble deeds. peri. it is apparent. for example." For to lie at anchor is a species of that is. For "man" or "white" do not tell the object to which it has a natural application. off is to cut and to cut is called to draw off. Every word is either standard. species or species to genus or from species Inflection is a characteristic of a noun or verb to species or by analogy. or is a strange A noun is a compound significant sound. I mean by "from genus signifying the genitive or dative relation. not word. drawn off life with a sword" and also "having selves. "praying to father Zeus. part of the speech will always have I mean by "transference by analogy" the situa- some significance. or is lengthened. for example." For a myriad he go?" or "Go!" involve inflections of the verb in is the equivalent of "many. There is also a Nouns may also be made up of three. For the ways. for example. or compound.. or indicating the singular or plural. "This ship of mine similar ones. species to genus. words each part of the compound as being significant in that everyone uses. The word sigunal1 [spear] is cating time. end." For here to draw and nouns but it is possible to have a speech with. For not every speech is composed of verbs cut with unyielding bronze. for example. significant sound transference from species to species is "having some of whose parts are significant by them. of course. amphi. tai. us anything about "when". stands there." for which the poet regard to these categories. speak of the cup as the 21 Nouns are either simple. both are subdivisions of "taking away. itself in the same way as has been indicated in Metaphor is the transference of a name from regard to nouns. from both significant and nonsignificant elements men. or is a indicating time.25 either end or in the middle of a sentence. 2SThere is a lacuna in the text here. for the phrases. Either it signifies one thing or it is a unity poet will then use the fourth in place of the sec- through the joining together of many speeches. I mean. or is concerned with matters standing. or division of a in the Massilian vocabulary. Some editors accept structed solely from nonsignificant elements. de. no part of which is significant by ordinary for the Cyprians and strange to us. no part of which is significant by coined word. or contracted. de. An example of the A speech is a compound. the definition of man). a cup is related to Dionysus as a shield is to Ares. to the same persons." as the completion for example ge [earth]. ond or the second in place of the fourth.not appropriate to place at the beginning of a category is divided into nouns that are constructed speech that stands independently. or is ornamental. but "he goes" or "he this transference can take place from genus to has gone" indicate the present and the past. "Cleon" in the tion that occurs whenever a second element is phrase "Cleon walks. and For example. for out verbs (for example. [fr. many of the words that shows the beginning.

Now it traction is krf and do and ops in "mia ginetai is not possible to do this by the combination of amphoteron ops. No noun cover the analogous relation. and five end in example. and that old turns out that there are an equal number of termi- age is the evening of life or the sunset of life. someone should write exclusively in such forms A word may be lengthened or contracted. tribute in no small measure to the diction's clarity mental word" belongs in the text at this point. But the act of nu and sigma. and metaphor and lengthened words and every- ata] called "sprouters" [emuges]. for example." and other metaphors like and invents part anew. Those are masculine that end in words and metaphor and ornamental words and nu. " strange words. and POETICS 75 . if one should call the shield not the can be seen in the poetry of Cleophon and cup of Ares but the wineless CUp." It is also possible to use metaphor in a differ. but nevertheless the ends in a mute nor in a short vowel. Thus it however Empedocles expressed it. For it is in the An example of lengthening is poleos to poleos nature of a riddle for one to speak of a situation and Peleidou to Peleiadeo. or lengthening) in the lengthened alpha. A really distinguished style varies word is one that is not in use among foreigners ordinary diction through the employment of but is the invention of the poet. an exclusive use of strange words. relation of old age to life and evening to day. to scatter seed is to sow. as for example. "I saw a man who welded bronze on of the regular name for the object he is describing another man by fire. lengthened if it makes use of a longer vowel than A riddle will result if someone writes exclusively is usual for it.] 27The phrase quoted comes from the Iliad 5:393 and because such words are different they will pre- means "at her right breast. A word is altered whenever a poet utilizes part for example. there is no regular name in use to psi and ksi are subdivisions of sigma. [Tr. but it is also mean. and it in metaphor. that actually exists in an impossible way. but the scatter. the eta and omega. upsilon. but it can be done by metaphor. Diction achieves its characteristic virtue in being ent way by applying the transferred epithet and clear but not mean. Only three related elements will be spoken of by analogy. By unusual I mean strange words some words of this type. 27 It is therefore necessary to use a combination Nouns are subdivided into masculine. place of deksion. For missing from the manuscripts. the use of standard words. sowing in regard to grain bears an analogous rela- tion to the sun's dispersing of its rays. and sigma and in the two letters psi and the other forms of speech that have been men- ksi that are constructed in combination with tioned will prevent the diction from being ordinary and mean. an example of con. or a syllable is inserted in it. kommi. and neuter. The lengthening and contraction of words and alterations in them con- 2GEditors have noted that a definition of the term "orna. Neuter nouns end in these vowels and in ing of the sun's rays has no name. for end in iota.26 A coined Sthenelus. for example. horns [ker. in the phrase this. although it is and its elevation above ordinary diction. The same situation occurs in regard to the vowels that are always long. A statement constructed exclusively from "deksiteron kata mazon" the use of deksiteron in strange words is a barbarism. But if [iereus] called "supplicator" [areter]. and so we 22 have the phrase "sowing the god-created fire. meli. Those nouns are feminine that end in the Ares. The clearest sty Ie results from then denying some aspect that is proper to it. and a barbarism will result if there is is contracted if any element is removed from it. peperi. In nations for masculine and feminine nouns since some situations. femi. A and that end (in regard to the vowels subject to poet will say that evening is the old age of day. [Tr. It is the result would either be a riddle or a barbarism.] contrast with the ordinary expression. and a priest thing that goes beyond ordinary diction." Two words meaning "right" are vent the diction from being ordinary through their quoted to illustrate Aristotle's point here. rho. of all these forms. and the use of normal speech will keep the diction clear.shield of Dionysus and the shield as the cup of sigma. There seem to be unusual words. The employment of strange nine.

but [this cancerous sore eats the flesh of my leg]. as well as strange words and metaphors and other forms to compound words and strange ones. 28This passage offers a number of difficulties in text and interpretation. if someone should substitute the ordinary words they will keep the diction clear. only those words are [feasts upon]. let what has been said suffice. or if we changed the line guage and who mock the poet." [Tr. concerning tragedy and the imita- tion that is carried out in action. and mod. meaning "hay~ Epichares going to Marathon. and it is. but by far the ordinary words. For dity. Euclid composed a satiric verse diphron moxtheron katatheis mikran te trapezan in the very words he used. and ornamental words. worthless. he missed the point that the virtue of all these When the ordinary words are inserted in the expressions is that they create an unusual element verse. Ariphrades mocked the Now then.] ARISTOTLE . we substituted eiones kra- ton ekeinou elleboron. 31 Furthermore. 28 zousin. but obtain from another. in itself. a sign of Euripides changed one word and instead of using genius. the employment of the technique tragedians because no one would use their style of lengthening in excess is ridiculous." is corrupt and does not have a clear meaning as it stands. indeed. whereas the other is In regard to words. and many other similar expressions. For Aeschylus wrote in his Phi/oetetes: suitable for dithyrambs. The essential point is that the prosaic lines quoted can be technically turned into verse if enough licenses are allowed. on the grounds that it is easy to write poetry if you are allowed to lengthen forms as much to as you want.because they have a share iu the customary word. it can be seen how great a difference the in the diction by their not being in ordinary speech. and metaphors for iambic verse. thus has an elegance to it. strange words for heroic verse. in conversation. the word order eration is a quality that is commonly needed in domaton apo in place of apo domatoll. Aehilleos. metaphors. because as much as possible it Euripides in place of "eats" substitutes thoinatai imitates conversation. and. in iambic verse. A similar situation would occur in appropriate that might be used in prose. the criticism is not well-taken on the part of those who censure this way of using lan. Epieharen eidon Marathonade badizonta and ouk an g 'eramenos or for eiones booosin. if one employs word sethen. and the metaphors and strange words and other forms in word order Aehilleos peri in place of peri an inappropriate way and with intended absur. and unseemly. Aeschylus and metaphor. For example. he would see the truth of what most important matter is to have skill in the use of we have said. [Tf. appropriate use of lengthening makes in epic It is a matter of great importance to use each of poetry." [Tr. For. meaning "the one small. his line implies the ability to see essential similarities. This skill alone it is not possible to Euripides wrote the same iambic line. compounds are especially mean. in heroic phagedialla he mou sarkas esthiei podos verse all the forms mentioned are serviceable. then. meaning "some~ 31A passage quoted from Iliad 17:265. nUll de Ill' eon lIlikros Ie kai aSlhenikos kai aeides Thus. If someone should also change the the forms mentioned in a fitting way. The first phrase may be translated "I saw 30 A passage quoted from Odyssey 20:259. the line Of this nature are standard words. as the elder Euclid diphroll aeikelion katalheis oligen Ie trapezan 30 did. he can also accomplish the same effect. nun de Ill' eon oligos te kai outidanos kai aeikifs29 Now. and the all aspects of diction.] [Tr·l 29 A passage quoted from Odyssey 9:515. For the ability to construct good metaphors a standard one employed a strange one. for example.l shores cry out. the phrase ego de nin." The text of the second phrase ing set down [for himl an unseemly chair and a small table.

Homer outstrips all oth- of time a sea battle at Salamis and a battle with the ers in diction and thought.. nitions. by which he means of increasing the poem's scope. with the exception of song and spectacle. formance.32 feel it to be inappropriate. tragedy to imitate many simultaneous lines of erate. For each of his poems is well con~ and as many things as happened in this time. as we epics but would extend to the length of the num- have already said. In gle integrated organism. and is composed of the same a beginning. thus also in the sequence of length of the plot. parts. almost all the poets commit this beginning and end in one view. for example. ilar to that found in our histories. since he did not attempt to write ber of tragedies that are designated for one per- about the complete war. Eurypylus. like a sin. If someone Neoptolemus. we would Voyage. The composition of incidents should not be sim. and end) so that. The Award of the A17J1s. The sufficient time. Horner would appear to be if the plots were shorter than those of the old of exceptional skill in relation to other poets. whereas the Odyssey is complex (for there is whether or not each of these things is related to the recognition throughout) and shows character. in which it is nec. For the heroic is the stateliest and most dignified meter.23 24 Concerning that fonn of verse imitation that is Moreover. become the the catalogue of ships and others. Homer used all these elements first and in a essary to show not one action but one period of time proper way. For the rapid overloading of Iliad and Odyssey one or two tragedies apiece are tragedies with the same kind of incident is what constructed. lines of action that. ning and end. although it had a begin. Therefore from the of episodes. it is necessary for epic poetry to narrative. the poet who wrote the audience and for constructing a diverse sequence Cypria and the Little Iliad. The Beggar. middle. Also in this. and concerning a for it is either simple or complex. for we have without there being a common goal to join them. Carthaginians in Sicily. it is necessary to construct the plot as in exhibit the same characteristic fonns as tragedy. it achieves the pleasure epic. are constructed and from the Little Iliad eight. For the purpose of extending its length. and the depiction of suffering. recog- natural to it. tragedy in a dramatic fashion. [Tr. if appropriate. or even if its magnitude were mod. displays char- single action that is whole and complete (having acter or suffering. for that would have been a very large epic poetry has a very great capacity that is subject aud could not have been taken in easily in specifically its own. and therefore 32B utcher and Kassel bracket the names of the last two it is especially receptive to strange words and plays as being later additions to the original text of the Po. and the meter. for example. But note how although the stage. and a Women ofTroy. metaphors. For just as there occurred in the same period addition to these matters. then. for narrative poetry in this regard is elics. but from the Cypria many tragedies makes tragedies fail. but these did not at all lead Epic differs from tragedy in regard to the to a common goal. and a Sinon. noted that it must be possible to take in the plot's However. the Iliad is simple and exhibits suffer- whether they concern one man or many. the POETICS 77 . In others. The Retum meter. Here too. or in a combination of meters. and ing. the story still would be tangled because of action but only that performed by the actors on the diversity of incidents. there is also a necessity for reversals. structed. since it is not possible in a single view. But because of the narrative quality of treating only one part of the war. occasionally one event happens after another limit of length has been mentioned. This has gives variety to his poem. Others write about one an advantage in regard to the elegance of the man and about one period and one action with poem and in regard to varying the interest of the diverse parts. for The heroic meter has been found appropriate example. he also introduces epic it is possible to depict many simultaneous many of the other episodes in the war. The Saek of Troy. to epic through practical experience. The should write a narrative imitation in another Laeonian Woman.l exceptional among the forms of imitation. thought and diction must be handled with skill. Phi/oetetes. This would occur error.

no one has written a long poem in a able to that of unpersuasive possibilities. when he has made a If the poet takes such a plot and if it appears to brief prelude immediately brings in a man or admit of a more probable treatment. For too brilliant a diction and Achilles nodding at them to keep them back. For whenever study the question.33 since it is clear that even the ures are expressive of character. beginning. and the proof of this is that everyone embellishes the stories he Concerning the number and character of the prob- tells as if he were adding something pleasant to lems that lead to censure in poetry and the ways his narration. not to construct such plots. but in the narrative description of epic. falsely reasons that the first event of motion.quate sense as it stands. 25 The marvelous is pleasant.] ARISTOTLE . but. Homer. as we said. he must naturally accompanied by a second event. men carry out his imitations on all occasions in one of think that whenever this second event is present three possible ways. others feel into existence when the first event occurs. and they perform their imitative function ridiculous. The use of impossible probabilities is prefer- Therefore. Homer has especially taught others in which this censure must be met. or in the Mysians. compelled to join the two events in our thought. Now the other poets without speaking. the irrational should be outside the plot especially. I have followed Bywater's punctuation and interpretation of For our mind. one event occurs or comes into existence and is like a painter or any maker of likenesses. We meter other than the heroic. right from the infrequently and in regard to only a few objects. because Pythian games. this absur- dity escapes notice. it makes a very strange impression if some. improbable elements in the Odyssey concerning Now then. the following how it is necessary to lie. the Bath Scene in the Odyssey. Here the the irrational. and all his fig. anything irrational at all in them. The whole business of the pursuit sary to intensify the diction only in those parts of of Hector would appear ridiculous on the stage the poem that lack action and are unexpressive of with some men standing about and not pursuing character and thought. the latter being a dance meter and the must have occurred or have come into existence former displaying the quality of action. Further. Since the poet is an imitator. Thus. For it is necessary. is also absurd. is a fallacy. possible. and we should especially attempt not to· have ate meter. and none lacks it. interpret this passage to mean that it is possible to admit some element of the irrational to the plot. it is necessary in tragedy to create the casting ashore of Odysseus would not be the marvelous. must not construct plots from irrational elements. concerning he is not fulfilling his function as an imitator the man who has come from Tegea to Mysia when he appears in this way. It is neces- person acting. on the other hand.iambic and the trochaic tetrameter are expressive event is true. also. but the epic admits. For it is should not be in the drama itself. but if this is not Homer deserves praise for many qualities and. conceals character and thought. To say that without the use of are themselves active performers throughout the such incidents the plot would have been ruined is poem. as occurs in the necessary for the poet himself to speak in his own Electra concerning those who bring news of the person in the poem as little as possible. he must imitate the the first one must also have occurred or have come into existence. because the audience does not see the through his other skillful techniques. even more. There is an example of this type of fallacy in more. it ignorant of the requirements of his craft. if the first event mentioned is false but 33Butcher and Hardy. on which the marvelous especially poet conceals the absurdity by making it pleasing depends. following a different punctuation of there is another event that must occur or come the text. the situation woman or some other character. one combines these meters as Chairemon did. however. we feel that the Greek text does not make ade. nature herself teaches us to choose the appropri. This. Therefore. [Tr. because alone of the poets he is not (as in Oedipus's ignorance of how Laius died). and this is through the considerations would be apparent to those who employment of false reasoning. through knowing that the second this passage. of bearable if a poor poet had written them.

for example. or another part of the poem.36 has a similar difficulty when sought in accordance with technical involved iu it. In addition. the goal of the mean mules but guards.for example. one essential. but it may be permissible to eviL do this if the representation supports the goal of We must meet some kinds of criticism by con- the imitation (for the goal of an imitation has been sidering the diction. and for what purpose he problems that are related to the essential nature of speaks or acts . men proton. who was badly formed. because impossible. we grant this license to poets. tion described by the artist is not better than actu- dentaL For if the poet chose to imitate but imi. but if he erred by choos. said or done. an is to achieve a greater good or to avoid a greater error has been made. for myths that are told about the gods. we must meet the criticisms of the ignoble. First. we must not only make an introduced impossibilities of any sort. considering whether it is noble or As a result. we must "handsome. "The spears were standing upright on their butt ing an incorrect representation of the object (for spikes". by reference to discussed) and if it makes the section in which it the use of a strange word. or formed by anyone. at poetry. For example. nor a true one. and one acci. the description of the arms that goes.] 3'Quoted from lliad Il:202. as it is now example. but they are what politics and poetry. the criticism must be met by standard diction. indeed.. as if for drunkards. If. tated incorrectly through lack of ability. in regard to the when. the mistake investigation into the thing itself that has been is an accidental. 34 the for example.] POETICS 79 . nor for any other art and Xenophanes said of them . "All the gods and men is unskillful in imitating one. as well as in strange words and reference to men's opinions.. Dolon's statemeut. but faster. for he does not mean that he was requirements. In regard to poetry itself. whether the object art: if impossibilities have been represented. upon the Trojan plain. The poet presents his imitation in above is the case." which is said at criticism that a work of art is not a truthful repre. Now to judge the nobility or both right hooves) or made a technical error." "All" is used here metaphori- Sophocles said that he himself created characters cally in place of "many. they do not describe a situation that is better than there is not the same standard of correctness for actuality. and hears the sound of resents the situation as it should be. or better... the slept the entire night through. no error the Cretans use eueides [of fair form] to deuote should be committed at alL Furtber. [fr. error is an essential one. "I imitation admits of attainment as well. The phrase means "first of all. the same time as "When truly he turned his gaze sentation can be met by the argument that it rep. hemarle de dl'. For. but we must also consider the one who problems encountered in poetry by taking these does the act or says the words in regard to whom. An example of such a situation is the pursuit some difficulty because perhaps the poet does not of Hector in the Iliad." since "all" is some 35Quoted from Iliad 1:50. or that such as should exist. If neither of the ought to be. two categories any rate. one.] J"7here is a lacuna in the text here that I have filled by "Quoted from Iliad 10:3 r6. with men's opinions. for example. is a less important matter if the artist does not Difficulties arise in thoughts that are expressed in know that a hind does not have horns than if he metaphors. for ignobility of any statement made or act per- example. For. For it mean stronger. the mules. then it is incorrect to introduce the misshapen in body but that he was ugly.things that were in the past.in accordance. or are now. Perhaps the situa- of error are possible. in the metaphors and in many variations of diction. [Tr. oureas occurs. if it is at all feasible. by what means. for example. ality but was one that actually existed in the past. more strik. as in the phrase. [Tr. in regard to medicine or any other art. In addition to this. for once this was customary." [Tr. points into consideration. perhaps. representing a horse putting forward among the Illyrians. fiutes and pipes.] translating Bywater's suggested reading.3 which does not essential or an accidental aspect of the art. 35 The word oureas here could cause ing. whereas Euripides created people say and think to be or those things that ones such as actuallY do exist. not an essential." A difficulty mirht arise in the ascertain whether an error originates from an phrase "mix the drink purer.

ter Icarius. not at all contradictory. "things unmixed. there being no necessity for them. For whatever is a model drink wine. Perhaps the situation is as the Empedocles' statement that "Suddenly things Cephallenians would have it. whether by taking it in this way or that one is involved." The phrase "alone. for example. For it is reasonable that some things ferent meanings it might have in the passage occur contrary to reason. ity.] -lIThe word "more" has a fonn in Greek that can also be -lJrranslating kai ei adllllatoll. The irrational metaphor. Criticisms of poetry.. In with the same justification that the poet writes of regard to the art of poetry. is held to be true. we must prefer a per- "a greave of newly wrought tin"." we must consider how way as the refutation of arguments is carried on: many different senses of "to be held" are pos. as "Quoted from Iliad 18:489. literally. has con- site to the one that Glaucon mentions in which tradicted himself in regard to what he himself says people make an uureasonable prior assumption or what a sensible person might assume. answers to these punctuations the word "before" in Empedocles' statement could be referred either to the phrase that precedes it. change their meaning.l a lacuna in the text at this point. but they illustrate what is the wine pourer of Zeus. in the phrase. Thus. depending on the (in regard to depravity)." or to the word that follows it. suggested by Vahlen to fill translated as "full.. 39 Some difficulties are Telemachus did not meet him in Sparta when solved through punctuation. "mixed. indeed.1 39The problem here is that words that are spelled the same Euripides' handling of Aegeus in the lvIedea (in way. by means of different it contains technical errors." [Tr. and it is what.1 impossible or that it is irrational or that it is "'The problem treated here is the effect that punctuation morally harmful or that it is contradictory or that has on the meaning of a sentence. the same sense. she has draw their conclusions. sometimes.· Hippias the experience in regard to discussion of the charac- Thasian solved such a problem in the phrase. depending on the way in which it is accented. in the second phrase." [fr. it Some problems are solved by reference to ambi. "more than two-thirds of mistake.division of "many. customary usages in our language. with reference to whether the same object sible. Icarius is Penelope's father. way in which it is accented.] 80 ARISTOTLE . but no Icarius. and in might best understand it. and then criticize the poet no share. they justifiable censure for the presence of irrationality and depravity where. the poet makes no use of them. copper smiths. we must consider how many dif. having themselves made their decree. and in the same relationship. then. the impossible must be here. This would also be justified through must express superior qualities. Thus. and iron work. to men a Spartan. for they say that became mortal that had previously learned to be Odysseus married amongst them and that there immortal and things unmixed before mixed. must be justified in regard to what men say and Whenever a word seems to signify something also on the grounds that it is. but then it appears ridiculous that hoi katapythetai ambro. [Tr.1 . for example. that is. Perhaps it is impossible43 for the kind of men and it is for this reason that Ganymede is called Zeuxis painted to exist. so that the poet. Tn regard to the irrational) or in the same poet's treat- the first phrase quoted. OIl can be derive from five sources: either that the action is either a relative pronoun or a negative adverb. in he visited there. we call or in regard to what is better than actuality.38 shows a similar use of metaphor.Urn Homer. [fr. night has departed" because "more" is ambiguous Speaking generally. Thus. [Tr.4o was an Icadius involved. irrational. in the opinion of men. The procedure is oppo." A problem if it is opposed to their thoughts. as if he had said whatever they think he has said since the best-known one is "alone. when given different accents. or "wine" the mixture of water and wine.. quoted. although the gods do not better than the actual. There is and. We have had this may arise from the use of accent. in the phrase "the bronze We must consider contradictions in the same spear was held there. The. 41 Some difficulties are met by reference to justified in regard to the requirements of poetry. [fr. is probable that the difficulty has arisen through a guities. 42 People assume that he was didamen de ai and similarly. didomen can be either a present indica~ ment of the character of l'vIenelaus in the Orestes live or an infinitive used as an imperative. suasive impossibility to an unpersuasive possibil- ers are called chalkeas. for example.

that we have discussed. So that if epic poets write a story with discus throw and drag their leader about if they are a single plot. through which pleasure is very distinctly evoked. for its character is apparent simply through reading. a point that was criti.44 women. for example. next. the poorer sort of flute a number of tragedies can be derived from any players roll about the stage if they must imitate a one epic). For on the grounds put Sophocles' Oedipus into an epic as long as the that the audience does not see the point unless they Iliad. and the crit- movements of the ignoble. the actors make quite a unified than that oftragedy (a proof of this is that commotion. it has no small share in music and in spectaCle.. then. and of the number and differences in every movement is to be rejected. both in general. if the called Callippides an ape on the grounds of over. If. in tragedy) and. since it is possible to superior to epic. performance. Riccardianus 46. that art would be (for a more compact action is more pleasant than superior that is directed at the more discriminating one that is much diluted). too. they were not representing freeborn answered. And yet these poems are constructed in to be related to epic by some people. further. As these two types of actor are related to such elements that also have magnitude in them- each other. that it text briefly at this point." [Tr. Further. or. audience. tragedy is superior in all these areas that tragedy is disposed toward a less sophisticated and. Mynescus watered-down quality (I mean. the situation that would occur if someone should tates every detail is common. so the whole art of tragedy is thought selves). is better since it contains all of the elements that "Now as in iambic poetry and comedy . it is apparent that Now then. epic should be composed of very many actions in acting. and the cized in Callippides and now in others. but If. this accusation is made against tragedy. is not to be condemned. this MOne of our maq. tragedy even without action achieves its function just as epic does. Tragedy also provides a 26 vivid experience in reading as well as in actual The problem of whether epic or tragedy is the bet.. cussed as proper to them). indeed. then. we have expressed our view of Sosistratus did. icisms that can be directed against them. not poetry. it would be clear that it is chance pleasure. if it fol- be of the same character that our older actors lows the accustomed length of epic.] POETICS 81 . the imitation of an epic story is less themselves add something.uscripts. it ways in which these criticisms must be was charged. and in song competitions as tragedy and epic. I mean. continues the defect is not essential to it. but only the their effectiveness or ineffectiveness. and such an opinion was also held about the same way as the Iliad and Odyssey have many Pindarus. as well as of some of the causes of indeed. not ious species.parts. Further. imitation is achieved in a shorter length of time ever is less common is better. that plot is either presented briefly playing the Scylla. Then.. tragedy is directed toward a (forit is necessary that these genres create not any more common audience. and it is very clear that the art that imi. tragedy is better in other respects. since it is better at attaining its end.criticisms must be sought from the solutions. Now tragedy is considered to and appears to lack full development. Further. audience that does not at all require gestures. conclude that epic is oriented toward a reasonable the imitations of a single action. since... in tragedy the goal of the ter type of imitation might be raised. but the one that has been dis- the inferior art form. as much as possible. then. for.. overdo gestures both in epic recitations as Now then. and in their var- Mnasitheus the Opuntian did. if dancing their . in accomplishing its artistic effect audience. for example. further. is the art of acting. For if what. who then the best possible way and are. epic has (for it is even possible to use epic meter twelve in number. it has a attribute to their successors. If. first. for example. We argue. The continuation seems to read.

the organization of the AI's Poetica can be baffling. and ultimately. Horace's from his understanding of the expectations and the physical boisterousness of the audience. the Ars Poetica was often regarded as a commentary on Aristotle's Poetics. Horace fought in the ill-fated army of Marcus Brutus but was allowed to return to Rome at the amnesty. It is traditionally divided into three parts: lines 1-41 of the Latin original are on poe- sis or subject matter. and the reader should be prepared for rapid and unexpected transitions from one topic to another. the AI's Poetica contains dozens oflines and phrases that passed into the Latin language (and to an extent into English) as proverbs or catch phrases. But in fact. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.C.and the only way of judging the mean here is by closely observing the audi- ence and the literary marketplace. Poetic language should be novel. Where Aristotle suggests that tragedy uses iambic meter because it is closest to natural human speech. but treat them in a new way.) To a reader expecting system. We still speak of "purple patches" in prose. Bonus dOlmitat Homerus is the familiar "even Homer sometimes nods. also known as the Epistle to the Pisos. The poet should stick to traditional subjects. Horace's wildfire ideas always outrace any system or organization that can be devised. but not too novel. 199). Regardless of his innate genius. He served for a time as a clerk in government offices. he tells us. giving birth to a ridiculous mouse) has become an adage for any pretentious activity. the two thinkers have little in com- mon. Horace 65-8 B. Quintus Horatius Flaccus was the son of a freed slave but received an excellent edu- cation in the private academies of Rome. Aristotle's explanation derives from his principle of mimesis. both of whom had poetic ambitions. it has been misinter- preted to suggest that Horace saw spatial form in poetry. (The mean- ing of some of Horace' s maxims has become garbled over the years: Ut pictura poe- sis [a poem is like a picture] was Horace's way of saying that some poems repay close scrutiny while others appeal through their broad outlines. the farm in the Sabine hills to which he retired. Because it is a verse letter. it lacks the careful composition and exhaustive organization of a treatise on the art of poetry. who introduced him to the renowned Roman patron Maecenas. a phrase Horace coined.E. Though undoubtedly Horace had read Aristotle and occasionally echoes some of his remarks. nascetur ridiculus mus (the mountains labor. Although Horace pays lip service to mimesis from time to time. but his talent as a poet and satirist came to the attention of Virgil. the poet must 8:2 HORACE ." Pal1uriunt montes. Maecenas provided Horace with encouragement and money. Following the assassination of Julius Caesar. lines 42-294 on poema or technique. was composed as a letter of advice in verse to the two sons of Lucius Calpurnius Piso. The AI's Poetica (The Art of Poetl)'). what is really important to him is audience response. Horace's aim was to blend witty reminders and sage maxims in an entertaining way. Like Pope's Essay on Criticism (p. and lines 295-476 on poeta or the poet. Horace offers two other rationales: literary tradition and the fact that iambics are better able to drown out a noisy and inattentive audience.

J. D' Alton. His ambition is to be read and praised. will require both: the equites. and indeed. Hildesheim and New York: Olms-Weidmann. O. his terror to be ignored or laughed at. and their rewards came from the same public source. Some of these. Though Horace tells us that the successful author's book "will bring in money for Sosius and Son" . The poet must understand their demands . genres come into existence as if by the laws of nature and are scientifically comprehensible as emergent outgrowths of natural human impulses. New Haven: Yale University Press. They exist. Caroline. From Horace's point of view. It is not vulgar commer- cial success Horace worships. Horace in the English Literature of the Eighteenth Century. to teach or to delight . while the senatores want profitable lessons. Horace on Poetry. and cause the audience to weep. made up of diverse types. by accident as far as he is concerned. Bernard. but a public servant. But while for Aristotle. F. Horace: A Study in Structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. technical devices. All alike need to be observed if the poet is to succeed in gaining a hearing from a fastidious and often captiously critical audience. for Horace gen- res do not have to make sense: They are just there. like a successful statesman or ruler. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Atlanta: Scholars Press. At the center of the Ars Poetica is Horace's statement of the ultimate aim of poetry: aut prodesse aut delectare. Horace is very much the worldly philosopher. and the poet learns their rules as any prudent traveler in a strange country would learn the laws. HORACE . Goad. I9I8. were pure for- malities.the Roman family that ran an operation copying manuscripts much in demand . . For Horace. Shifting Paradigms: New Approaches to Horace's Ars Poetica. both wore their laurels with pride.or both if possible. The Walking Muse: Horace on the Theory of Satire. he does not differentiate between rules and conventions. and effects. Frischer. like the use of iambics in drama. such a distinction makes no difference.learn his art. that tragedy will concern dire events. be written in the highest style. as predefined parts of the literary scene into which the poet comes. Horace assumes that different genres have their proper subject matter. Like Aristotle. Kirk. Helena. especially the conventions that guide his audience in their expectations. the author's reward is not money but fame. and it is possible to misunderstand and cheapen the values by which he operates. Unlike Plato and Aristotle. insist upon amusement. the knightly class. may be more than mere conven- tions: They may reflect enduring aspects of human nature. For Horace the poet was not a private man. Others.and even those of the middle classes. Horace and His Age. London: Longmans Green. the "roast- beans-and-chestnuts crowd" who applaud what is simple and exciting. I99I.he is not a prostitute producing verses to order. 1983· Freudenberg. because the poet's audience. I993. for example. C. 1917. Selected Bibliography Brink. 1963. like Horace's dictum that a tragedy should have neither more nor less than five acts. Dettmer.

discolored fish." o father. Of the desperate sailor swimming away from his Paintings like these look a lot like the book of a writer shipwreck! Whose weird conceptions are just like a sick man's This thing began as a wine jar: how come it comes dreams. 1985. and Pope.Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. another assures us paired . Horace. or perhaps it's a Of a painting wherein the artist had chosen to join rainbow. 1964. Literary Satire and TlteDlY: A Study of Horace. David. 1922 . Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Off the wheel at last as a milk jug? Make what you So that neither the head nor the foot can be made to want. o. To a human head the neck of a horse. Hack. "But painters and poets Have always been equally free to try anything. Allen G. and sons who deserve a father like yours. Marvin T.'" colors. Suppose you'd been asked to come for a private view When the altar or grove of Diana. Stack. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. 1967. HORACE . We writers know that. my friends? Believe likeness me.. West. Of something big which turns out to be merely With birds. The Art of Poetry Humana cap iIi cervicem pielar equinam To shimmer and shine. and insist that such license be We poets are too often tricked into trying to achieve ours. Frank. Pope and Horace: Studies in Imitation. pompous. and gone on Or the Rhine is being described: "The sinuous stream To collect some odds and ends of arms and legs Rustles daintily. and become obscure. But you put it in just the wrong place! You draw cy- So that what began as a lovely woman at the top press trees Tapered off into a slimy. complete and entire. To works that begin Another one crawls on the ground because he's too On a stately note and promise more grandeur to come safe. B. To a single uniform shape. K. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Hardison. R. Of mating the mild with the wild. Horace and His Influence. apply So long as it's one and the same.. 1946. 1995. tastefully. dear Pisos." Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 27 (1916): 1-65. Boileall. Reading Horace. Wood. some sequins like these. for instance. Grant. Perrot. London: Longmans Green. New York: Garland. "The Doctrine of Literary Fonns. New York: New York University Press. waves. Jacques. The poet who strives To vary his single subject in wonderful ways Paints dolphins in woods and foaming boars on the Translated by Smith Palmer Bovie. Showennan. Horace for Studellts of Literature: Tlte Ars Poetica and Its Tradition. Herrick. and tigers with lambs. on midst the sylvan And plaster the surface with feathers of differing scene. Tlte Fusion of Horatian and Aristotelian Literary Criticism. eds. 1985. Particularly well? But you're paid to hit off the Could you keep from laughing. so that snakes are And my vigor and force disappear. A particular kind of perfection: I studiously try And in tum extend it to others .but not to the extent To be brief. A couple of colorful patches are artfully stitched Too much afraid of the storm. and Leon Golden. I try to be smooth.

So the oldest words die first and the newborn thrive In the manner of yonth. The Portus Julius where Neptune is at home on the And what they will not. if a clever connection of phrases And the fame and dignity of speech are equally Makes a good old word look new. 1-he creation of a sheltered harbor at Ostia. One verse to another was first adapted to grief. With which rests the final decision. The meter to use to describe sad wars and great deeds If derived from a Grecian source. three of Augustus's great civic achievements. if I can. Or the logical order they go in. make use of care and good ways- taste: All these projects. the draining of but his contemporaries Virgil and Vanus were being criticized the Pontine marshes. care. will soon gain Homer has showed us currency. but now a food-bearing land In saying just then what ought to be said at that point.a princely He can really manage won't be at a loss for the words achievement. things? But the whole result of his work is much less happy: It has always been granted. inhabitable only for boats Its power and chann consist. And plagues in the past. If you have to mortal. You've done it right. will perish. All that we are Take up a subject equal to your strength. if I'm not mistaken. and in small Of kings and princes. you can And much of our language now held in high repute forge Will fall to the ground if UTILITY so decrees. just coined. Some recondite matter in brand-new tenns. Nearby the gladiators' school there's a craftsman When the language of Ennius and Cato enriched the who molds speech In bronze with special skill the lifelike shapes Of our native land and produced some new terms for Of fingernails and straying strands of hair. THE ART OF POETRY 85 . The man who chooses a land subject And protects our ships from his storms . Will the Roman refuse the license to Vergil and But elegy easily turned into epigrammatic Varius Couplets expressive of thanks for prayers And grant it to Plautus and Caecilius?! And why answered. The legal existence. New-fashioned words.Avoiding mistakes. as are all our And mull over well what loads your shoulders will projects: 2 bear. to He can't represent the figure complete and entire. ~ century earlier. and the straightening of the Tiber were for the same artistic license. On fields of grain but has now learned to mend its In weaving your words. and enjoy life. Be refused the right to put in my bit. present: The straightening-out of the Tiber that used to wreak The author of the promised work must choose and havoc discard. As for order itself. produce If I were to try to cast a good piece of writing. 0 writers. for the towns. display Much that has once dropped out will be born again. leaving others out. That feels the weight of the plow and feeds nearby Putting some things off. As trees I'd no more prefer to be like this fellow than live change their leaves With my nose at an angle. Words stamped with the date of the present. and always will be. and the first fall admired first. And have is in debt to death. Words never heard in the pre-tunic days of Cethegus. leads to error. of speech. should I Who wrote these first little couplets? The critics are STILL tRaraee's point is that Plautus and Caecilius. if awkwardly done. had made new Latin words out of good Greek ones. whatever men make. The uneven couplet that joined amounts. I was for my coal-black hair and coal-black eyes. the ultimate License is given. on condition that you use it with standard. no matter how much When each year comes to its end. The Pontine marshes.

To let his lament wing its way to the hearer's heart. or a man who farms the voice: green field. And you dare construct a new character. you must Then your woes will fasten on me. Thebes. have prowess It isn't enough for poems to be things of beauty: Prevail over status. impatient and Let them STUN the hearer and lead his heart where fierce.E. To the changing guise of our fortunes. With uproarious laughter. Let each of the styles Or a fervent fellow in the flower of youth. If you bring back That jars on our ears and his wordsafootandahalflong.Disputing the subject. Thyestes' feast4 resents being told difference In strains more nearly like those that comedy needs Who's speaking: a god or a hero. the laments of young take heart lads in love. To make their dialogue heard. In the vein of everyday life. let Orestes be sadly depressed. do I really Then she brings these emotions out by using the deserve tongue To be hailed as a poet? Why. These distinctions of form and tone. she makes us Of a prize-winning race horse. so dramatists used it countenance. keep Peleus. If a speaker's words don't accord shame. Of course. The foot slipped into the comic sock as neatly Touching words most become the sorrowful As into the tragic boot. To the muse of prose for words of grief when. With his fortunes. of a winning boxer. now and then even comedy raises her A wandering merchant. consisting of Thy estes' own children. It's hard to write "As an act of revenge. It will make a great deal of Likewise. To the end the same sort of person you started out with. Or the Colchian or Assyrian type. You're better offteIling the story of Troy in five acts 86 HORACE . Thyestes. suitably dignified speech the severe. Have him say how laws don't apply to him. playful remarks The audience was making . It twists when he sees someone cry. poor You should either stick to tradition Or exiled. A pOlVelfui matron. or a Be assigned to the places most proper for it to matron. Achilles. a busy old nurse. or a merchant. let Ixion someone smile. you have to feel sorrow yourself. from a false sense of To interpret them. Angry old Chremes swells up like a supersorehead. 10 "lost". And make your portrayal consistent. the case is still on the books. inconquerably so. they will. A man's face is wreathed in smiles when he sees Ina tearful. purposeful action. if you expect me If it' s something as yet untried you put on the stage To burst into tears. If you speak incongruous lines. a wise old man. 0 Telephus. the Roman knights and those Do I prefer being ignorant to leaming? A good comic wretched wights sequence Who bought only standing room will both rock the Just won't submit to treatment in the meters of house tragedy. For nature first forms us. stoop A man bred at Argos. to The muse entrusted to lyric verse the accounts respond Of gods and the children of gods. deep in our hearts. the Plight of Peleus. Or drives us wild or bends us down to the ground The intoxicating freedom of wine. or a man bred at And the Tragedy of Telephus. 'Greek satiric poet of the sixth century B. Go back on his word. maintain. make him ruthless. Atreus served a feast to his brother Of familiar concerns in a new and original way. I'll snooze or I'll Fury equipped Archilochus 3 with his iambics: giggle.the rhythm of The cheerful. If I can't observe And let us writhe over inconsolable grief.C. either hero discards the bombast Or invent a consistent plot. even over the noise Blistering threats the enraged. And ANGRY! Let Medea be wild.

a funny little mouse will be mold born. or perhaps because in all that he does point He's slow and phlegmatic. Scylla. As the Cyclic poet once did: "And nOW I shall sing The beardless youth. resentful of warning advisers. and take behaves. Diomedes' uncle. 0 Muse. As if they were already known. and keeps postponing his And hurries the reader along to the middle of things. "Difficult. This writer plans to send up not smoke from the The man is seeu in the mauly style of his life: flames He looks for wealth and for friends. comes down vate rights And the cantor intones "vas piaudife7 ••• now is the If you keep from loitering around the most common time. Helen of Troy was born from one of Leda's eggs. and simply leaves out Conscious of the rainy days he should be prepared Whatever he thinks he can't bring off shining and for. To evil courses. died before he was born. ready to praise And devises so well. likes most of Precluded by shame or the laws of your task from all lifting To play with his friends. And plant his feet squarely beneath him. as they disappear. her twin brothers Castor and Polydeukes were born from the other. Came to know welI all manner of cities and men:'s But quick to transfer his affections. And don't begin And forgets it equally fast. events: Is wary of making a move he will soon be concerned Antiphates' giants. Of the fortune of Priam and fanlous war of that king." Rejoices in horse and hounds and the sun-drenched What could issue from the mputh that made such an grass opening? \ Of the Campus Martius: he is putty in your hands to Mountains will labor. "Tell me." THE ART OF POETRY . As his iuterests change. As the years come That the middle part fits with the first. pleasures. We will dwell on the matters best suited and best attached -'The opening lines of Homer's Odyssey. intense. finally free of his guardian. is a slave to But light from the smoke. he flies into rage like a flash Your foot up over the edge. to deliver some marvelous success. In the public domain you'll have pri. Charybdis." always complaining. And disapprove of the young. 6 He is eager to get to the To use it. A great many troubles harass the old man. after Troy feU. Diomedes' return is not traced back to begin Either because he keeps on trying for gain With Meleager's death. The Trojan War doesn't start And yet won't touch what he has." places Make careful note of the way each age group And from dawdling on the easiest path. clear. worried and afraid With the egg of the twins. the middle. leap The child who by now knows how to reel off his Right down the close-scooped well of the source you \vords. To take on less is a much more sensible labor: Slow to provide for his needs but recklessly fast To spend his money. 6:rvleleager. and don't and years. the Cyclops. pains to refrain And apply the right tone to their changeable natures From translating faithfully word for word. draw on. To undo. and changes every hour. of the man who. They take many fine things away. 7"Applaud. They bring along much that is fine.Than being the first to foist something new and Now hear what I and the rest of your listeners expect untried If you want them to sit there and wait till the curtain On the world. the last with along. In portraying our roles. intermingling the true and the The good old days when he was a boy and reprove false. enthusiastic.

An important part.To the age in question. ment. Some pleasant device and novel attraction like this The blessings of justice. Let it praise ing dignity - plain living. no less. singing between episodes Now resembled the unclear. mixed in with the city crowd. Let it favor the good and offer them friendly advice. decent. clear tone and one or two stops. should be just five acts long. nor should Procne change into a And drink to the Genius in broad daylight without bird. and the doors left Being all that could make the spectator stay on and open watch By Peace. I won't believe it. Let the chorus respect the secrets it's told. Medea together. shame. but by convention. The writer who vied for the paltry prize of a goat Control the wrathful and develop a fondness for With tragic song. unlike the primitive pipe. A god must not intervene flute player Unless the action tangles itself in such knots Added movement and gesture to the primitive style That only a divine deliverer can work the denoue. . After having fulfilled the ritual rites of the occasion. Once it's been given. Still. well-behaved folk came Will soon be ready to state in person. But things entrusted to the ear The present-day brass-bound flute prodUCeS a tone Impress our minds less vividly than what is exposed That rivals the trumpet's. To our trustworthy eyes so that a viewer informs With its thin. some care 88 HORACE . Whatsoever such stuff More license entered the rhythms and modes of the You show me. war- himself bling woodnotes Of precisely what happened. Before our eyes. which had been such a fine The chorus should be handled as one of the actors detective and play Of useful clues and prophet of future events. But those laughing. And drunk a good bit. ambiguous dictates of What advances the plot and fits in well with the Delphi. and provide an accom- show paniment- On stage what ought to take place backstage: remove A sound that could nevertheless carry in the From our eyes the substance of things an eloquent uncrowded halls messenger When virtuous. Bnt after a victorious people began to acquire Unspeakable Atreus should not cook up human flesh More land. music. So that even the thought. The events are either enacted on stage or described As having occurred. I'll simply detest it. and been freed from the nor- mal restraints. Ch. the laws. And fluttered his robe as he strutted around the stage. and not let the old men's parts Let it pray to the gods. The uncouth sitting next to the wealthy? And so the No more. New notes increased the restricted range of the lyre. no more than three speaking act~rs in addition told to the chorus were allowed on stage at the same time. See To transform the mood from the grave to the gay with Aristotle's Poetics. and surround their cities with larger walls. Or Cadmus into a snake. A fourth actor should not try to come forward to And unrestrained wit produced a new form of speak. bantering satyrs will have to be 'Latin and Greek plays had more than three characters. 4. devoutly imploring that Be assigned to a youth or the manly parts to a boy.s eloquence. soon bared shaggy satyrs to view soothing On the stage. Must not butcher her boys in front of the people. How could these rough country types be expected to The play that expects to be asked for another judge. coarsely probing for laughs without los- With quiet words the fearful in heart. fortune Return to the unhappy low and depart from the proud. you are not to To give the chorus the pitch. performance Just off from work. action.

For admiring both of these things they were too town. I shall set my sights on familiar things: anyone And Roman poets have been granted too much Will think he can do as well but will soon find he can't indulgence. indulgence? I incline to believe that when fauns trot in from the I may have avoided tlle fault without rating praise. tutor and guide to his heavenly ward. Their faces smeared with a paste concocted from 9Davus outwits Sima in Terence's' Andria. to come to our ears Move into a dingy shack and a low way of talking More slowly and solemnly. the wealthy) and refuse to award the And catch the legitimate beat with our fingers and crown. Or "plain words. A short syllable followed by a long is of course an With actors singing the lines and performing the iambus." nor try to depart from the tragic And the spondaic stress in the lines which Ennius tone heavily To the point where it makes no difference whether Launched on the stage is a sign of hasty production Davus is speaking Or a fault to be chalked up to careless ignorance of With maudlin Pythias (who's just swiped some style. But recently. Not to say dense. Appears but rarely in the "fine old" trimeters of I will not use only commonplace nouns and verbs Accius. 9 scan right. the iambus did not admit the young Joins the satyrs but briefly. A firm-footed son. tragedy. but reserved Like a matron commanded to dance on a festive The second and fourth foot all for himself. good Pis os. wit. climb too fantastically high. with citified ways Plautus? And prettified lays like those of young-bloods-about. Thumb through your Greek examples by day and by They ought not to act as if they were reared in the night! gutter Your ancestors praised both the wit and rhythms of And virtually lived in the Forum. dough from old Sima) Not every critic can spot the lines that don't quite Or Silenus. On equal terms into this partnership. iambus I assure you. Affable and kind For tragedy. As it were. Shall I therefore run wild and write withont any The order and inner coherence and careful connection restrictions Are what make your writing take hold: your major Or consider that everyone is bound to see my success mistakes Consists in mastering the language that is common to And cautiously keep well within the bounds of all. if I write a satyr play. Or resort to indecent remarks and crack dirty jokes. As iambic trimeter. So they trudged around in road shows. Of the tragic muse. ears. woods. reveling in lOSnacks sold outside Roman theaters. tolerant. This occasion. if you and I can distinguish The better-class patrons may take offense (the A crudeness in phrasing from lapidary strength of freeborn. father Iambus adopted Or. and not without some man hesitatiou. Pythias is a character from his Eu1tuchus. the spondee. unwilling to see in a favorable light What the roast-beans-and-chestnuts lO crowd find so Thespis is said to have discovered the unknown style entertai ning.And not let a god or a hero. THE ART OF POETRY . Though he was. The knights. parts. previously seen It moves along fast. avoiding the depths. When he tries it and sweats and strains to bring it off. not condescending to mouth low lines. and to have carted his plays about. Silenus was the tutor of the god wine lees- Bacchus. so a verse consisting of six Coming out from his palace clad in royal crimson and Full-fledged iambic stresses has come to be known gold.

what worst. II most poets neglect their But with vivid examples of character drawn true to appearance .12 tion.Aeschylus thought up the masks and distinctive As even Switzerland harbors have failed to set costumes. They won't cut their nails or their beards. And taught his actors a lofty manner of speech I'd be unsurpassed as a poet. supposed to be men of genius. a poisonous plant that.. better They wander off somewhere alone. The love that is due a parent. whose many good To lose your head and then write verses instead. Whether tragic or comic. the words will be quick triumphant to follow. poets. And time-consuming. they won't Will please the audience and hold their attention take a bath. From freedom that form declined steel. And though I write And fell upon violent ways that required regulation. I will bid the intelligent nail student Has not run over and checked. nothing. into license Without being able to cut. newly-pared For each of his players. a town famous for producing Which trips for treatment to three times as many black hellebore. where the right path goes. Oh. have dared To desert the traces of Greece and dwell on affairs The principal source of all good writing is wisdom. descendants of Numa. high-booted stride. These tragic arts worth it Were succeeded by Old Comedy. slow discipline of the file. And the miserable practice of art far inferior to it. Switzerland: The translator here Which has never entrusted itself to the shears of indulges in an anachronism to avoid a complicated explana- Licinus. show Deprived of its right to insult and abuse its victims. Because Democritus held that genius was all At times a play of no particular merit. life. and mad. affect to be both uncouth 12A well-known Roman barber. Of the imitative art to look to the model of life And see how men act. every spring! If I'd only refrained. Which many a day and many a diligent erasure Will surely know how to write the appropriate lines Have not corrected. For surely the Than tuneful trifles and verses empty of thought. But perhaps it's not And a stately. poem What part is played by the general sent off to war. name And the fame of the poet will attach itself to that dome 13Psychiatrists . which a sensitive.. Horace's general point is that llHelicon was the mountain sacred to the Muses. In language as in character and military might A man who has learned what is owing to country and If a single one of her poets could endure the effort friends. tum your backs on the What the role of a judge or senator chiefly requires. giving edge to the Should be noted. Originating here among us. Him where his best material lies and what Nurtures and shapes the poet. Artistically lacking in strength and smoothness of And denied that sensible poets rated a place finish On Helicon's heights. to bring his speeches alive. straight. The law was obeyed and the chorus then lapsed into I'll point out the writer's mission and function and silence. points So I'll play the whetstone's part. And have not been the least deserving when they and the wrong. on our native designs. was used by psychiatrists the physician Melampus to cure the madness of three daugh- ters of the King of Argos. at the least. a guest. The Socratic pages will offer you ample material. what best accords Our Roman poets have left no style untried With his role. The geographical reference in Horace's Latin is not to Switzerland but to Antycra. 90 HORACE . a brother. Latium would be as And with the matter in hand. in legend. ten times. 13 He built the first stage on a platform of several small What a fool am I to purge myself of my bile boards Seasonably.

but rather to a few quite definite Its author's fame a long distance into the future. you will. another if seen from a distance. can we hope to good l4 write poems Two or three times in the course of a largely flawed To be oiled with cedar and kept in smooth cypress work. consultant or trial attorney. You brandish your bow at the endowed target. matters. He died poor. jerk- But when you iustrnct.To the Greeks the muse gave genius. if a harpist keeps money. make sense. he can't be excused. One prefers being viewed in the shade. and extend To all things. striking Now take that original sum and add on a twelfth. The same wrong note. which gives me a Or say what is both amusing and really worth using.C. THE ART OF POETRY 91 . nor to draw forth a Prefers being seen in broad daylight and doesn't child shrink back Still alive from Lamia's stomach after she's dined. Let me say to the older of you two boys. With eloquent speech and greed for nothing but But the arrow won't always fly home. travel across the sea. Poets would either delight or enlighten the reader. Good Homer sometimes nods. Fictions that border on truth will generate pleasure. the Greeks she And get back a sharp. If happy praise. When the mind is full. I won't take offense at the few bad The unit into its hundreds. so the mind can But sleep may well worm its way into any long work! clearly Perceive and firmly retain.E. A poem is much like a painting: one will please more Everything else that you say just trickles away. There still may be some oversights. and what have And what's the truth here? If a slave who copies out you left? books Come on. Sir. Which either carelessness let slip onto the page You here today? All right. be brief. cases? Which makes me laugh as a matter of sheer amazement. From the piercing glance of the critic. If you see it close up. "The Son of spots Albinus." When once the corrosive reserve concern The role of Choerilus for poets who strike something For petty cash has tainted our minds. The other will always please. though it's called for Our young bloods will pass up the works that merely ten times. The doctrine of the mean does not correctly apply Booksellers. while the So your play is not to expect automatic assent other To whatever comes into its head." "Fine! You'll keep track of your He's warned. One pleased Our elders will chase off the stage what is merely once. I would How much?" "One-half. The average lawyer. for the string won't always play back "Choerilus was an epic poet of the fourth century B. And well directed to the right by your father's voice: This book will bring in money for Sosius and Son.don't think so hard!" Keeps making the same mistake no matter how often "One-third. no matter how wise you useful. delightful. aud remind He wins every vote who combines the sweet and the You to take it to heart. and we may be willing To overlook them. effects Our Roman lads learn arithmetic and divide Figure more. maybe Charming the reader and warning him equally well. Subtract a twelfth from five-twelfths. What the hand had in mind: quite often you ask for a who was offered a piece of gold by Alexander the Great for flat every good verse celebrating his victories. he'll be laughed at. Albinus Minus . your tum to recite! Or human nature took too little pains to avert.

If the orchestra playing wood. Tyrtaeus and Homer won wide renown by sharpening It could have gone on perfectly. Without Minerva's consent? That shows good The racer who wants to win has learned. my dear fellow. the god of song. If a man can't play. the party is spoiled all the· them. The favor of kings top." Orpheus. it's enough just away to say: For a good nine years! What you haven't yet "I PEN these marvelous POEMS . shiver and sweat. if it falls somewhat short of the Pointed out. or actiug Each needs the other's help and friendly alliance. as founder of the city of Thebes. may not know as much To forbid impromptu liaisons and make rules for As Aulus Cascellius. play Be sure to expose it to such ears as Tarpa the At the Pythian games has long since studied and Censor's. But men and gods and booksellers WON'T PUT UP To build towns and carve out the laws on pillars of WITH SECOND-RATE POETS. and his income I fail to see what good either learning can be Is rated at a knightly sum. wished Or put up the bail for a poor man who's not a good By the sound of his lyre and the winning appeal of his risk. freeborn. Was courted in verse. Why not? He's free. and festival joy was found Sinks right down to the bottom. will refrain from speaking genius. To have moved the stones and led them wherever he But when he can serve a nice little dinner for friends. This was the wisdom of former times: to distinguish I'll marvel if the lucky man can always distinguish Public from private concerns and sacred from the false friend from the true. shuddered And your father's. HORACE . And if you have given. along gnomic lines. and a way of life Genuine pleasure.May lack MessalIa's delivery. ll10re. Masculine minds to a warlike pitch with their poems. The last one's a dirty shirt. Today. So a poem. You can always destroy. The flute player who gets to though. in fact. After With the poppy seeds. at dinner The poets who taught by expressing these things were Is all out of tune. Admitting I just don'tknow what I've never yet When primitive men roamed the forests. has a fine reputation. as a boy. praise. As the suitable end to periods oflong. and mine. if the ointment offered each guest acclaimed: Is lumpy. judgment To strain and train.I'm a Creative published Person. The question is raised But someone who doesn't know how dares fashion Whether nature or art makes a poem deserving of verses. And hence is said to have tamed wild lions and tigers. Is ordering flatterers to make a profit from him. common. From women and wine. He stands off. learned. the sacred interpreter of heavenly will. Which is not veined with natural wealth or primitive But you. lest he provoke the justified laughter Or the muse so skilled with the lyre. simply without them. but once a word is let go. Of spectators crowded around and forming the circle. marriage. and still be of no little worth. If you ever do write something. Or rescue one held in the gloomy grip of the law. work- And if he can't handle the ball or discus or hoop. The poet with property or money put out in loans Amphion is said. Then put the parchment In the presence of his teacher. designed and destined to afford the soul Oracles were uttered in song. if sour Sardinian honey is served They and their works were considered divine. I won't get left back. voice. hard He avoids the weapons drill going on in the Campus. stay away And a sound attitude. Lest you make excuses for Apollo. lt can't be called back. Turned them away from kiIling and living like beasts Like the auctioneer who collects a crowd for a sale.

he will force you to let in Go pale at the sombre parts. lines. he leaped into Elna. your work. who wrote scholarly commen~ using the name to denote some man of taste. if you And let down a rope. This cool customer. Because Empedocles wished With your loving. With his head held high. and pound on the On the dark passages. find fault with the clumsy Iti Another anachronism by the translator. And worth a king's ransom to cure) or St. alone and unrivaled. with a straight black stroke him of the pen To hear. still glowing with joy. and dance a bit for sheer Bentley. Who won't stop to say. And hand back to the anvil those verses that came out And if someone should have the urge to leud him a so bent. And then if he falls down a well or into a pit- "You could straighten out this. once that friend is exposed Makes more perpetual emotion than your honest To a hostile reception and unfriendly jeers in public. Improve on the passage. 16 joy. or that. a real Richard With his foot to keep time. as if he were plagued by the would test itch As worthy of the royal friendship. Bentley (1662-1742) was a British critic who corrected Pope's trans- lation of Homer.). Horace is Samothrace (220-I43 B. yourself and To be thought an immortal god. hand To be hammered into shape once again. he strolls off belching his If you read something out to Quintilius. effects He'll shout out "Fine! Oh.Or intend to give. you'd said you He may yell long and loud for help: "To the rescue! could not This way. Vitus' Don't ever forget: there's a motive concealed in the dance fox. ally say.15 he'd usu. he'd tell you to strike it right Fellow citizens!" None will care to come pUJl him out out. your elegant written.E. to his fi ery fate. some verses you've He will line out disorganized parts. so the man who create pretends A major disaster. We are left The fair-minded. admirer. don't take And rhythmically harsh." And if. Kings are said to ply with drink after drink The mad poet only makes sensible people avoid him And put through the ordeal by wine the man they And fear to touch him. I will say. after Like a fowler whose eyes are steadily trained on the trying merIes- Two or three times with no luck. point out ambiguous phrasing. And if you would Or the royal disease of jaundice (yellow as gold write. thoughtful man will reproach the To conclude that poetic justice or poetic license verses Includes suicide. excellent! How superb!" He will simply cut out. Kids chase after and taunt him. he'd waste He hasn't intentionally thrown himself in and doeslt't not a word Want to be saved?" and then I wiII tell of the death Or an ounce of energy more. THE ART OF POETRY 93 . "But how do you preferred knolV Standing by your mistake to changing it. Horace's Latin refers to Aristarchus of 15A Roman critic of the second century B.C. ground And note what ought to be changed.. Or lunatic frenzy. and not interfere Of the Sicilian poet. To save some person from death That come out spineless and fiat. even squeeze out a drop more light Of dew from his friendly eyes. "But why should I harass a Just as hired mourners often behave much better at friend funerals With these minor repairs?" These minor repairs will Than those sincerely bereaved.E. tmy on Homer. a present to someone.C. Then.

he'll never run out of breath Or blasphemously joggle the ground at some sacred But will read you and read you and read you and read spot? you to death. This isn't the first time it's happened. he's got it bad. bold as a bear. he's on a And put aside his desire for a memorable end. of bars Re will not necessarily be made over into a man That kept him confined to his cage. Stampeding unlearned and learned alike. in his rage It's not quite clear what drove him to write. he'll hang on with first place . all his might. and if he's lfhe's strong enough to have smashed in the fretwork pulled out.Against his will is just as wrong as to kill him. 94 HORACE . and. in the To recite. Once he's caught you. rampage. Did he sprinkle his well-wrought urine on ancestral The leech just clings to your skin and never gives in ashes? Until bloated with blood. At any rate.

and a low style. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (who wrote under Augustus Caesar) and Cassius Longinus (who died nearly three centuries later. And Longinus is far more methodical in exploring his more limited subject than Horace. The argument of "On the Sublime" can be easily outlined. which discusses the causes of literary decline in an era of universal peace. Much of the actual argument itself has been lost. and audience . but from the rest of the essay. and it has been suggested that Longinus may have been either a Hellenized Jew (perhaps of the circle of Philo Judaeus 1) or a Greek with Jewish con- nections." and it constitutes the third enduring method of liter- ary theory. from the tenth century. such as Iphilo may be the "philosopher" in Ch. Longinus is interested in a special quality. Each of its two halves belongs to a great Greco-Roman philosopher.but where Horace differentiated between a high. The oldest manuscript." The name is too apt to be true. In Chapters 3 through 7. Longinus is concerned only with the first. In Chapters I and 2 Longinus defines the Sublime as that quality within a discourse that produces "not persuasion but transport" (ekstasis) within the audience. He then questions whether there is such an art . The style and historical allusions suggest a date during the quiet reigns of Nerva and Trajan. is unlikely to have penned Chapter 44. whose poetics dealt with the particular characteristics of different literary forms. 44 whom Longinus attempts to confute. who wrote during the most brutally chaotic period of the Empire. who concerned himself with common features of artistic works in general.). work." The literary opinions of Longinus are inconsistent with those of Dionysius.E. It can be found in drama or epic or lyric . But neither of these men is a plausible candidate to have written "On the Sublime. those faults in literature that result from try- ing for the sublime and missing the mark.E. calls the author "Dionysius Longinus. sublimity or elevation. a middle. in 273 C. it is clear on which side Longinus comes down.Longinus First Century C. toward the end of the first century. The quotation in Chapter 9 from the Old Testament book of Genesis would be an extraordinary allusion for a pagan author to make. which presents five components of the art.its principal topics seem to be author. while Cassius Longinus. LONGINUS 95 . "On the Sublime" is related in one sense to the rhetorical criticism of Horace and others . Longinus discusses the traps that lie on all sides of the target. Longinus's approach might be called "qualitative criticism. One of the most controversial aspects of "On the Sublime" has been its authorship.or even in rhetoric or history or theology.whether it is purely a matter of inspiration or whether there are basic principles at work. There are faults of commission. with descendants from Burke to Bakhtin. Unlike Aristotle. which is possessed by some works but not others. Longinus's sublimity is a quality that transcends generic boundaries. Unlike Plato.

it was published by Francesco Robortello in 1554 and translated by Nicolas Boileau in 1674. "The Literary Arts of Longinus and Boileau. and there are faults of omission. Jules. The Sublime: A Reader. He always has an apt quotation ready to exemplify a literary fault or grace. such as frigidity of tone. Henrietta Veil. Boileau and Longinus. Soon thereafter it became cominon property. yet is always just. LiteI'm). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. which successively treats the five sources (beyond language itself) of the Sublime. elevated composition (Chapters 39. there is nothing mean-spirited about his tone or temper. zealous in his trust. who wrote a travesty of "On the Sublime" in "The Art of Sinking in Poetry. and Longinus's brilliance as a critic was much appreciated. Just as important as Longinus's systematic method is the clarity and vigor with which he pursues it. Geneva: Droz. his overt influence and reputation declined somewhat. and many others). Immanuel Kant. Alexander Pope conveys the typical Augustan sentiments about the author of "On the Sublime": Thee. Longinus's treatise "On the Sublime" was not influential in its own time. 1953. Brody. First are high thoughts (Chapters 9-15) and second. In the nineteenth century. ed. p. and Peter De Bolla.-42). and poet-critics like John Dryden drew upon its central issues. and finally. 1962. both of which are innate within the artist. New York: Columbia University Library. Jean Demonesl. Whose own example strengthens all his laws. then noble diction (Chapters 30--38 and 43).trying too hard (bombast. Selected Bibliography Apfel." explaining (with delicious examples from contemporary works) the sources of the quality of Bathos. Ithaca: CorneIl University Press. Walter Pater. all of which are the product of art and must be learned. the Sublime was considered to be of great significance in opposi- tion to the beautiful (a dichotomy treated by Edmund Burke. bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire. But Longinus was more admired than imitated in the eighteenth century . 1935. 1993. but his method of qualitative criticism was paradoxically revived in thinkers like Matthew Arnold (The Study of Poetry. Davidson.except on one occasion by Pope. Its impor- tance dates only from the Renaissance. And bless their critic with a poet's fire: An ardent judge. LONGINUS . Longinus outlines the remainder of his essay. Next are rhetorical figures (Chapters 16--29). strong passions (not included but promised in a separate treatise). Andrew. perhaps owing to his antidemocratic political beliefs. m Chapter 8. Quotation and Allusion in Demetrius' Peri henneneias and Longinlls' Peri hypsos. During the eighteenth century. Hugh M. hysteria). With wannth gives sentence." In Studies in Seventeenth- Century French Literature. and most recently Mikhail Bakhtin. 429). pedantry. who. and for a judicial critic. And is himself that great Sublime he draws. In his Essay on Criticism. Ashfield.

we must raise the question whether there is such a thing as an art of the sublime or Translated by W." In A" Falue Judgments in the Arts and Other Essays. 1934. bring power and irresistible mi ITht to bear the means whereby we may succeed in raising alld reign supreme over every he are. Our persuasions we sublime by countless instances as thouITh our can usually control. it may be that the man ought not so result not of one thing nor of two. LOllginus in England. In every systematic treatise and gained an immortality of renown. in my turn. Berlin: Meyer und Miiller. and conveyed to its readers but little of it is from no other source than this that the great- that practical help which it should be a writer's est poets alld writers have derived their eminence principal aim to give. N. that when we examiried together the friend. Rhys Roberts. 1993. D. alld due order and he has. whereas Sublimity m U?h tob~ blamed for his shortcomings as praised for hIS happy thought and his enthusiasm. Oxford: Clarendon Press. . Guer:ac. accordance with your nature and with what is fit- ting. 3~ As I am writing to you. lofty. declared that we do so in benevolence a~d truth. with the spell it of the methods by which we may attain our end. B'hlzography of the Essay on the Sublime. but of the whole texture of the composition. but the influences of the sub- • . Mann. to write thing before it like a thunderbolt. A. Elder. is an indication every way· imposing speech. However. for he answered well who. Olson. Some hold that those are entirely in error ON THE SUBLIME 97 . Demetno St. strangely enough. You will yourself. my dear Terentianus. 1937. and Frances Ferguson. flashing forth at the right moment scatters every- But .. Russel1. Similarly: our own capacities to a certain pitch of elevation we see skill in invention. I know well. Hen~. Suzanne. join me in appraising each detail with the 2 utmost regard for truth." New LlferQ1Y Histmy. "The Argument of Longinus's On the Sublime.Fuhrmann. Rosenberg. and others like forn::ed contain anything which will be of use to them. who are well versed in literary studies. but the consideration of lime. emerging as the hard-won 2. T. the other. IficatIOn. my friend. Maufred. in yourself suggest from your own experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1976. 16:2 (Winter 1985): 275-97. my good You will remember. throws over us. The two things are required. R. LO~lginus ~n~ English Criticism. and at once dis- ~ bn~f essay on the sublime for your special grat- plays the power of the orator in all its plenitude. Alfred. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. The first is a statement of effect of. omitted as unnecessary. At every time and in order ranks higher in importance. 4.p. publlc men. when asked in what qualities we resemble First of all. which although second in not persuasion but transport. prevails over that which aims at Now Caecilius seeks to show the nature of the persuasion and gratification. let us consider whether the views I have But enough. b Ignorance demanded it. my dear Postumius Terentianus. 1967. elevated language upon an audience is the subject. "Longinus and the Subject of the Sublime. alld that pomts. we found I feel ahnost absolved from the necessity of that it fell below the dignity of the whole subject premising at any length that sublimity is a certain w~ile it failed signally to grasp the essential distinction and excellence in expression. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. arrangement of matter. treatise of Caecilius on the Sublime. "Lollginus" on the Sublime. for these reflections. Die Dichtungstheorie der Antike. 1964' From On the Sub lin1e I the gods. ed.since you have urged me. you can.

And this is the ground on which the limits and fitting seasons. The inevitably to the ruin of the former.Oreithia. 3. Most dry that they are carried. they drift unawares into the tawdry and affected. nature is the only art that Boreas represented as a "flute-player. for often when these writers greatest of blessings. will it harmonize with the narra- ing principle in all cases. Demosthenes expresses the view. since its absence contributes tumidity seems particularly hard to avoid. error because. audacity. A third.. art that of good counsel. for it is utterly low 3 and mean and in real truth the most ignoble vice of sty Ie. They are turbid in expression and con- made worse and altogether feebler when wizened fused in imagery rather than the product of inten- by the rules of art. I presume. a Quell they the oven's far-flung splendour-glow! Ha. now my chant is not of noble strain. he describes Xerxes as the "Zeus of the Persians" the expression of the sublime is more exposed to and vultures as "living tombs. can be attempt is at least a noble error. is hardly inferior in true frenzy but are simply trifling.who would bring such matters under the precepts Such things are not tragic but pseudo-tragic- of art. Altogether." and not come by teaching. both in the body and in diction. By this is meant LONGINUS . for the man is frivolous and the mercy of mere momentum and ignorant blows. tasteless tumidity is unpardonable. But evil are learnt from no other source than art. matters of passion and elevation. sinks little by little from the terrible while nature as a rule is free and independent in into the contemptible. 3. to cinders shrivel it." and "belching to the sky. A lofty tone. Men slip into this kind of I'll burn the roof. says one. tumidity desires to transcend the limits of the sub: lime. say they.when it is left at of Cleitarchus. still Further. 5. and closely allied. is this puerility? Clearly.when it is suffered to sublime but high-flown. while good counsel. bombast. into the opposite extreme. I say. This we may explanation is that all who aim at elevation are so apply to diction. importance. if examined in the be found to be otherwise if it be observed that.." So is it with some danger when it goes its own way without the of the expressions of Callisthenes which are not guidance of knowledge . they think." 4. is innate. and threaten us these matters over in his mind. longer. While the subject as superfluous or useless . which begin in learned trifling One flame-wreath torrent-like I'll whirl on high. while they aim at the uncommon Nay. critic of those who desire to learn were to tum which are inflated and unreal.. which seem to themselves to be inspired they are in no occupies the second place. the defect which is termed puerility is the direct antithesis of elevation. pedant's thoughts. then. nature occupying the position of anxious to escape the reproach of being weak and good fortune. let me but one hearth-abider mark . we must remember that the very of nature. rest of it. They put fact that there are some elements of expression their trust in the maxim that "failure in a great which are in the hands of nature alone. But I maintain that this will sity. with regard to Other examples Will be found in Amphicrates and human life in general. Moreover.' and elaborate and most of all at the attractive. and still more with those be unstable and unballasted . he would no with the reverse of our aim. nature is the original and vital underly. it seems to me. 2. but it is also true that it often needs the curb. 2. but system can define tion offact. the the swellings. light of day. as by some strange law important of all. and does "flame-wreaths. and end in frigidity. What. yet is she wont which is in its very nature stately and prone to not to act at random and utterly without system. It is true that it often needs the spur. less. But since even in tragedy. that good fortune is the Hegesias and Matris. regard the discussion of is drier than a man who has the dropsy. If. and each one of them. as Sophocles has it. for nothing." and all the can compass it. On pigmy hautboys: mouthpiece have they none. used to call parenthyrsus. and can also contribute phrases of Gorgias of Leontini are ridiculed when the safest rules for use and practice. kind of defect in matters of passion is that which Theodorus lAeschylus. Works of nature are.

though sion is required. that hast the eyes of a dog. 3. but are of the Lacedaemonians: "You would find it purely personal and wearisome. At all events. whereas he composed his phrase in his narrative are barbarians and in their Panegyric in ten. 5:18. heroes of literature. has not left even this incapable of elevation of style. nevertheless tion is needed. in the tured in Sicily.some degree since those who use this particular quest of Nlessene." I arn surprised. his passion for continually starting novel notions.. how strange it is that the pupils of the whole company should be 4 believed to be modest notwithstanding the com- Of the second fault of which we have spoken . He was learned piece of frigidity to Xenophon. In the course of a (usually so divine) when he means simply tablets eulogy on Alexander the Great. and Plato appropriated by Caecilius. 2. Iliad 1:225. but clutches it as and ingenious. that beautiful women are "eye-smarts" is not thus judged. in the patemalline."s The expression of Herodotus to the effect plain it is. mon saying that the shamelessness of individuals frigidity . after faults of others while blind to his own. or immoderate. for statues of bronze. beloved Terentianus. for they spent thitty years in the con. who occasionally showed that he was not has it. In consequence harder to hear their voice than that of busts of they seem to hearers who are in no wise affected marble. however. in ner. as sometimes forget themselves for the sake of such if by intoxication. from an unseemly exhibi- they had acted impiously towards Hermes and tion of triviality.] acted impiously towards Zeus and Heracles. and the infliction of punish- ment was chiefly due to Hermocrates the son of Hermon. 3 5. How arise.unseasonable and empty passion. I write his Panegyric urging war against the should hold with Sparta that they be suffered to Persians.ters is it well that an author should suffer. Yes. who had been given in marriage to another man. he often fell iuto the merest childishness. mutilated his images. [Tr. but not even in the mouths of such charac- which he speaks of the Athenians who were cap." 4.4 of Asia in fewer years than it took Isocrates to And again. I will from the midst of the nuptial rites. Xenophon and Plato.] deprived him of his sovereignty because he had 'Plato.] ON THE SUBLIME 99 . And no wonder. however. is indicated by nothing so much as the eyes l Timaeus was a writer of considerable general ''Thou sot. Timaeus. Lall's 5:74IC." Strange indeed is the comparison of lie asleep in the earth and not summoned to the man of Macedon with the rhetorician. For men are often carried away. 6 This. Through saying of Agathocles that he abducted his cousin.Timaeus supplies many examples. where modera. that the Lacedaemonians. [Tr..] But why speak of Timaeus when even those 'Herodotus. since the greater number have been already place of maidens. from the outraged god.. into displays of emotion which paltry pleasantries? Xenophon writes in the Polity are not caused by the nature of the subject." Good heavens. harder to deflect their gaze than that of to act in an ungainly way. you would deem them more they are beside themselves. that he does not write with regard to 2Xenophon. while their hearers modest than the very maidens in their eyes.. were far interior to Isocrates in much better. Xenophon to call the pupils of our eyes "modest maidens.could have done this had he not had wantons. in his eyes?" 6. "Who set down one or two examples only of his man. may be condoned in prowess. he describes him says. "As touching walls. "They shall write and preserve cypress as "the man who gained possession of the whole memorials in the temples.] 'Homer. Lall's 6:778d [Tr. But the question of the passions we It was wOlthy of an Amphicrates and not of a reserve for separate treatment.2 are not. On the Government of the wcedaimollialls the despot Dionysius that "Dian and Herac1eides 3:5· [Tr. 5Plato." as Homer ability. where no pas. Megillus. Consider again the way in cups. "They were punished because judgment of posterity. who was descended. [Tr. Histol). but very prone to criticize the though it were hid treasure. he asks. Timaeus. trained in the school of Socrates.

five pJincipal sources of elevated language. 7 the gift of discourse. pings of the stage. Our as though it had itself produced what it has heard. not only of success. an ardu. convey. to gain. Come now. and we shall show subse- ing. so to speak. but are high-souled enough to disdain them. and the memory of suggest means by which we may avoid the which is strong and hard to efface. lives. there is great to despise. These two com- distinctions. since the very of figures.objects which a noble nature will rather All these ugly and parasitical growths arise in lit- despise than admire. clear knowledge and appreciation of the the same subject. while a man of intelligence. will not seem. ature. In life conceptions. that 100 LONGINUS . a thing is heard repeatedly by same sources as our good points. however.5 that when analyzed they are found to be mere vanity .one which is the fitting also in the case of sublimity in poems and prose conclusion of all that have preceded it . honors. my dear friend. it is not impossible perhaps to acquire discrimination in 8 these matters by attention to some such hints as those which follow. First You must know. and all other things ponents of the sublime are for the most part innate. There are. with this one remark by way of preface. if and unassailable. it cannot rank as trne true also of vaJiations and hyperboles and the use sublimity because it does not survive a first hear- of the plural number. languages. Hence. degree. of metaphors. and elaboration of language. It is necessary now to seek and to impossible to withstand. we must consider whether some fied and elevated composition. from a concert of discordant elements ous one. let us supposed examples have not simply the appear. who is well versed in liter- beauties of expression and touches of sublimity. Secondly. For that is really great which bears a repeated quently the dangers to which these seem severally examination. if examined carefully through but also of the contrary. defects which attend the steps of the sublime. Next there is noble diction. and its effect is not to dispose the soul to and charming elegances withal. 2.is digni- writi ngs. For instance. and in any case those who could have which in tum comprises choice of words. I must speak in the way of precept. For the judgment of style is the last and makes our faith in the object of admiration strong crowning fruit oflong experience. so eties. The are more admired than those who have them. it takes a elty in the expression of ideas which may be proud flight. and it does not leave in the mind effective composition. which is indispensable. true sublime. When therefore. sovereignties. riches. Nonetheless.then that verdict which results. and is filled with joy and vaunting. defects usually spring. Beneath these five varieties there lies. first ages. as though it were a common foundation. our erature from a single cause. . that it is with the and most important is the power of forming great sublime as in the common life of man. ambitions. it may be said. yet these very things are more food for reflection than the words seem to the elements and foundation. and use them. consider what is involved in each of these vari- ance of elevation with many idle accretions. are favorable to high thoughts. to be supreme blessings. In general. Those which remain are partly the product of art. vehement and inspired passion. to a man of The due formation of figures deals with two sorts sense. Something of the kind is and through. but falls. For 6 when men of different pursuits. which possess in abundance the external trap. consider those examples of sublimity to be fine and genuine which please all and always. as if instinctively. for the most part. So fifth cause of elevation . The enterprise is. first those of thought and secondly contempt of them is reckoned good in no small those of expression. my mend. into disesteem. 4. as we have elsewhere explained in nothing can be considered great which it is held our remarks on Xenophon. and which it is difficult or rather to be exposed. For. regarded as the fashionable craze of the day. hold identical views on one and of all. from the 3. The best means would be. that pursuit of nov- soul is uplifted by the true sublime.

Ossa in fury they strove to upheave au Olym. by itself and seems to him that they are by nature one and without a spoken word. Caecilius thought that passion never The image he has suggested is not terrible but contributes at all to sublimity. it is absolutely necessary to which are independent of passion.1I 9 He makes the vastness of the world the measure Now the first of the conditions mentioned. I would affirm with confidence that there is no tone so lofty as that of And far as a man with his eyes through the sea-line genuine passion.] llHomer. that thence they that is admirable and worthy of immortality. you for example. . with mean and servile ideas and aims prevailing pus on high. If." Hence also a bare idea. nurture our souls (as far as that is possible) to thoughts sublime. [You will remember the answer Ay. might step to the sky. s 3. Homer magnifies the higher powers: tion. is this to be done? Elsewhere I have mistaken if he does so on the ground that these written as follows: "Sublimity is the echo of a two. if why passionate speakers are the worst eulogists. Iliad 5:770-72. in this divine steeds were to leap thus twice in succes- case also. Odyssey II:315-16. Thus the silence of Ajax in the order. and this nial and occasional addresses contain on every might well be considered the measure of Homer side examples' of dignity and elevation. of their leap.] 9Prom Arnan's Anabasis of Aleralldel: A lacuna in the manuscript follows. that of passion. then. The Shield of Herac/es. although we have to do rather with an sion they would pass beyond the confines of the endowment than with an acquirement. on the Rheum from her nostrils was trickling. Odyssey II :543. 2. too. to the truly eloquent must be free from low and take one ont of numberless instances. such as the dar. 10 other hand. and make them always pregnant. holds the foremost naturally to prompt the exclamation that if the rank among them all. [fr. namely. 4. How unlike to this the the most part void of passion. and on the other Underworld is great and more sublime than hand there are many examples of the sublime words. he is altogether deluded. So far at a bound do the loud-neighing steeds of the Deathless leap. We must. and if it great soul. This is the reason expression which is used of Sorrow by Hesiod. For some passions are found which ration just because of the greatness of soul are far removed from sublimity and are of a low implied. that ing words of Homer with regard to the Aloadae. 267. sometimes excites admi- inseparable.7 Great accents we expect to fall from the lips of those whose thoughts are deep and grave. out in a wild gust of mad enthusiasm and as it On a cliff as he sitteth and gazeth away o'er the wine-dark deep.. say. but are for no less than of Strife. [Tr. throughout their lives should produce anything With forest-clad Pelion above. and if it was for rather loathsome.. those who are apt in encomium are the least passionate.. are a unity. 3."g . Thus And so of the words which follow with still it is that stately speech comes naturally to the greater force: proudest spirits.] ON THE SUBLIME ror . [Tr. Among the orators. In what way. sublimity and passion. of] Alexander to Parmenio when he said "For my part I had been well content. The sublimity is so overpowering as namely elevation of mind. First. indicate the source of this elevation. were fills the speaker's words with frenzy. therefore. such as pity. eulogies and ceremo. grief and fear.. ignoble thoughts. IOHesiod. and the deed had they done. when it bursts haze may discern. Contrast the way in which this reason that he did not deem it worthy of men. For it is not possible that men Yea.Caecilius has omitted some of the five divisions. with noble inspiration. 4. in its right place. 2. Surely he is quite may ask. the distance from earth to heaven. indeed the Shield is to be attributed to Hesiod: and why. on the other hand.] 7Homer. [Tr. 5. so to 'Homer.

In his poem the battle all things together . tears. what is said of Poseidon Mad rageth he as Ares the shaker of spears.] I'Homer. he portrays the gods as immortal not only worthy of his bravery. boon of immediate light. Her far-stretching ridges. to have pray for life. "God said. mad flames leap selves: Wild-wasting from hill unto hill in the folds of a forest deep. But since in the hopeless dark- men concerned in the Siege of Troy. writes at the ground apart. Tartarus itself is laid bare. Homer So it be but in light. as onward Poseidon strode. my friend.in order to its foundations. reprisals. the very beginning of his Laws.heaven and hell. having formed and expressed a worthy Lest o'er him earth-shaker Poseidon should cleave conception of the might of the Godhead. and of their feuds. Iliad 13:18-19. gods of the beseemed a hero. Perhaps Those mansions ghastly and grim. yet from another point of view.. the legislator of the Jews. slightly misquoted. at his wits' end. he the gods. 8. as far as lay within his power. cries: flict and the perils of that battle! Zeus.world. the show that he is wont himself to enter into the sub- whole world is upturned and parted asunder. things of the Greeks is suddenly veiled by mist and baf- mortal and things immortal . or as in a passage fnlly treated by many before our. my friend.] I2Homer. if they be not And make clear day. how the earth is tom from with regard to the concerns of men . Similarly. for example. Beneath his immortal feet. even though Zeus should in nature but also in misfortune. But although these things are awe-inspiring. Father. and men of ness he can tum his valor to no noble end. 6. He does not bonds. in his legends of wounds suffered by the gods. fight in the ranks against him.. king of the realm of shadows.this time You see.'6 in dismay. And he sprang from his throne. Much supe. Far round wide heaven and Olympus echoed his for their king they knew. and it is neither more nor less than true of nature as it really is . I'Genesis 1:3. and vouchsafe unto us with taken allegorically. 27-29. there be land. I3Homer. fling night. yet save thou Achaia's sons from be- 7. [Tr." - And revealed to Immortals and mortals should what? "Let there be light. quaked the car-steeds flew. neath the gloom. it is Iliad 20:60. 13 thereunder. And for rapture the sea was disparted. Iliad 17:645-47. In truth.) 102 LONGINUS . [Tr. and the Trojans' town. and lime actions of his heroes. The second line belongs at the beginning of the last quotation. Then Ajax. destroy US!'5 seems to me.pure and great and the poet himself that undefiled. I I. And her peaks. Iliad 15:605-7. How transcendent also are the images in Then over the surges he drave: leapt sporting the Battle of the Gods: before the God Sea-beasts that uprose all around from the depths. and onward And Hades. no ordi- in the dread of his heart nary man. Homer rior to the passages respecting the Battle of the in these cases shares the full inspiration of the Gods are those which represent the divine combat. our eyes to see! and violate our sense of what is fitting. resolved to find a death able. That is the true attitude of an Ajax.share in the con. clarion of thunder. quaked And the foam-froth fringeth his IipS. and there was light. and all their manifold passions. if I bring for- very GodsY ward one passage more from Homer . [Tr. and the ships of Achaia's array. abhorred of the I shall not seem tedious. But whereas we mortals have death as chafes at his slackness in the fray and craves the the destined haven of our ills if our lot is miser. Iliad 20:61-05. ISHomer. and there was land. they are aJtogetherimpious. her forest-trees. and he cried aloud 9. for such a petition wonld have ill made. let stand those awful abodes.14 ro.

And . as Zoilus called them). Odysseus's fast at 12:447. Man who sits and gazes at thee before him. the latter by the aggregation of those cho- sions. and of Zeus like a grounds) that. ON THE SUBLIME 10 3 . real.who was without food for ten days upon the velous tales. It must needs be. there inhere in all things by nature certain most part consists of narrative. and of the hero the special token of old age is the love of mar. It is for the same reason. therefore. while the Odyssey for the Now. that he has made the whole structure of the Iliad. God he were. and of the incredible tale of the slaying of that the Odyssey was his second subject. however. tbe blissful and the like. For instance. ideas. as demonstrate her supreme excellence? In the skill though the ocean were withdrawing into itself with which she selects and binds together the and were being laid bare within its own confines. Aiolos's wineskin at 10:17. in the Odyssey Homer substance. which Let us next consider whether we can point to any- was written at the height of his inspiration. Accordingly. A spe. In fact. whose grandeur shall find one source of the sublime in the sys- remains without its intensity. he there renders a tribute of mourning and may know that the genius of great poets and lamentation to his heroes as though he were car. In saying this I have not forgotten the tem. so to say. action and conflict. You seem to emotions that attend delirious passion from its see henceforth the ebb and flow of greatness. IS For what else can we term these cial proof is the fact that he introduces in that things than veritable dreams of Zeus? IS. it is neverthe. with There lieth Ajax the warrior wight. There lieth mine own dear son. as is characteristic constituents which are part and parcel of their of old age. It is clear from many indications wreck. they form as it were a comedy of There is Patroclus. as I Laughing love's low laughter. I suppose. by their mutual combi- poems of Ilium. the final expression in the delineation of character. when a great genius is declining. that we may be likened to a sinking sun. These poem remnants of the adventures before Ilium as observations with regard to the Odyssey should episodes. what may be called one body. whose words had weight as a manners. Wherein does she a fancy roving in the fabulous and incredible. to show how easily great natures in their Stirs the troubled heart in my breast to tremble! decline are sometimes diverted into absurdity. be made for another reason . Oh this. there process attracts the hearer by the choice of the is not the same profusion of accumulated pas. the slaying l7Horner. [Tr. Odyssey maintain so high a pitch as in those and the power of forming. Peer of Gods he seemeth to me.] of the suitors at 22:79-380. of Odysseus. less the old age of Homer. His sublimities are not evenly nation. in the Odyssey (and this who were fed like swine by Circe (whining pork- further observation deserves attention on many ers. I2. packed sen. full of thing further that contributes to sublimity of style. and accompaniments in actual life. If I speak of old age. the metamorphosis at 10:237. Odyssey is simply an epilogue to the Iliad: For such are the details which Homer gives. Close beside thee sits. and in silence hears thee however.prose-writers. nor the supple and oratorical style. as in the incident of the wine-skin and of the men 18Five incidents from the Odyssey. The object of this digression has been. prevails throughout this poem over the Silverly speaking. Achilles is an eye to characterization. finds its rying out a long-cherished purpose. S appho everywhere chooses the with images drawn from real life. as their passion declines. nestling nurtured by the doves. sion: pests in the Odyssey and the story of the Cyclops 2. of the Trojan War. He shows.the suitors. Odyssey 3:r09-1 1. most striking and vehement circumstances of pas- I4. The former sustained and free from the liability to sink. He does not in the tematic selection of the most important elements. The fabulous element. The Cyclops at 9:192.in order that you indeed. this only said. '7 10 13. Zeus's doves at 12:62. of life in the home there.

I ween. line into the similitude of the impending calamity. as though they were all alien from her. and of Demosthenes in the passage which begins "It was evening. one might say. tion into a single whole that has produced the sin. and almost stamped upon the Homer. 4.VO. hot and cold. tongue. ''\JnEK 8C1. way figured the disaster. 011 the CrowlI. This is true the Arimaspeia thinks to inspire awe in the fol. while their troduced chinks or· fissures into stately and co- hearts abide in the main. blast's terrible hreath Yea. Are you not amazed how at one instant she rible. where deep seas roll. and by the constriction of the verse has excellently gular excellence of the passage. whose walls are compacted by Often. eyes.hypek. and the heart of the shipmen through me shuddereth 'Neath the flesh impalpable fire runs tingling. "up out of death. to the Gods are their hands upraised their reciprocal adjustment on high. and often within an ace of perishing point of death. at one and moment set a limit to the terror of the scene." and the wild foam shrouds 21Demosthenes. The author of ger. as I said. or trivial. also of Archilochus in his account of the ship- lowing way: wreck. body. it does self and dispersed. But employed when the narrative or the course of a what says Homer? Let one instance be quoted from among many: !'Homer. bursts down on a ship. and the storm- Straight is my voice hushed. mean. 169. In fear. soul. Only. massed them together. picks· out the expression the very form and pressure of the dan- most appalling circumstances. just as though tliey in- Their eyes on the stars ever dwell. pound word . The effect desired is that not one with each successive wave. by course of the passions. but the same time. ITr. for they reap but a harvest of ing frivolous. inserting in the midst noth- Wretches are they. Lost in the love-trance. In the same. After all. by saying A plank keeps off death. when describing tempests. All such things occur in a kind of unnatural compulsion. This figure is more elegance than terror in these words. does not for one color? Uniting contradictions. An allied excellence to those already set forth is It is clear. the selection usually compounded?O He has thus tortured his of the most striking of them and their combina. Moreover. Furthermore. and through and Roars in the sail. And a slender plank averteth their death. Homer. Caught by pains of menacing death. the words 'meEK 8a. For these faults mar travail and pain. For should I but see thee a little moment.] And he burst on them like as a wave swift-rushing 2tJ-rhe point is that Homer has created an unusual com- beneath black clouds. 7. however. he has in passion only should be seen in her. to everybody that there is that which is termed amplification. 5. for she is either terrified or at the their lives. he has made it trivial and neat instead of ter- 3.] 104 LONGINUS . but a con. he has put bounds to the danger summons. And with hearts in misery heavenward-lifted in II prayer do they cry. according to merit and Men dwell on the water afar from the land. Iliad 15:624-28.1otO ~Epov'tal. prepositions not the case of lovers. I imagine. From the stem to the stem her hull. in her senses and out draws a vivid picture of men continually in peril of of her mind. keep it off. Aratus has attempted to convert this same Sweat runs down in rivers. a tremor seizes expression to his own use: All my limbs. and a noise of roaring the clutches of death." where he describes the A marvel exceeding great is this withal to my bringing of the news?! The salient points they soul- selected. ITr. out of hyper ("up") and ek ("out of'): Heaved huge by the winds. ordered edifices. she is. but it is. 19 Waves in my ear sounds. for that scantly upbome are they now from Nothing see mine eyes. the effect of the whole. and paler than grass in autumn. 6. my tongue is broken. I falter.vuwto. forced into union. ears.

I suppose. however. and elevated expressions follow. Amplification (to sum the matter up in a have read the Republic and are familiar with his general way) is an aggregation of all the con- stituent parts and topics of a subject. discourse which invests the subject with treatment of commonplaces. Clearness. may be compared to a thunderbolt or firm basis of the sublime. there are innumerable kinds of Terentianus. Only. sublimity is often comprised in a To return from my digression. however. since they too invest the writings on history and natural science. indeed. you will be better able to decide. In all other cases of most part rugged. say be flooded with words.. on either by way of the rhetorical treatment of com. Cicero. Our ora- amplification. 5. as one who appeals more to the ascending order. while amplification is universally thus flows on with noiseless stream. 4. while amplification embraces a multitude of details. from section to sec. This.22 owing to the fact that in his vehemence- will remove as it were the soul from the body. one after the 3. lending strength to the argument by dwelling upon it. distributed now at this point now at that. Cicero by profusion. all the glow of a fiery spirit. for it is appropriate to the they.forensic argument admits. or by way of intensification (whether nificent stateliness. differs from amplification. that it seems to me (supposing amplification. and to perorati. he is none- associated with a certain magnitude and abun.he the vigor of the amplification at once loses its can as it were consume by fire and carry away all intensity and its substance when not resting on a before him. and in passages in which the audience is to be utterly enthralled. And it is in these same respects. Demosthenes in elevated passages. With his vast riches Plato swells. The many other departments of literature. the other hand. and in his speed.. that the orator in his other. you tor. This definition. For the latter unless indeed where pity is to be excited or an is characterized by sublimity which is for the opponent to be disparaged. He is "our" orator because Longinus is a demonstrates the matter under investigation. 2. cannot indeed be accused of events or arguments are to be strongly presented). opinion upon the point) that Cicero differs from apart from sublimity. Greek writing to a Roman. sideration a moment ago. in an unbroken succession and in an utterance shows. would surely for the most part and digressions. after the manner of a widespread present precepts differ from the point under con. fire. it demands that we should define concisely how our seems to me. if you take away the sublime. and to discourse with a certain degree of grandeur. the sublime fed by an unceasing succession. conflagration. generally. power and intensity . rolls on with all-devouring flames. and tion of them. while the latter 22Dernosthenes. and differing herein from proof that. You know this because you dance. but he has not the same vehemence. forms a complete whole. however. on the other hand.. my dear friend sions. 3. ON THE SUBLIME 105 . sea. For aye. like some tion. Although Plato single thought. and to and figurative language. and to all apply in equal measure to sublimity and passion descriptive and declamatory passages. but the great opportunity of Demosthenes' high-pitched eleva- tion comes where intense utterance and vehement 12 passion are in question. flash of lightning. The pro- Now the definition given by the writers on fusion of Cicero is in place where the hearer must rhetoric does not satisfy me. the orator must in every case always that we Greeks are allowed to have an remember that none of these methods by itself. Plato. Amplification is. coldness. into a greatness which expands on every side.ons grandeur. firm-planted in his pride and mag- monplaces. Wherefore it is. And this may be effected passions. 13 Consequently. or by the orderly arrangement of facts or of pas. point of distinction between them seems to me to be that sublimity consists in elevation. 2. theless elevated. of many starting points and many pauses. and wherein. namely the marking-out having within him an ample and abiding store of of the most striking conceptions and the unifica.

14 lime. For approaches the ttipod.] "Hesiod. nor enjoy any pure man whom all admire. where there is a rut in the those personages. and what manner of way. point by age listen to me who have written thus?" But if point. "Those. or how it by the spirit of others as if inspired. Was if we presuppose such a tribunal and theater for Herodotus alone a devoted imitator of Homer? our own utterances. but like cattle they have their much love of contention and breaking a lance with eyes ever cast downwards and bent upon the him as it were. A great Hometic source drew to himself innumer. 3. 2.'m by one's predecessors btings no discredit. ''In what spirit will each succeeding have found it necessary to prove this. 4. who from the great heroes. [Tf. and imagine that we are No. Works alld Days. "This graze and grow fat and breed. 2. By inflaming our ardor and as it were illumining our heavenly power thus communicated she is path. And what. it seems. They never look upwards to the truth. but deriving some profit from the ground and upon their feeding-places. For. This writer shows us. will carry our minds in a mystetious way to impregnated and straightway delivers oracles in the high standards of sublimity which are imaged virtue of the afflatus. had not Ammonius and his followers one shrinks from the very thought of uttering selected and recorded the particulars. or sacred caves) what we may describe as efflu. carousals and the like are carried on the down. unless he had with all his heart and mind strug- ward path.] 106 LONGINUS . and as it were other works of art. my expression and elevated conception. "who are destitute of would not in many cases have found his way to wisdom and goodness and are ever present at poetical subject matter and modes of expression. lists like a young champion matched against the nor do they lift their heads. 24. and showing perhaps too and lasting pleasure. and that he rity of fame. [Tf. that be? It is the imitation and emulation of pre. may Accordingly it is well that we ourselves also. Stesichorus even before his time. as Hesiod says..manner. And let this. blind. so that even those who seem little likely to by me. greater incentive still will be supplied if you add able tributary streams. presenting themselves to us and ground which (they say) exhales divine vapor. 3. Republic 9:586a. had he been present. since they are by no means would not have been so fine a bloom of perfection brought to the perfection needed to ensure a futu- on Plato's philosophical doctrines. the spell of the others' greatness. and they contest nonetheless. Similarly from the great within us. that another way (beyond anything we have mentioned) leads to the sub. when elaborating anything which requires lofty vious great poets and writers. This pro. "Plato. the conceptions of his mind must nec- impression from beautiful forms or figures or essarily be incomplete. aught that may transcend the term of his own life ceeding is not plagiarism. And it seems to me that there untimely born. Still more effectual will it be to sug- natures of the men of old there are borne in upon gest this question to our thoughts.. just as it is would have been raised to the sublime by Plato or related of the Pythian priestess when she Demosthenes or by the historian Thucydides.24 And in truth that insatiate desire of these delights they kick and struggle for the crown of glory is noble and best butt with horns and hoofs of iron and kill one deserves the victory in which even to be worsted another in their greed. acting as judges and witnesses. it is like taking an and time." says he. should shape dear friend. And perhaps we should the question. For many men are carried away Homer would have said this very thing. "What sort of the souls of those who emulate them (as from hearing would Homer. and above all Plato. Demosthenes have given to this or that when said ences. be an aim to which we steadfastly some idea in our minds as to how perchance apply ourselves. and undergoing a scrutiny of our writings before these Archilochus. or how would they have been affected by be possessed are thereby inspired and succumb to the other?" For the ordeal is indeed a severe one. and through their strue is good for mortals. if only we were will- ing to pay him heed. and wander thus throughout gled with Homer for the primacy. entering the their life.

to avoid Moreover." (though it be most lighteous) the cage of the soul he says. the mental excel- which are inseparable from it. but the diately burst out signs of fettered liberty of ruin of such lives will gradually reach its com- speech. and where it prevails there spreads ignohle. and vanity. my good sir. And when time has passed the pair learn the lessons of a righteous servitude. how it hap- and a public prisonhouse.44 is true) in which are kept the Pygmies. 9. "we seem in our boyhood to and abides. to find fault with the acre in which well fitted for public life. one lives.insolence. so that we emer"e in no other ted to co~e to maturity.houghts are yet young and tender. and shamelessness." he added. commonly caned nani.] upright judge of what is just and honorable (since ON THE SUBLIME t 07 . aye. "as no doubt do many others." 6. and are human nature. now suffer sorely) and the love of pleasure make and that literary power may be said to share its us their thralls. drown rise and fall with democracy and democracy us body and soul in the depths. of cities and houses. Odyssey 17:322.. and breed ostentation. holds our desires in its grasp. and law- the reason. In the slave there imme- eyes or have any further regard for fame. highly. and further still So great and worldwide a dearth of high utterance those passions which occupy as wi th troops our attends our age. a question which a cer- their bodies. and characteristic of gift of persuasion to the utmost extent. owing to the prizes which are open to allowing the entrance into our souls of the evils an under popul ar government. it is said. as the wise say. "the cages (if what I hear parts and omit to exalt that which is immortal. by extrava- forth (as it is natural they should) \~ith an the gance. not only hinder the growth of the It remains however (as I will not hesitate to add creatures confined within them." he went on.no spurious pro!S. "Can it be" he continued present age and utterly harry and plunder it. But consider whether it may'"not be true and particularly rich in an the charms of lan- that it is not the world's peace that ruins great guage." he proceeded. For a man who has once accepted a bribe for a judicial decision cannot be an unbiased and 25Homer. and . For "that we are to accept the trite 'explanation tha~ the love of money (a disease from which we all democracy is the kind nursing-mother of genius. and as it were rubbed bri "ht and shine junction and step for step as they say. in close con- sharpened. "I ury: . when Homer has it. of a man habit- plete consummation and sublimities of soul fade uated to buffetings. For vast and lences of tbe orator are continually exercised and unchecked wealth is accompanied. [fr. 7. so one has aptly termed all servitude tain philosopher has recently mooted. he maintained. This is the soul Il1exorable masters . and men will no longer lift up their may belong to menials. and as soon as the former opens the crates freedom which inspires the doings of the state.. and are keen and ready. straightway they beget in guise than that of sublime ftatter:rs. and the the imaginations of the lofty-minded and to love of pleasure one which makes them most inspire hope. 5. the love of riches alone? For freedom. why no slave ever lessness. an but enswathed in its customs and observances and quickly give themselves to the rearin" of off- when our t. 8. but actually in recognition of your love of knowledge) to clea~ attenuate them through the bonds which beset up. 3. if we value boundless wealth so emulous pursuit of the foremost place. or rather. has power to feed being a malady which makes men petty. yet there no longer arise reany lofty and natures. I answered him pens that in our time there are men who have the thus: "It is easy. "I wonder." 2. spnng.eny of tbeirs.25 men are lost in admiration of their own mortal "Just as. although all other faculties sarily happen. "takes away half our manhood." as and wither away and become contemptible. or (to speak more truly) deify it. but far rather this war illimitable which transcendent natures unless quite exceptionally. This must neces- becomes an orator. my dear Terentianus. '"and lux- never tastIl1g the fairest and most productive source of eloquence (by which. being build nests in the lives of men. On reflection I cannot discover how it abroad the eagerness of mutual rivalry and the is possible for us. the latter immediately e~ters Today." 4. If these chIldren of wealth are permit- mean freedom). of the dungeon as it were. but only too leglt1mate. as one may say. "For the day of slavery.

a for gain? ro. Electra. 12. unresolved. since our Sublime itself. while gain few exceptions is passed. [Tr."26 and to proceed to what next pre- ible judge of works that are great and likely to sents itself. or is it not rather the case that all about which I previously undertook to write in a are influenced in their decisions by the passion separate treatise. In an age which is ravaged by a worthy object of our own efforts and the respect plagues so sore. reach posterity.at the price of life itself. 11. These fOID1. namely the subject of the Passions. and half-heartedness in which the life of all of us with the laying of ambushes for legacies. and huntings after the death of others. 379. would set the .each exert ourselves except for the sake of praise and one of us . for we do not labor or from any and every source we purchase . it is perhaps better for men like material part of discourse generally and of the ourselves to be ruled than to be free. But '''tis best to leave these riddles that there is still left an unbiased and incorrupt. is it possible for us to imagine of others. Summing up. as it seems to me. appetites.to the man who is venal his own interests must world on fire with deeds of evil. being the pleasure. if let loose without restraint upon our neighbors like beasts from a cage. "Euripides.l 108 LONGINUS . never for those solid benefits which are slaves of pleasure. seem honorable and just). Nay. and the same is true I maintained that among the banes of the natures where the entire life of each of us is ordered by which our age produces must be reckoned that bribes.

Kronos. Similarly the Intellectual-Principle gives rise to the AIl-Soul. He gives the impression of an improbable combination of Plato and Zen: This is inaccurate historically. his ideas are a useful adjunct to Plato's because. which he views in a complex hierarchy. for art does not derive from reason. The artist may represent his grasp of an Idea within the medium of his art: "Thus Phidias wrought the [Olympian] Zeus upon no model among things of sense but by apprehending what form Zeus must take if he chose to become manifest to sight.." Art at its best can be a way of knowing the Ideas. which is the paradigm for consciousness here below. The One gives rise to the Intellectual-Principle. In his treatise "On the Intellectual Beauty.") Beauty exists in its highest degree only There. the Intellectual-Principle is the basis of beauty in the universe.E. Plotinus is basically sym- pathetic to art. unlike Plato. it is the artist's grasp of higher things that lends quality to his or her work. not an aggregate of discursive reasoning and detailed willing. the principle of existence itself. that the artist should be a mathematician or a philosopher. though the Ideas give birth one to the other not through temporal but through logical priority. and it is this that gives rise to matter in all its diverse forms. the structure of the universe. For Plotinus as for Plato. however. Plotinus is not primarily an aesthetician. Below the All-Soul is the Nature-Principle. the artist imitates but does not necessarily copy the things of this world. and Zeus are myths of these three basic Ideas. Nevertheless. Plotinus suggests. he generally thinks first about painting and sculpture rather than about poetry." Plotinus explains that the Greek gods Ouranos. "There") as the paradigm for the physical world here below. Plotinus's thought is based on the higher Ideas. Plotinus's God- term. What is strange is encountering these ideas unaccompanied by the classical clarity of Plato. (Plotinus calls it "one total- ity . This does not mean.. Plotinus' s ideas will be alter- nately familiar and strange. Like Benedetto Croce at the begin- ning of the twentieth century. Plotinus. by which things are knowable and differentiable. What is familiar is his metaphysics. Plotinus insists that the work of art exists primarily as the intuition of the artist and is known prior to reason. and in still lesser degree ("insofar as it has subdued the resistance of the material") in the concrete and physical work the artist makes. Like other Neoplatonists Plotinus derives not only from Plato but also from the Gnostics of Alexandria and the Eastern Mystery cults of Dionysus or Mithras. a unity working out into detail . PLOTINUS I09 . but there is an oriental flavor to his thought. Like Plato.. are beautiful only insofar as their flesh projects a beautiful spirit. . To one who has read Plato. a distinct image. At the top is The One... the greatest of the Neoplatonists.. . and when he discusses art. in lesser degree as the intuition within the soul of the artist. Plotinus posits an Ideal world (which he calls ekei. In fact. But even natural beauty is primarily a quality of soul: Even beautiful women. was born of Roman parents in the Egyptian city of Lycopolis.Plotinus 204 ?-27 0 C.

A. Arte y rea/idad en fa estetica de Platina. Hamden. Donald. Baines. Gerard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1918. Bishop. J. S. A Commentary on Plotinus. and Damascius. "The Mysticism of Plotinus. In the first stage of mystical union. G. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1995.possessed by Apollo or by one of the Muses . Thus. and why the most supreme creators . Cambridge Companion to Plotinus. 2000.need no longer look outside for his vision of the divine being. John N. The Hague: Nijhoff. T. Mysticism and the Mystical Experience. New York: Barnes and Noble. M. Harris. Sara. 19 67. Procl"s. Selected Bibliography Armstrong. London: Duckwortb. CT: Greenwood. 1995. or inspiration." Quarterly RevielV 231 (1919): 479-97. Inge. Contemplation and the One. 1978. William R. The Architecture of the Intelligible Universe in the Philosophy of Plotinus. 1968. The Structure of Being: A Neoplatonic Approach. London: Quest.seem to show in their art not mere personality but rather a transcendent objectivity and clarity. New York: Oxford University Press. O'Daly. 1973.Shakespeare. Lloyd. Mead. Plotinus's Philosophy of the Self. Nature. PA: Susquehanna University Press. Neoplatonism. 1940. Selinsgrove. Reading Neoplatonism: Non-Discursive Thinking in the Texts of Plotinus. 199 6. 110 PLOTINUS . where Plotinus discusses a series of spiritual exercises that help to bring the world of There within the self. as a form of possession given to favored mortals. it is but finding the strength to see divinity within. for Plotinus this mystical state of unity with the Divine lies within the reach of everyone. Underhill. 1982. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Carlos. H. This process may suggest why egoism and temperament are so often found in the incomplete artist. The Spiritual World of Plotinus. The Philosophy of Plorinus. he says. J." In the Ion Plato discussed enthousiasm6s. R. Atkinson. 1920. R. 1983. Mozart . R. Evelyn. Norfolk: International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. San Antonio de Padua: Ediciones Castaneda. Blumenthal. In its final stages. the Divine invades the subject as a glorified self-image. Asti Vera. Rappe. H. the self fades out completely as the subject becomes completely identified with divine power and will. Deck. "a man filled with a god . The most mystical part of "On the Intellectnal Beauty" is found in sections IO and II. Rembrandt. Plotinus's Psychology: His Doctrines of the Embodied Sou!. 1971. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wallis. Gerson.

and working by the Idea or from all this or there is nothing unless sheer uglI- Reason-Principle of the beautiful object it is to ness or (at best) a bare recipient. the other has are themselves imitations. to the vision of the Intellectual Beauty and strength less strong. creating in the image of its own process: either there is also a color and form apart nature and content. how the Beauty source but from music. every- It is a principle with us that one who has attained thing that reaches outwards is the less for it. ON THE INTELLECTUAL BEAUTY III . these natural objects unpatterned. but especially the consummate derivative and a minor: and even that shows itself among them. heat less hot. that much creation in which the sculptor's art has concen- of their work is all their own. 2Plotinus continues his argument that Beauty resides in Translated by Stephen McKenna. where the moulder and maker has upon the statue not integrally and with entire real. subdued the material and given the fonn he ization of intention but only insofar as it has sub. they are holders of trated all loveliness. be able also to come to understand the Father and Then again every prime cause must be. and so beauty less beautiful. then we must recog- been minutely wrought by the craftsman's hands nize that they give no bare reproduction of the into some statue of god or man. or if a human being.but in virtue of the sight. and purer degree since it is the seat and source of that beauty. It concerns itself. then. The beauty. produced by Nature and admitted to be naturally exists in a far higher state in the art. not a portrait but a Nature itself derives.! fOffi1 or idea introduced by the art. therefore. furthennore. to try to see and say. then.for so the crude Zeus must take if he chose to become manifest to block would be as pleasant . it is in the designer before ever it enters the stone. must itself be beautiful in a far higher mere Matter of beauty. where the artist was said to imitate material objects. desired. what comes over is a things alike. In the degree in which the beauty is the RepUblic. Kosmos may be revealed to contemplation. for it does not beautiful which the creations of art are charged come over integrally into the work. not ideas. all reasoning life and unreasoning beauty is not transferred. it is so much the weaker than that concentrated in unity. This fOffi1 is not in the material. indwelling in the art. every power grasped the beauty of the Authentic Intellect will less potent. Still the arts are not to be slighted on the Let us go to the realm of magnitudes: Suppose ground that they create by imitation of natural two blocks of stone lying side by side: one is objects. nothing to do with the blood or the menstrual Art.On the Intellectual Beauty I diffused by entering into matter. ideal fann rather than in matter or in the process of origin. and the artificer holds it 2 not by his equipment of eyes and hands but by his But let us leave the arts and consider those works participation in his art. and so the art exhibited in of the divine Intellect and of the Intellectual the material work derives from an art yet higher. which must nat- urally be more complete than any comeliness of IHere Plotinus distinguishes his position from Plato's in the external. within Transcendent of that Divine Being. for. to begin with. more powerful than its effect can be: the us. beauty and add where nature is lacking. a Grace or a thing seen but go back to the Ideas from which Muse. that original with imitating. Now what is the beauty here?2 It has dued the resistance of the material. quite untouched by art. Thus Now it must be seen that the stone thus Phidias wrought the Zeus upon no model among brought under the artist's hand to the beauty of things of sense but by apprehending what form fornl is beautiful not as stone . for ourselves and as musical does not derive from an unmusical far as such matters may be told. as it were the produce. and.

or of ing only at the inner comeliness. diate presence sets the soul reflecting upon the it affects us by entry. In the same way we But that the thing we are pursuing is some. the made thing and the Idea thus impressed upon Matter are beautiful. purified. the veritable. no doubt. hideous. By should its product be the one rather than the what image thus. if it be we are in the case of one who sees his own impure .the Idea primal. perceived whenever makes them so? Intellect. which may be battle-sought. Thus there is in the Nature-Principle itself an If material extension were in itself the ground Ideal archetype of the beauty that is found in of beauty. never represent gold by some portion of gold- understanding that it is the inner which stirs us. could not be beautiful: but beauty still more beautiful archetype in Soul. and thus is not even to be called a taneously possessed of the magnitude which. for you will be realm but communicated to the produced from questing it through the ugly and impure. operating within them (the divine sun and stars) 112 PLOTINUS . except in the sense that we knowing nothing of it. For assuredly all the gods are august and beau- briefly in soul or mind. In the proficient soul this is whether in a large object or a small. learn in this matter from the purified Intellect in thing different and that the beauty is not in the ourselves or. sonal. then the creating principle. there can be no we. the out extension. in itself alone. then. you. if you are still unmoved and cannot or of any of these gods manifest to sight. then. in conduct and custom. if you are conscious of beauty ations? Now we can surely not believe that. why taking intellectual quality from outside itself. representation of it. or of all those women like in love.insisting at the same time that this is reflection but not realizing whence it comes goes not the total thing gold. to which Soul serves as Matter. source of cannot be made to depend upon magnitude since. remember. neutral. of that archetype again. but merely the particular in pursuit of it. or of Aphrodite herself. run after the outer. must be. Whence shone fOlih the beauty of Helen. and especially Intellect you look to the wisdom in a man and delight in it. everyone. is the Intellectual-Principle. itself. undisciplined in discernment of the inward. A further indication is that as long as the greater light which is beauty primally. being with. it is communicated from the arts to their cre. can we represent it? We have other? The Nature. its imme- object remains outside us we know nothing of it. gold of a particular parcel. the truly per- any human being that has been perfect in beauty. something of that state to seek the greater vision. simul. if you like. which creates things so nowhere to go but to what is less. that is. within the producer just as in works of art. firmly a unity . yet the Idea not so alloyed but resting still with the creator . And what that the greater beauty lies. very first Reason-Principle. but only as an Idea can it quality of this prior. Reason-Principle but is the creative source of the however. either actually or mentally. Then again the principle producing the beauty This prior. Only from itself lovely must be itself of a far earlier beauty. or acknowledge beauty under such conditions. 3 immaterial. that in Nature. material forms and.is not Beauty. which is the Beauty ration upon the presented form. then unseen but carrying what would be beauty if we looking to your own inner being you will find no saw? beauty to delight you and it will be futile in that In all these is it not the Idea. we take in not as mass but by an elabo. the one Idea brighter and of more advanced loveliness: adorn- equally moves and forms the mind by its inherent ing the soul and bringing to it a light from that power. while within. And it is precisely here tiful in a beauty beyond our speech. is in matters of study. and is present nowhere but remains take an extended mass: we are. can we take an image of it. neutral or beautiful: ugly. from the gods and the concrete object is manifest from the beauty there glory of the Intellect in them. not wasting attention on the face. and archetype which has no enter through the eyes which are not of scope to such entries. abiding and not fluctuant since not it could not produce the opposite. we This is why such matters are not spoken of to held. ugly. but passing all appearance by and catch- liness to Aphrodite.

earth is heaven. see require). ON THE INTELLECTUAL BEAUTY II3 . is never a burden. and know in virtue of their omnipresence to it. and as gods its essential self. The myth of Lynceus seeing into the very deeps of the earth tells us of those eyes in the divine. unborrowed. "Here" or "our realm" is the with it. It is not through the loveliness of beauty since it is not merely resident (as an their corporeal forms: even those that have body attribute or addition) in some beautiful object. it is attended by the very folly: in the immunity of Intellect unmoving and ground from which it starts: there is no distin- pure. not a wisdom Movement There is pure (as self-caused) for built up by reasonings but complete from the the moving principle is not a separate thing to beginning. and infinite tinue in the contemplation of an infinite self and the glory. despising neither men nor anything else that is part but. a wisdom primal. alike. its place is Intellect that they. light runs through light. The Gods belonging to that higher Heaven not also by the ground as the analogy would itself.3 and to these divine ending. lit. pure. traverse whole it is. but its very admixture of the unstable. thus. to the keen vision There. the sun. assessor to Zeus. While some Life. There. all that is not of process but of pose. too. by the Principles of light alone head. with the fullness and the attainment of pur- sustenance. suffering no lack which could set complicate it as it speeds. nothing dark. they are wise always. This and depth. and at the same leading to no distaste for that which produces it.and from afar they look. for there never was a void to be filled so beings verity is mother and nurse. No weariness overtakes this vision which 4 yet brings no such satiety as would call for its To "live at ease" is There. and all is all and each all. one Being there could be repulsive to another: tant. so that everywhere to see is to look the more. And each of absence of satisfaction means only a satisfaction them contains all within itself. as each moves. noble? That very life is wisdom. the small is of infinite objects is but to acquiesce in the bid- great. the heavens are ever in this meditation . all is cognizance not of the human but of their own Intellect. how then could one manner of being is dominant in each. existence and that. beautiful. all are there be weariness There where the living is most mirrored in every other. assessor to the divine Intellect 3Just as "There" is Plotinus's term for the transcendent as projected into manifestation simultaneously realm within and beyond matter. and every ding of their nature. this is the authentic knowing. they whose station is upon it and in it. and themselves in all: there any such incongruity within the divine that for all is transparent. taking guishing between the Being and the Place. but There each heaven. Repose is not troubled. and the Beauty is all essence. so to speak. as it is. In our realm all is part rising from part and For all There is heaven. Each of them is great. all-knowing.to visibility. nothing resis. since for them to con- there is all. and sea nothing can be more than partial. though of course this is really produced by the too. is all the stars and sun. and animal and plant and man. is greater. not So. it inquiring. Justice is world of matter and time. and. in the symbolic saying. into that further heaven by a lifting of the stars (as it were. No wisdom. Thus we might think that our visible of Intellect. are not gods by that beauty. all is the being is an eternal product of a whole and is at heavenly content of that heaven: and the Gods in once a whole and an individual manifesting as it. known for the there where all is of the heavenly order. is all the stars. all that country and all space in peace. the sense of sufficiency be induced: nor is authentic being they see. task prevents them? . thus. star. every being is lucid to every other in breadth and of course all There are unchangeable. They do not veer between wisdom and toward what is Above. the Principle and the ground on which it being and of all that lies within the contemplation stands. it is in virtue of Each There walks upon no alien soul. again. time sees all in every other. are gods. too. for there is no something added to the Being.what produces the light which reaches us from it. Those of them whose dwelling is in sky (the ground or place of the stars).

an wisdom. ing in the temple inscriptions a separate image for ity. we becomes an object of contemplation to contem. we must order. all is noble image. if we boast ourselves worthy of but There not as inscription but as authentic exis- the discussion. which sprang into being with it. false even for our sciences of the seuse-realm. it is that we have of existence not possessing wisdom are. It follows that all forms we have failed to understand. in which the Supreme goes forth. that it embraces all the real Beings. which Principle is in Nature. wonder rises how a generated world can be so we ask what that other source may be. as not in themselves possessing it. if we could think of this as the primal dom is a distinct image. we ask how Nature came to possess it. it is wisdom that gives those beings. as it seems to me. at that. engrav- not a wisdom built up of theorems but one total. and deal Beings of that sphere. since.and drew pictures instead. but the artist of words and sentences . This is probably our best starting tence.though in what sense. if Nature derived it from some other source.indicated the truth where. 5 6 All that comes to be. we need For one who knows must declare his wonder look no further: but if (as we assume) we are that this Wisdom. while not itself containing the Il4 PLOTINUS . and this is reasoning . contrary. not a wisdom consisting of manifold detail every separate item: thus they exhibited the mode coordinated into a unity but rather a unity work. Essentials. and has with the Intellectual-Principle) is Real Being. thought of know ledge as a mass of theorems and Beings in right of the wisdom which went to their an accumulation of propositions. in their No doubt the wisdom of the artist may be the effort toward philosophical statement. or the other supremely with the knowing in the Supreme at which Plato blessed There. seeks the causes by which things are such that the and. from this derivative nor a "stranger in something strange to wisdom in unity there appears. Later. then (found to be identical this. already less compact. ask whence: if from itself. so value to Real Being." But if we are told that. it is sufficient explanation of aside the writing forms that take in the detail the wisdom exhibited in the arts. For each manifestation of knowledge and wis- Now. we may We cannot therefore think that the divine leave our own sciences for the present. they left guide of the work. but. power of the wisdom There we may know from The true Wisdom. not an aggregate of discursive we have discovered a principle which is neither a reasoning and detailed willing.those characters that himself goes back. if. it is plators immeasurably blessed. such images as we it" . may conceive to lie within the soul of the wise - ine and declare. to that wisdom in represent sounds and convey the propositions of Nature which is embodied in himself. immediate unity. while this Reason. are not Real Beings. the wise of Egypt - some wisdom has made: everywhere a wisdom whether in precise knowledge or by a prompting presides at a making. and yet that it is itself Real Being is Wisdom. of nature . The ancients had this is mind when they point. so that all engendered the wisdom: if we learn that it did. declared the Ideas to be Beings. dwelling There. of being. on the excellent. the principle is self-sprung. work of nature or of craft. after all. The greatness and itself Wisdom. though that is forming. an image. (Perfect wisdom) for all the Principles of this referred to the Intellectual-Principle. yet Nature itself is its announces the original in an outward stage and source. ing out into detail. we need look no further. and made all and all follow it. are as it were visible make clear whether the Intellectual-Principle images projected from themselves. he leaves us to exam. an object in itself. then inevitably. Similarly. in another form it. need look to our apparatus of sci- glances where he speaks of "that knowledge ence: all of that realm (the very Beings them- which is not a stranger in something strange to selves). indeed. If of its origin in wisdom. and Being is Real in virtue that all is one and the essence There is wisdom. But in case this shoUld be questioned.

a further reason excellence. and the Idea with which we construct here were our veritable 7 Essence. unmingled but mingled here. complete in itself. exists. ceasing to be man . he tence and its nature come to it from beyond itself. despite all the clash of What I say may be considered in one chief things: the creation is not hindered on its way thing. spring from it and in accordance with it. it seems that if we ourselves were archetypes.the thing (be. me. Ideas. only. we cannot say that because this Such designing was not even possible. if we could but find it out. To tities. how was the way. in greater beauty There because There Term must be the All-Unity. whose was the Idea of an All. and its neces. it stands firm in virtue of being All. all being continuous within the realm Since there is a Source. he then set about the execution? ating principle. it can be nothing which it is to nothing that is not Idea as the archetype was. Beauty) without being lowest . and therefore in none so that it is hard to work down to crude Matter of its parts or members lacking in beauty. And possess partially or in which it utterly fails (and all is made silently. he has ceased to be the All.causes by which Being exists and takes such making but Being and Idea . thought it out in detail. restored to position as lying upon the earth. This excellence. and thence applied to all the particular en. ments and objects up to the slcy in due place and But . therefore things were so planned: could the plan for a universe come to one that had we can say only that because the All is what it is.there has suddenly appeared a sign.all this universe is Idea and there is wholly that thing.it is pos- order. why creation went without toil. before Thus nothing stood in the way of the Idea. omnipresent as an entirety. beauti- beneath all that sheathing of Idea. lessly effect its purpose: as man now stands. of that pri or . ON THE INTELLECTUAL BEAUTY IIS . especially when matters nothing for the moment: thus the entire this is the perfectly sufficient Source and identi- aggregate of existence springs from the divine cal with the Tenn: a Source which is Source and world. Indeed since ful thus beyond denial. in something else. From the beginning to end all is gripped by the Forms of the Intellectual Realm: Matter itself is 8 held by the Ideas of the elements and to these This then is Beauty primally: it is entire and Ideas are added other Ideas and others again. veritable Being. living beings with their appropriate forms as sible to give a reason why the earth is set in the we know them. premises. its and administers the Kosmos entire". looking to the cre- beforehand. not by sequence or plan but before One way.through are rightly told not to go seeking the causes the ministry of soul or of some phase of soul.to our immediate purpose . moreover. The Exemplar duced in Being's realm. persuasion. the All he is maker of the All. Certainly it cannot be any- Matter itself is. and so an All must come necessity is scarcely or not at all manifest to into being. remains: all things must exist either. never looked outward? Nor could he work on therefore there is a total of good. the causing prin- material gathered from elsewhere as our crafts.since there is demonstration. but. ciple. even now. an Idea . feet and hands are before all formal reasoning and not from any of the later order. no obstacle.the earth. search. to imagine that its maker first self: become man. their inner organs and their outer midst and why it is round and why the ecliptic limbs . for example.we read . since all of that order is later. and we an image. even now it dominates. then our creative power too would toil- Consider the universe: we are agreed that its exis. now. again. and all searching and reasoning. all the other ele. whether given forth directly or . does not produce in his work a true image of him- are we. using hands and tools. all reason. water and.and that having thus appointed every item runs precisely as it does."he soars aloft sary situation in the middle. in its degree. all the created must of reality . since nothing had part in the therefore it must entirely be Beauty entire). reached the conclusion men do. yet imparts them to the eutities pro. impelling a Source to produce. we might put it.

And may He corne bring- drawing on something well within our observa. nor Being voided of Beauty: exhibited upon a transparent globe. the less rr6 PLOTlNUS . then. what could be lovelier than the things we powers constellated within it. abandoned of Beauty. what other sphere Sllipped of magnitude and of spatial dif- could be? Its prior does not deign to be beautiful. power that we see them bnrning. to the tinction by state without interval: there is no ont- Beauty There. unspeakably. he has achieved: the intention is to make us feel where each is all. itself. and Timaells. 9 but in fact. admire the original upon which it was made. It is to indicate this that Plato. in the corning to be of all those. this is the one God who is all the It is not surprising if we fail to recognize what gods. distinct in the lovable beauty of the autotype. the more deeply it has drawn on this. where the nature is one? The in reality) some at rest. powerful to infinity: and so great is God from this world is. they destroy because they are themselves in a complete unity so that whatever comes into process of destruction. ferences. The power in that other world has merely on the one plane. If this principle were not beautiful. has suffered no diminishing. that which is the first to manifest itself . and of the powers but all one god in virtue of that one divine Divine Idea. make a mental picture of onr uni. is no sharing of parts from one to another. it exists to the degree in which it has 4The Demiurge is the creator of the world in Plato's taken some share in the beauty of Idea. be named to which He does not reach? scendently beautiful. and determined to bring the each of those divine wholes a power in fragment.He who is the one God and all the gods. yet there is deliberately made evident by the rest of the pas. for to admire a representation is to power of many facets. while each again is distinct. and from it image another. and they produce because view shall show as if it were the surface of the orb they belong to the realm of the produced. of the sun and of all the stars Being and Beauty of Being. in it something of the petty power of body. and object of vision to the intellect . a copy from That. a picture holding all the is Being. Keep. Beauty without with earth and sea and all living things as if Being could not be. yet all is to form. the tran.cannot but maker of the sphere whose image you now hold. some in motion. 40. and Beauty is loved because it resentation of a sphere. but that there is inbound against this world save only that it is not That. It is dis- it is to be traced. What place can And indeed if the divine did not exist. Being loses something of Bring this vision actually before your sight. over all. and slaving toward the production tinctly apart. it is through their failure in the true Let us. in a beauty beyond all Great. Being is desirable because it is iden- that there shall be in your mind the gleaming rep. How then can we debate which is the things of the universe moving or in repose or (as cause of the other. a work into still closer likeness with the Exemplar:" power totaling to the sum of the measurable seg- he makes us feel the magnificent beauty of the ments: the divine is one all-power. That the admiration of the ward form to set one here and another there and to Demiurge is to be referred to the Ideal Exemplar prevent any from being an entire identity. reaching out to Exemplar by telling us that the Beauty sprung infinity. as far as possible. ing His own Universe with all the Gods that dwell tion. and pray Him to enter. bringing immediately with it the vision. 4 that his very members are infinites. ing things away. the is passing within us: lovers. a of Beauty to make it possible. be lovely to see. Nor is sage: "He admired. blending into a unity. wear- verse: each member shall remain what it is. this. represents the Creator as approving the work in it . He and all have that admire beauty here. no doubt the powers of fire and other bodily sub- stances might themselves be thought very great. this very figment of Being needs some imposed image sphere before you. and those in general one. do not stay to reflect that one existence. as of course it must be. destroying. is this firmament of ours and all the thought. of life. More truly. and even to ensure its existence.Form taking care not merely to attenuate it: call on God. but it would be see? Certainly no reproach can rightly be brought greater still. for. tical with Beauty. dis. too. cast out your inborn sense of Matter. so its essence.

but to look again and the same presence is there. no including all from beginning to end and having such separation remaining. or rather all is essentially the beautiful has entered into it the There is light and beauty. also. through and through. the beauty is no mere bloom upon the surface. copied by them in their degree from the Xl divine virtue which. unfit to gaze All that one sees as a spectacle is still exterual. and sink into a perfect self-identity. s That Being appears before them from some though. for the most part. and floods those that have found their puts sense away behind him in dread of the sepa- way thither so that they too become beautiful. the two become one. the Beauty There. So. so that all gleams in its radi. see. so to speak. where the soil has taken a yellow glow will them. one sees longer look outside for his vision of the divine the fount and principle of Justice. upon that sun. but entire beauty upon all things. if he it will often happen that men climbing heights plans to see in separation. he radiance. for more intimately. they see all There in right of being beauty: now let him ignore that image. the caught by the direction of the will. cannot and their sovereign.possessed tent. but those lO drunken with this wine.it is for such of us.imperfect it is. they have no idea that unseen place and rising loftily over them pours its it is within but look toward it as to something light upon all things. lovely sprung. by those who have known sessed by that God. To those that do not see entire. borrowing color from the place under some image of the Divine Being and seek on which they move. advances first (in the Phaidros remain mere gazers: no longer is there a specta- myth) toward that vision. 6 that quality as found. the final object of all seeing. sometimes at least. as share his love and appropriate our part in This conversion brings gain: at the first stage. The color flowering on that 6Here Plotinus gives a very different account of inspiration 'This is part of the myth of the soul in Plato's Phaedms. is pure and remains very near to the God. another is filled being. filled with the nectar. among men. thus a man filled with a god . last Similarly anyone. himself lifted to a better too. than Plato in the Jon: the source of enthousiasm6s is within. all take something but not all by Apollo or by one of the Muses . the SOUls. thus rated life and becomes one in the Divine. in the belongs inherently to the Divine. the original of within. they are There entire. at once he forms a their existence There if only by that phase which multiple unity with the God silently present. it upholds some beings. within before his consciousness and at once he The gods see. themselves. he sets himself outside.need no the same vision always: intently gazing. each singly and all as one. it is but finding the strength to see divinity with the sight of Moral Wisdom. not outside the poet. but pos- attainment of all. covering all the expanse. for all There sheds retreating inward. and they see. although the oldest of the gods all their soul penetrated by this beauty. has but to bring that divine- already many splendid visions. the that of separation. the demigods and such souls as are of strength to cleareyed hold the vision within themselves. P·46. beyond them and see it is an object of vision ance. followed by gods and tor outside gazing on an outside spectacle. the immediate impression is alone taken into account. he becomes possessor of all. and able to see. lower are dazzled and turn away. though often too degree of his power and will. in that mode of separation but as we know our- Of those looking upon that Being and its con. of that universe and therefore though it is. still he incurred separation. precisely because the nature which other height we speak of is Beauty. of the Intellectual Realm is seen. sees an image of himself. a man is aware of self. those of them that have not should he turn back to the former duality. ON THE INTELLECTUAL BEAUTY II7 . This is why Zeus. he has This vision Zeus takes and . the trouble faIling the more heavily one must bring the vision within and see no longer on those most remote. selves. unable to see himself. The novice must hold himself constantly selves appear so.

as though sated with tbe Authentic- now.since the necessity of conveying our other. tbe seen. what does it give to Beauty.in the light of a clear conception. radiant with in what he has brought into being. tranquilly character of image it holds.only and yet fail to see it. seek a lordship too recent and too poor for report? his might. Still the manifested God cannot think tbat he And this identification amounts to a self. explains itself better. it is the And . that divine per- present.rejoiced himself forthwitb to the inner and. made him. sphere as long as the Intellectual endures. Ignoring this lower world. it is the natural thing. while the other lies in the nature of things must stand during the conditions are native and we take no notice. too. (Zeus. guarded by the through him another universe has arisen. illness is alien.he must give within himself in a painless labor and . it belongs to our truly representative and sometimes fail like a con- being. failing of its sequel but. The very contrary: to see tbe one has become manifest without. In its makes the rougher mark. ugly and evil impress us more violently tban This second Kosmos at every point copies the those of what is agreeable and yet leave less archetype: it has life and being in copy. Kronos lIS PLOTINUS . the object. but. and it could not be awareness. being our nature. or to tified with the object of our knowledge. from him divine as something external is to be outside of it. that existing.the Supreme has this too doubted. 13 The God fettered (as in the Kronos Myth) to an unchanging identity leaves the ordering of this uni- 12 verse to his son (to Zeus). has come forth in vain from tbe fatber.keeping all closely by Him. found it upon a decision taken by its maker at This is why in tbat other sphere. but health. as that place has pleasure He has in his radiance and in theirs. we are most completely aware Hence it is false to put an end to the visible of ourselves when we are most completely iden. The vision has been of God in travail of a in a deep conviction. the greatness of the Father and of the vision unless in the sense of identification with Brothers that remain within the Father's house. sovereign over the visible universe) the to become it is to be most truly in beauty: since youngest born. which has nothing to report since it has long as tbe Supreme is radiant there can be no seen nothing and never could in that order see any. for tbe one). tbe Intellectual-Principle. for knowing. for every image whose existence itself felt by its very incongrnity. we are expecting some impression making as is here involved: it fails to see that as on sense. beauti- fear of losing the self in the desire of a too wide ful as the image of beauty. tbat sees. and if meaning compels such terms . it takes the first petuity without which it would only at times be place. and has knowledge as the residue of the shock: sickness beauty as springing from that diviner world. Such entire existence of the archetype.into beautiful offspring. Of this offspring . when we are some given moment. it could not even credit its own existed forever and forever will exist. and. one cannot be in beauty beautiful those tbat have remained within . thing. existence. God engendering a universe what a sublimity he penetrates . whither he is going . lawful that Beauty and Being should fail of a It must be remembered that sensations of the beautiful image. be no longer the seer. as from some sight deals with the external. we will be told. all exists. The unbelieving element is sense. character to neglect his rule within tbe divine whether by tbe mode of separation or in identity: sphere. but most Still. proud of his the Divine Intellections (with which he is now children . we are That teaching shirks tbe penetration of such a aware of none. seen in either way. unnatural and thus makes struction of art.all beautiful. for it can never stand away and with bodily eyes apprehend itself as a visible object. deepest in that knowledge by intellection. for it could not be in his We have told how tbis vision is to be procured. knowing thus. a self-consciousness. we may gather. there can here be no image.

beginning from his son by looking to that original. the Absolute. Ouranos. 7Plotinus presents the traditional succession of the Greek is our beauty. but is less beautiful thau (Ouranos.(Intellectual-Principle) claims for his own father Soul also has beauty. what name can by the differentiation implied in the severance from we give to that other? If Soul is so lovely in its the very highest and. which generates the Nature- Principle. gods . on the other. Thus Soul. Principle. that is to say. The transcendent idea of Intellectual Beauty thus Do these considerations suffice to a clear mediates between the incomprehensible One and the fonns of understanding of the Intellectual Sphere or must beauty we can apprehend in matter. Thence only. taking increase of beauty that tends to the inferior.since he holds a midposition determined on the one side Aphrodite herself is so beautiful. But since that father is too lofty to be beauty. our self-knowledge.to use the more familiar term . and the All-Soul. as ranking beneath him. though upward-tending between them: and he counts all beautiful in nature. we make yet another attempt by another road? ON THE INTELLECTUAL BEAUTY II9 . Kronos. and Zeus . the All-Soul). in self-ignorance we are ugly. our ugliness is in going over to another order. Since then the All- (Zeus. by that which own right. as an allegory of the Thus beauty is of the Divine and comes philosophical relationship between the One. what must that the lower: he stands between a greater father and an power be from which the Soul takes the double inferior son. of what quality must that prior be? keeps him apart from the link between himself and And since its being is derived. the borrowed and the inherent? thought of under the name of Beauty. 7 to our own being. the second We ourselves possess beauty when we are true God remains the primally beautiful. the Intellectual. or One) with all the Intellect as being its image and therefore.

however. a rival party came to power and con- victed Dante in absentia of graft and corruption in office." During the Middle Ages. and alle- gory.." Except for the Vita Nuova. whom Dante mentions seldom and then only formally. whom Dante dubbed "Bea- trice. Under sentence of death if he returned. And in the thirteenth century. But so far as they signify what relates to eternal glory. Dante's letter to Can Grande is the most familiar exposition of medieval semiotic theory."Divina" was added by its readers." I304--o8). Dante spent the rest of his life abroad. In the sixth century.. Dante's literary life was spent wandering between Verona (where his patrons included Can Grande della Scala) and other intellectual centers such as Bologna and Paris. beside the radi- ance of another Florentine noblewoman. but have a long and distinguished his- tory. Dante Alighieri I265-1321 Dante Alighbi was born in Florence. where he learned "how salt is the bread of exile and how steep the stairs of another. He finally settled in Ravenna... the De lvlonarchia (1308). . including the Convivio ("The Banquet. his rhetoric tutor was Brunetto Latini.. Around 1285. and his father. His mother died when Dante was quite young. but as prefiguring events in the life of Christ. That signification whereby things signified by words have themselves also a signification is called the spiritual sense. etiology. Dante was well educated.. where he died in I321. the Hebrew bible was interpreted not only as the lit- eral history of the Israelites.to his 120 DANTE ALIGHIER1 ." the bringer of blessing. his life was devoted to public affairs: He fought in 1289 in the battle of Campaldino. most of Dante's works are the product of his exile. St.. spoke in the Florentine assembly. the his- torical. So far as the things of the Old Law signify the things of the New Law. the ideas are not original with Dante. analogy. Now this spiritual sense has a threefold divi- sion .. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica had codified this mode of interpreting scripture: That first signification whereby words signify things belongs to the first sense. and his masterpiece the Commedia (I306-14) . St.. remarried and produced a large second fam- ily... Bke Portinari. there is the allegorical sense. which was written in Florence in 1292. Dante's contacts with Beatrice (who married Simone dei Bardi) were undoubtedly few and platonic in the years before her death in 1290. is in applying these principles of symbolic meaning to something other than sacred scripture . by whom he had two sons and two daughters. if indeed it is an innovation.... there is the anagogical sense.. While Dante was away from Florence on a diplomatic mission in 1300. Although Dante experimented with verse in his twenties (under the influence of the poet Guido Cavalcanti). So far as the things done in Christ .. but she became his lifelong Muse and his gnide through Paradise in the Commedia. Augustine had claimed in Of the Value of Belief that the Old Testament was to be interpreted as "history. Dante married Gemma Donati. Dante's principal innovation. the son of Alighiero Alighieri of the lesser nobility. are signs of what we ought to do. Gemma's influence on his life pales. probably by the Franciscans. factional warfare broke out. there is the mora! sense. and became one of the six priors of Florence.

Dallle Studies. and the notion that all literature was potentially ambiguous . Haller. 19 2 9. Dallle in English Literaturefrom Chaucer to CGl}'. others such lows that their truth would depend upon the truth of the other. with something which is their correlative. As the Philosopher says in the second book that their being is dependent upon a relationship of the jlIetaphysics. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Aliegol}1 ill Dante's Commedia. Tack." Giomale dantesco 4 (1939): 3-5I. Translated and with a conunentary by Charles S. Singleton. Robertson) have suggested that this multivalent mode of reading was part of the freight of medieval literacy. it fol- have absolute being in themselves. W. Saley. New York: Columbia University Library. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. master and servant. Singleton. a poetical work written in the "vulgar" language of common speech. I984. 2 vols. as is son for this is that the truth concerning a thing. so it is with respect to truth"." its "double" Translated by Robert S. of all many other such things. And so. and that even apparently secular texts (like Chaucer's CClnterbw)1 Tales. and so with the other IAristotle. "L'epistola a Can Grande. Helen Flanders.' A Study of Style and Poetic TheOl}I. J. I954-58. that the mark of literature was ambiguity and multiplicity of interpretation . Selected Bibliography Alighieri. Dunbar. the case with father and son. Paget Jackson. 2 vols. 19 69. Metaphysics 2.] cases. Robert. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1909.CommediCl. 1978. Luigi. Princeton: Princeton University Press. the whole and the parts. LETTER TO CAN GRANDE DELLA SCALA 121 .! and the rea. Toynbee. and perfect image of the thing as it is. 1970-75. Danle's Paradiso and the Limitatiolls of iYlodem Criticism. 19 60 . or Boccaccio's DecClmeron) were automatically read in this manner. some are such that they depend for their being upon another thing. 69I) and William Empson in the middle of the twentieth century. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. L'ettel1lo piacer: Aesthetic Ideas in Dallte. Ginsberg. 1999· Hollander.indeed. "As a thing is with respect to with something else: they exist at the same time being. The Divine Comedy. From Letter to Can Grande della Scala 5. Dante. F.T [Tr. not knowing the "half. Symbolism ill Medieval Thought. is the double and half. Because such things things which have being. Some medievalists (the followers of D. which consists in the truth as its subject. Kirkpatrick. Charles S. could not be understood. John V. Dante and the English Romantics. New Haven: Yale University Press. Robin. Dallle's Aesthelics of Being. but certainly with the coming of the Renaissance. London: Methuen. Warren. Oxford: Clarendon Press.would not return until Northrop Frye (p. Whether this was actually the case is controversial. this mode of reading began to fade away. Pietrobono.

in the whole work. 2 have decided to preface it with some gory is derived from the Greek alleoll. were. the subject is man. aud title. The called polysemolls. understood in a simple sense. making it. must be known that comedy is derived from what is signified to us is the departure of the sons comos. There are six questions. digressive. its also be twofold. For alle- Comedy. a "goat song. or transumptive. and then what its subject is tions will be different for the part of the work I when understood allegorically. And although these which it is a part. foul as a goat is foul. then. according to the letter. of grace. Thus these first three this and about this. tive differing from all others. that is. in that tragedy is tranquil soul from the sorrow and misery of sin to the state and conducive to wonder at the beginning. as will be clear upon inspection. And the fo= is twofold: the form of the also about the offered part itself. Therefore. it is clear that the be asked at the beginning about any doctrinal subject about which these two senses play mnst work: what is its subject. ask the liable to the rewards or punishments of justice. if one should wish to present an us is the departure of the sanctified soul from introduction to a part of a work. is a certain genre of poetic narra- redemption through Christ. earning or becoming an introduction to the part. JPsalm 113:1-2 (114:1-2 in the King James version). "a song. then. Comedy of Dante Alighieri. "Here begins the Egypt. and its branch of phi. Comedy. The third. fictive. it is necessary to bondage to the corruption of this world into the present some conception of the whole work of freedom of eternal glory. the other three. descriptive. 6. its agent."3 Now if we look at the letter alone. And thns it should first be noted end. The fo= or manner of treat- what is signified by the letter. moral or anagogical. while there is another which is contained in into rhymed units. in order to make means in Latin alienlls ("belonging to another") the approach to the part easier and more com. which should 8. and it as well consists in definition. And in order to make this division. meaning "goat. its fo=. that is. "a village. Israel his but not in character. in whole work. For this reason I." and ada. The first division is that which just a single seuse in this work: it might rather be divides the whole work into three canticles. refutation. or diverSliS ("different"). last three questions not only about the whole but 9. who wish to mystical senses are called by various names." that is. The title of the work is. The first is called ment is poetic. it dominion. [Tr. as it 2His Divine Comedy. what is signified to but foul and conducive to horror at the end. treatise and the fo= of the treatment. what the subject of the work is when taken losophy. if at the anagogical. Judea was made his sanctuary. it can be applied to the examples. Let us. and literal. second is that which divides each canticle into For the first sense is that which is contained in the cantos. If on the other hand the work should be specifically asked in a discussion of the is taken allegorically. so to speak. the title of the book. "a rustic song. For the clarification of what I am going to of the treatise is threefold." so of Israel from Egypt during the time of Moses. they present something in the fo= of an introduction may all be called allegorical. following verses: "When Israel went out of 10. what is signified to us is our Comedy. having several senses. according to its three say. fo=. since they are all to the above-mentioned part of the whole different from the literal or historical. if at the moral sense. plete. if that a comedy is. is the state of the cases of its subject. while in souls after death. while the second is called allegorical. proof.l This is evident in Seneca's tragedies. a Florentine by birth ple. then. taken literally." at the allegory. then. for the movement of the whole work turns upon they will be the same. for which reason it is deli ved from trag as. The subject of the propose to give you than for the whole. it should be uuderstood that there is not kinds of divisions. which discussion of the whole work. the house of Jacob from a barbarous peo. then. The fornl 7. and the giving of manner of treatment clear. In three cases the answers to these ques. or catastrophe. that which divides the cantos letter." and from ada. For it differs from what is signified to us is the conversion of the tragedy in its matter. after which the way will be clear for exercise of his free will. on 122 DANTE ALIGHIERI ." To understand the title. This being established.

Dante's Comedy. in an sake of speculation. which is what Horace part could not have the first division as its form. but at the end. 12. for a practical purpose. without going into details. Now it can be explained in what manner in this part is moral philosophy. it remains to deal with the other matter. implies in the Art of Poetly where he allows since this part itself is [a product] of the first divi- comic writers occasionally to speak like the sion. elegy. stated that the end of the whole as of the part is to satire. where the answers will not be different for and conducive to horror. conducive to pleasure. And if we consider the manner of mentioned above. that is. and he is clearly so throughout. There are. at the beginning. The branch of philosophy which deter- time. through exercise of free will. that is. it is.. writers have the custom of saying in their saluta. But there is no purpose to discussing these at this 16. besides these. "a tragic beginning and part follows from the form ascribed to the whole. And for this reason some justice. "Here begins the third canticle of and in tragedy Telephus and Peleus often lament in prosaic speeches .. by way of greeting. SAristotle. for while the title of the whole book is. part is restricted to man's becoming eligible. introduces a situation of adversity. following that principle ject of the whole work. speaking. mines the procedure of the work as a whole and 11. Having settled these three questions. it can be briefly poetic narrative. 93-96. So from this it should be clear why the present where the answer was different for the part than work is called the Comedy. "Here begins the Comedy. is the state of souls after death. considered allegorically. earlier. in their manner of speaking. foul three. is he who has been welcome. inas- the part I have offered you may be assigned a sub. nicate. as is evident in the extent he has earned them. So even if some parts or pas- absolute.] See Horace. earning or book of the Metaphysics. This unstudied and low style. as could remove those living in this life from the state of also be gathered from Horace in his Art of Poetry. not for the literal level. but state of blessed souls after death." the title and angry Chremes rages in swelling tones.5 'Horace. tragic. in either the part or the whole. such as pastoral verse. in Hell. be multiple. and also the reverse of this: 13. p. of this part is. then the form in this part is twofold. then it is evident that the subject in this lar and temporal relations. since its speech IS. then. The title of the book also follows. that is. as well. then the subject sages are treated in the manner of speculative phi- of this part is the same state." 14. if we consider the for the whole. much as the whole and this part have been con- ject. Tragedy uses an ele. on the ceived for the sake of practical results. as was said Yet sometimes even comedy elevates its voice. The agent. in which even women commu. For. [Tf. iYfetaphysics 2.. that "practical men becoming liable to the rewards or punishments of sometimes speculate about things in their particu- justice.. the vated and sublime style.. a comic ending to you.. other genres of But. etc. which is called Paradise.the other hand. it is unstudied and low. and the hymn of thanksgiving. And if the sub. both immediate and ultimate. etc. misery and to lead them to the state of happiness. they differ For if the form of the whole treatise is threefold. LETTER TO CAN GRANDE DELLA SCALA 123 . An of Poetry. but restricted to the losophy. prosperous. And in the same manner the form of this tions. to but ends its matter in prosperity. for the rewards of Terence's comedies. while comedy uses an division into cantos and into rhymed units. not in a restricted sense. The end of the whole and of the part could is the vernacular. and the whole and in the part. which the Philosopher advances in the second is man.1. For if the subject of the whole work." And.'. or ethics. 86. this is not for the sake of the theory. in Paradise.

but must have known how to read Latin in order to participate in the fifteenth-century debate known as the Querelle de La Rose. much less a woman. rather . Tommaso's salary and perquisites were cut. "Your father. and other vernacular languages. the family's fortunes declined. after a long illness. Her works were translated into English. 1982).. The feminine opinion of your mother. however. Italian. for whom she wrote a biography of his father.apparently happily . a citizen of both scientific and medical accomplishments.'llown cases of historical figures raised and then thrown down by Fortune's Wheel. She tended to give her personal slant to conventional forms: Her poem on the mutability of fortune. During the quarrelsome regency at the time of the minority of Charles VI. in addition to giving well-h.. 124 CHRISTINE DE PISAN . however. a position he held until Charles's death in 1380. for example. Translated and with an introduction by Earl Jeffrey Richards (New York: Persea. was the major obstacle" (11. biography and history. notary to the King. She had to go to work.11. pre- sents her own life as a case in point. Jean duc de Berry. he died around 1385. Meanwhile. as few vernacular writers had done. but over her mother's protests. Estienne. fTom which the fol- lowing selection is taken. and. and she carefully supervised. did not believe that women were worth less by knowing sci- ence. Louis the dauphin. traveling with the court to Beauvais. working in most of the dominant prose and poetical genres of her day: lyric and narrative poetry. and Charles the Bold and Jean Sans Peur. who was a great scien- tist and philosopher.37-4).. who worked to keep you busy with spinning and silly girlishness . died during an epidemic in 1390. pen- itential psalms and proverbs. 1431 Christine de Pis an. Her patrons included King Charles VI of France. 'Christine de Pisano The Book of the Cit)' of Ladies. l This was owing to her father's encouragement. leaving Christine to deal with the responsibility of her mother and three children while Estienne's inheritance was tied up in legal disputes. Estienne de Castel. was born in Venice. the lChristine wrote exclusively in the French vernacular. by whom she had three children. as Christine put it in The City of Ladies (1405). Christine was married .2 In 1380. as well she produced a courtesy manual and even an essay on military strategy compiled from classical authors.. dukes of Burgundy. For more than two decades starting around 1393. he took great pleasure from seeing your inclination to learning.37-4. and the work she chose was literature. Christine was an exceptionally successful writer. literary criticism. including at least one son and one daughter who survived into adulthood. Christine was what today would be called a professional writer.to a rising young courtier from Picardy. and she was invited to the courts of London and Milan. Christine de Pisan 13 6S-ca . Christine had received a literary education at court that would have been unusual for a nobleman of the time. daughter of civil councillor Tommaso di Benvenuto da Pizzano. Tommaso became Court Astrologer to Charles V of France. Charles King of Navarre. one of the most remarkable literary women of the Middle Ages. Shortly after Christine's birth.

I know full well the matter would have been handled differently. The treatise is not merely a defense of women against the standard mascu- line accusations. because they own the pen and thus "can tell endless tales and keep the best parts for themselves" with impunity. J.. Christine found her vision of the ideal woman embodied in Joan of Arc. 3Prom E. led a licentious and frivolous existence.3 For Christine. against the humanist royal secretaries Gontier and Pierre Col and Jean de Montreuil. that women have been capable of them in the past and would be so more frequently were their opportunities less limited by restrictive social roles. Men get away with such misrepresentation. Isabella of Bavaria. but a reinscription of femininity suggesting that standard male virtues . rather than the moralists. "my answer is that women did not write these books .. If women had written these books. J. and it is sup- posed that Christine died at Poissy around 143 I. the Roman de fa Rose (or Romance of the Rose). and it may not be easy to understand what so disturbed Christine and Gerson. is an allegoridillove poem begun around 1225 by Guillaume de Lorris and completed and augmented around 1275 by Jean de Meun. Christine seems to have fallen silent around the time of the Burgundian massacres at Paris in 1418. As E. bravery. the only celebratory poem on Joan of Arc written in Joan's lifetime.. representing women as unchaste objects of desire. a literary debate that took place in the opening years of the fifteenth century. Enormously influential on Chaucer and his contemporaries. Louis de Poissy. in a moralistic attack on the lit- erary quality and effect of the Roman de fa Rose. time has been on the side of the Rose's defenders.. After this there is only silence. Not surprisingly. and she is thought to have secluded herself in her daughter's convent. The Book of the City of Ladies. By the end of her life." Christine finds the Rose shameful. which describes the ultimately successful quest of a lover for the mystical and fleshly Rose .including learning. the chan- cellor of the University of Paris. the Rose was also threatening because it reinforced the domina!}t misogyny of the Middle Ages. middle-class dames as well as noblewomen and queens.. Christine and Gerson connected the immorality of their day with the popUlarity of the Rose. but for the manners and morals it attributes to women. not merely for its sexual frankness. one of the masterworks of the Middle Ages. They know they stand wrongfully accused. But she emerged once more to write La Ditie de lehanne d'Arc (1429). 1982).. PP·3 -3 2 • ' CHRISTINE DE PISAN 12 5 . The Querelle de fa Rose. more explicitly feminist treatise. writ- ten as an antidote to Ovid's Remedia amoris and to Boccaccio's stories in De mulieribus elm'is. and magnanimity . Charles' queen. Richards's introduction to The Book of the City of Ladies (New York: Persea. leadership.illumination of her manuscripts. Richards puts it. Christine says. Christine sets forth representations of admirable women from the present as well as legendary times. "The French court was left to its own devices during the fre- quent spells of insanity which plagued Charles VI. In her later. whom she represented as a chaste but heroic girl whose courage and fortitude could lead France to secular and spiritual salvation. pitted Christine and her powerful ally Jean Gerson. As usual. Christine seems to view her society as spiritually adrift and to attribute this lack of standards in part to the popUlarity of attractive but immoral literature. provost of Lille. St.are not lim- ited to men at all.

Edith. and Charity Cannon Willard. keeper of the wicket gate of the garden in the Roman de la Rose? Not only is the garden to Translated by Joseph L. for all the effort and industry that designation for Jean de Montreuil. . Master support to the work.. New York: Persea. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. although your letter was not addressed Pisan. and in particular Meun. lover of knowledge. 1978. Christine de Pisan: A Bibliography. which. [Trs. honor. From La Querelle de la Rose To the very competent and wise person. F. l Secretary of the King our Lord and Provost authors. Christine de Pisano Oeuvres Poetiqlles. be condemned. ed." [Trs. La Querelle de la Rose: Letters and Documents. Christine de Pizan: Her Life and Works. and due respect to you. certain parts of the Roman de fa Rose. Selected Bibliography Altmann. I disagreed with Lord Provost of Lisle. McGrady. sage in your remarks and shared the opinion of the morals.J went into it. nevertheless I equate in learning . because it is kept by Lady Idleness. as I 2Montreuil's original treatise. in my judgment. Douglas. Christine de Therefore." Sub- Stance 2 (1972): 63-71. 3 vols. Your treatise was written. NJ: Rowman and Littlefield. Baird.. and John R. Joseph L. to me and did not require a reply. The Allegory of Female Authority: Christine de PilOn's Cite de Dames. New York: Routledge.one which could better be called goodness (for which I say thanks) to send me a plain idleness 3 than useful work.] 126 CHRISTINE DE PISAN . 2003. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 40. is mere trifling "idleness. error to give such lavish and unjustified praise to nine weakness. eds. Kane. 1989. It has pleased you out of your Meun's book . learned man to whom your letter was addressed. and expert in rhetoric. Deborab L. considered your letter and having understood it. within the limits of my ability. to divulge. 2 Having read and of LisIe. Chapel Hill: North Carolina Studies in Romance Languages and Literatures. Charity Cannon.. 1886. 1984. New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation. Barbara K." which was a frequent the entire romance. Rosalind.. the first document in the gather from your own words. Brown-Grant. Willard. "Reflections on the Role of Christine de Pisan as a Feminist Writer.for which things may your wish to say. Christine de Pizan: A Casebook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. has been lost. rather may it take into account my femi. Translated and with an introduction by Earl Jeffrey Richards. small treatise expressed in fine language and trne- seeming reasons. Yenal. a woman weak in understanding and inad. steeped in learning. The Order of the Rose: The Life and Ideas of Christine de Pizano Totowa. McLeod. and to approve it and its John. The Book of the City of Ladies. but also lCluistine writes "Jehan Johannes. Kelly. 1982. from me. Is this not a half- amused allusion to Lady Diseuse. and to maintain openly sagacity not hold in scorn the smallness of my that (saving your good grace) you are in grave reasons. Enid. to oppose critics of debate known as La Querelle de fa Rose. 1976. 1991. I965. Maureen. Quilligan. New York: Persea. esteemed Master. Maurice Roy. to give finn 3Christine's word here is oisiuete. Baird and John R. NJ: Scarecrow Press. 1999. Christine de Pizan and the Moral Defense of Women: Reading Beyond Genre. Reverence. Metuchen. Kane.

Luke XV. In truth. in fact. the name.1 Meretrix is ing that in the things God has made there is no Latin for prostitute. I had long desired to read it. albeit in the subtle language. I did read and consider and dishonorable conduct in words and deeds. in my despite the contrary praise of other people. such as sickness or other self very well indeed. and consequently no need to eschew "that a great thing is therein to be understood. and still cannot approve. as Holy me. cau be called idle. I cannot be silent about a subject that it seems to me) that he speaks too dishonorably so displeases me: that the function of Reason. but then Lucifer was reduced by his sin to judice. support Meun and say that such frankness is perfectly reasonable. I am not. It is true that Holy Scripture makes clear in many places that the subject matter did not please me in certain this is a great wrong. and. take heed of the finn conviction Scripture testifies. God created all things pure and clean coming mony. LA QUERELLE DE LA ROSE I27 . But why did I say before that Meun's work because the name meretrix is not particularly dis- could best be called idleness? Certainly. Thus should modesty labor and difficulty.You severely criticize his opponents and say. and his worthy and so subtle not seem presumption in original sin has remained with us. creates horror in those can display with a fine array of carefully polished who hear it.30. one should speak about such quite true that my small understanding finds great matters soberly and only when necessary. so ought we to do in his subject more subtly or more skillfully. although I the women sinners meretrix. I confess. a language which you indeed impression of the person. whereupon. He could not have treated private parts instinctively. using beautiful tenns and genuine need. it at length. in some parts." Yet may my dar. would not have been wrong to name them. or worse be respected when speaking publicly of things than idle. Further. even though it is thiug named. But I can may not be able to express myself elegantly. agree with the opinion (which you clearly oppose. To this I say and confess that truly "that what a third party says gives a better testi. he expresses him. by name. Rather. and accomplished with great basely said even in Latin. I affinn that over hot embers. I have not read it in the indeceut name should not be avoided by sub- every detail. certain particular cases. and commit great wrong against the noble virtue of once I had gained the knowledge to understand modesty. maintain. But I deed and in word. Just as our first parents hid their graceful leonine rhyme. it could have been more treated. Nevertheless. as in prettiness there. name. able. outside the range of decent parts and so I skipped over it as quickly as a cock conduct and good morals. some things have stituting the word "relics" for it. Saving because of the great and widespread fame of the your reverence and the author's. the name. words.3 1-32. I suggest to you remained in my memory which my judgment that the name does not make the thing dishonor- strongly condemned. which would make my very beautiful in itself. a mere assertion angels and gave him a very solenm and beautiful not justified by law can be re-argued without pre. I will not hesitate to express Further. because of the arguments dazzling. which by its nature bridles indecency subtle matters somewhat. to the best of my ability. Moreover. who names the secret members plainly in the chapter where Reason says to the Lover. rrrs." their names. learned nor schooled horrible ugliness. I say that you said romance. now.4 etc. but the thing. You. I can make this clear by a com- which has moved me to oppose some opinions parison: God made Lucifer beautiful above all the contained in your letter. in some parts of the Roman de fa Rose. but by ing to repudiate and find fault with an author so the pollution of sin man became impure. even whom he even calls the daughter of God. explain to you why he called them by that name. It is humble opinion. you point out that Jesus Christ calls my opinion bluntly in the vernacular. composed. therefore. Nevertheless. in fact. 'See Matthew XX1. Therefore. Yet about which Nature herself is ashamed. ugliness. should when he speaks through the character he calls be to propound such a dictum as the one I found Reason. insofar as evil follows from it." "has constructed and erected through from himself and that in the State of Innocence it great study and at great length. it seems honorable to utter considering the vileness of the to me that any trivial thing.

consider these to be beautiful and edifying tales with which condemnations. let us look a little tainly could not have rendered worse or abased further to see what profit there can possibly be in the condition of women more! Ha! When I his excessive. but this book so that they may learn from the Roman he concludes that everyone. it would follow that both are good. nor in this does he make what purpose or to what profit is it that the hear. unbecoming conduct. no matter attempt to excuse . deceive. obviously. I conduct is filled with all manner of perversity. fan- and this cannot be. or by this sickness! What good example or prepara. in the chapter about Jealousy. I show or convince me what profit there is in the dare say that Reason denied her heavenly father great argument full of vituperation that he calls a in that teaching. for God's sake. or tion for life could this be? And the wickedness come out of the evil life and been saved by such which is there recorded of women! Many people exhortation! Certainly (I dare say it. give them. He says truly the honorable life. sophistical words. much sinfulness? And by this it appears that he wishes to maintain Then. even with all the give for one to hear! and take among his characters. alike. clearly. and most untruthful remember the deceits. to be deceived than to ought to be left tacit and not named. Genius delivers? It contains too many dis- than the other. which can be cause of great sin and spoke through the mouth of Jeremiah! But what. and the criticism and denigration of women as exceed- conduct dissembled within marriage and outside ingly wicked creatures! He declares that their it. And again. for Genius so fully recommends and uS CHRISTINE DE PISAN . the hypocrisies. the Jealous Man does this as a man overcome by pas- works of Nature would have completely fallen sion. for a work which is Further. which one can find in this book . as a daughters! If you really want to introduce them to comparison.certainly. Dear Lord! What horrible stuff! What the maintenance of human generation to invent an affront to honor! What reprehensible teachings and say exciting and inflaming words and terms recorded in the chapter about the Old Woman! In in order to stimulate man to continue that work. tical exhortations filled with ugliness and things for the life of me I can't understand to what pur- horrible to recall? Ha. the "sermon" is superfluous. I fail to see how he fulfills the teaching of into disuse long since. it is better to deceive than to recommended them! But. any exception oflaw. If it were not so. fail. which are common enough in can come of it! I believe that many have left the the mouths of the unfortunate people impassioned world because of it and entered religion. let us consider the subject matter or of the very order of Nature cannot." And truly.him by saying that it is the whom it offends). that they will all be saved. if he had not so greatly Genius. he doctrine. If you hold one of these two to be better says. impetuous. For in the said sermon he adduces. my God. which. and ers of this book have their ears assailed by so indeed says plainly. that the sin of lechery is nothing. men and women de fa Rose ways to distinguish Good from Evil. then it would be good for hensible. my God. he cannot fully Further. should know how to pelform and exercise what am I saying! . I say. Yet the author does more. he cer. enough that the virtuous will go to that place. you who have beautiful pose. rather a virtue. if I remember well. what great good can be observed there! What which is error and against the law of God. Ha! need to record the dishonorable things and the what seed and what doctrine! What great good shameful words. names.rather Evil from Good! To the functions of Nature. become hermits because of that holy message. God's name. For if you wish to tell me that the that he calls Genius the priest say! Surely. what great marvels does the character gorge himself. choice of words. I hold a contrary opinion: it is ning the flames of those secrets of Nature which far less evil."In the amorous war. honorable things. for He taught an utterly different sermon (as if to deride holy preaching). Master Jean de Meun. this never came from anywhere Jealous Man who speaks and that in truth Meun but a heart corrupted and abandoned to dissolu- does no more than God himself did when He tion and vice. who could be deceived. give them. Moreover. ever lying additions he may have made. paradise and its joys. what can one find there but sophis. as if he wished to say. which many people find repre.

without exception he man to keep his affairs to himself for the greatest accuses them all. As I have said previously on this bred.it in this matter (let no one take says women know how to commit so maliciously offense). [TfS. do not give it to them if you do not the Bible and in other ancient histories. And if you say that they have made a fool such as Sarah. Here is a experience. And even in our own time we have seen in France many virtuous women. he revealed himself to a friend whom he trusted. any honorable or virtuous woman. and to render the husbands who hear so men to approach them at all. What do have borne their concerns and their secrets and they do? In what ways do they deceive you? their passions calmly and discreetly. reason. since the con- accusations or complaints of such horrible evil. pursue. despite the If they ask you for money from your purse. he ought not to command riage. Nevertheless. it men to flee them. pursue what he wishes them to flee. although I simply do not know where women in general. evilly intended: to order generalities." where are those countries and king. trary is so obvious. that all women were of that accused. flee. For he who fears a much babbling and extravagance (if they believe problem ought to eschew it. he thought. better nobody sees it. than ever did from his person. not long ago I heard tell of a man who or judge them without justification. hanged. more honorable. that life (as lechers commonly do).5 Then he declares that for he could know nothing of the married state by men should pursue them unremittingly. for he who does so is rich above all men.. and from whom subject in my work called "L'Epistre au Dieu more great good has come forth into the world d' Amours. the ones was accused and hanged on account of having accused ought not to be blamed for it. And it is for this rea. And if he had the accusations of their women? I think you will blamed only the dishonorable ones and counseled find them few and far between. the author took it upon himself to accuse Indeed. besides. which fact that their husbands were crude and brutish they cannot get from you by a ruse or cannot take toward them. great ladies and Scr. IT1. But should be blamed who carried his argument to the I think that few have come before a judge with point where it was simply not true. beyond all the bounds of security.exhorts men to bed them and to perform the act to woo. don't let them. Similarly. For if he and all his henchmen such disloyalties. And this Genius. saying. "Flee. let us speak of duct and virtuous morals. makes great speaks superficially and wrongly about married attacks on women. Rather. God. women wish to. or rape you? It would be good to which he praises so highly. or they kindly tell me how many men they have seen feigned to know. and therefore he spoke of it only in glaring contradiction. or regular con- useless words. But since save to impede the good and peace that is in mar- women are so perverse. But process. and to pose this can serve or what good can come of it. Vergil. what exhortation! How secret to a woman. know how they deceive you. and publicly rebuked by kind. for he had known no others. And. I am constrained to believe the devil he found so much nonsense and so many that he never had acquaintance of. It is indeed secret when be more virtuous women. who is so eager to know it (as profitable it is! But truly since he blamed all he records). killed. which are there laid out by a long tact with. in fact. I do not understand what good pur- men to flee what he wishes them to pursue. and there will and underhandedly. and even more learned. and many who have the great crimes that one can attribute to even the effected a reconciliation with their husbands and worst and most deceitful of women. it would have been a good and would be good and praiseworthy counsel for a just teaching. But if. But no.92-93. One finds proof enough of this in themselves. Judith. from the deadly serpent. and many of you. flee women who deceive their husbands in this way. Do they go into your house others. Bllcolica. But I pray all those who truly hold this by having resort to many dissolute women of evil teaching authentic and put so much faith in it.] others of our ladies of France: the holy devout LA QUERELLE DE LA ROSE 12 9 . there have been. Rebecca. he more than any of the characters. there are.. there doms which have been ruined by the great evils of have been women well schooled in worldly con- women? Ifit be not presumptuous. such things) suspicious and less affectionate son that he so strongly forbids a man to tell his toward their wives. and such wickedness which he had sworn . Esther.

I say that it does not merit such 6Christine refers here. out of decent lovers and to every other virtuous person. wife of Monsieur Pierre de eraon. my motive is simply to uphold the great deal more could be said. and his priest Genius can say. pray let us consider what great. I can say. the general or personal" good (even though we 130 CHRISTINE DE PISAN . and of higher sentiment. and restrain well-bred folk from even thinking about. contributing nothing to teenth centuries. Queen Blanche. although a For." Thus may be seen and noted what can be had applied himselfto it. for as have been able to produce so much better a work. and to all your allies who praise this work so highly aud make so much of it that you dare and presume to miuimize almost all other works by comparison . I answer Sir. for the more authentic the good the would have been horrified to read or hear it in more faith one puts in the evil. but there is no novelty in this Ferte. for by one's actions gener- confounded by shame and abomination at hearing ally the inclinations are known. who did that he tells us. and said better. But it seems so very manifest to me woman that I can speak better in this matter than that a great labor was expended on it which pro- one who has not had the experience. would have been more pleasing to handsome and dear Sir. But who errors by intermingling good and evil and by cov- could praise a work which can be neither read nor ering the errors over wi th truth and virtue. Notwithstanding. done more pleasantly. And certainly it could have been much that was praiseworthy. I do pure truth. the Duchess of you that in this work he tells us nothing new. described. I say this in conclusion to you. But he would the aim of the aforementioned treatise is. to consider this book useful am denying. expressed. is great loss. chastity. and many others . "Flee. in decent places. the Does one not know how men normally behave Duchess of Anjou. to the thinly veiled praise (saving your good grace) and that you do description of the sexual act which concludes the Roman de fa Rose. I do not condemn the Roman de la Rose entirely. great carnality with which he was filled caused honorable that I dare say that nobody who loves him to abandon himself to desire rather than to virtue and honor will hear it without being totally the good of his soul. daughter of the King of France. according to my small capacity truth is completely contrary to those things I and weak judgment. it. be constrained to cover their blushing faces? flee the malice concealed in the shadow of good- And if you wish to excuse him by saying that ness and virtue. if he cluded. like Madame de la account of the fable. since I know by experience that the not know how. means of more courteous terms. "B y the intent a case is con. the of worthy women. that perhaps the ful conclusion. I dare say that even the goliards 7 greater peril. And it is precisely because I am a in any way. Orleans. and wisdom. and before people whom many learned men have sometimes sown great they would have considered virtuous. without being more prolix." by means of a pretty novelty it pleases him to put Therefore. "Flee. a method which And do not believe or let anyone else think. that I have written this defense. But concedes that Master Jean de Meun was a very above all these things. and that he did not do so profitable in that excessively horrible and shame. of course. great beauty. more profitable. although my judgment speaks only by conjecture and by chance. besides many others. but therein lies the Yet. and eloquent clerk. Thus.] great wrong to the more deserving works. learned. feminine bias. since he duced nothing of value. who is now called Queen of with women? If he had told us something about Sicily. further. its style is poetically pleasing. able fictions what modesty and reason should for it does indeed contain some good things. who would surely. assuredly.Queen Jeanne.all of whom had such bears or lions or birds or other strange creatures. far more agreeably and by whom I pass over for lack of time. dear the purpose of love through such figures. 6 I call it shameful and so very dis. on hearing evil serpent hidden in the grass". merely because I am a woman. And tn this wa:J public. the proverb says. Thus if quoted at the table of queens. ITrs. and distorted in dishonor. work without usefulness. And this would have been matter for laughing on also women of lesser rank. flee woman. I suppose. honor. however. of princesses. For a 'The goliards were satiric poets of the thirteenth and four.

let us look to their been able to do.s If by God's grace it a mirror of good living and. when the doctor per- tioned things and numerous others we have mits him to drink. the fruit of great work Aristotle.books written by certain the comparison contains only its first term and is not com- philosophers and by teachers of our faith. perhaps you would know well that you will excuse it by replying to wish that you had never seen it. Augustine. which is naturally inclined to evil. Certainly. a public defamer. arro- to eschew the evil. a woman. Paul.then you would be of suspicion and misbelieving.and may God grant it the way to danmation. moral life. St. although you call now it will do him no harm. and purged by the prick of your grace) I call it an exhortation to vice.] LA QUERELLE DE LA ROSE . But I ferent judgment of the Rose. when he alone.iv. an author. contrition which reveals the secrets of conscience fort to dissolute life. Do you wish to speak of all take to defame and blame without exception an the good which can be found in this book? entire sex. So much suffices. in the hope that it will work.concede it to be delightful. Amores. for gance. a doctrine full of deception. They are Romance. Ovid. has dared to under- then walk straighter. the cause to you and to all others . freed from the stain and pollution of the wise. For these testify and teach former times the triumphant Romans would not how to pursue virtue and flee vice more clearly attribute praise or honor to anything if it was not and plainly than Master Jean de Meun has ever to the utility of the Republic. and condenms self-will. closer to the truth. But such teachings are not usually example to see whether we can crown this heard or remembered by fleshly men. and to diminish the stature of his that it limps on one foot. an example of good social conduct and of conscience. the shame of many more receptive to truth and thus would make a dif- people. Seneca. or presumption. I consider it more fitting to bury it in for the lust for drinking leads him to believe that fire than to crown it with laurel. Cf. and possibly the occasion of heresy. touched on. But having considered the aforemen. [Tfs. and oth- and labor). far more virtuous things. And as in ers. But to the contrary (saving sin or any sinful intent. a com. for men of all you were restored to the light and purity of a clear classes. does so gladly and excessively. eloquently expressed. like the thirsty invalid who. me that therein he enjoins man to do the good but And may it not be imputed to me as folly. But my reasoning is better. and more profitable to the decorous and moral life can be found in 8The passage is somewhat difficult to translate. St. should I can show that there is no point in reminding dare to reproach and call into question so subtle human nature. because many other books . like pletely worked out. that I. as you well know. III.IS. a man. in no way deserves praise.

with the slow Senecan amble of Sidney's sentences. Sidney appeals to mimesis not because it is a crucial prin- ciple. it was a best-seller for over two centuries and was crucial to the development of the English novel. whose Republic provides most of the ammunition the Puritan divine expended against poetry.. that is to say. a moralistic attack on poetry written by Puritan minister Stephen Gosson and dedicated (without leave) to Sidney himself. They were formed before muscularity became the mainstay of English prose. fictions based on human action. But notwithstanding his nobility of birth and spirit. his uncle Robert Dudley.Sidney addressed himself less to Gosson than to Plato. he established himself at Elizabeth's court. for Sidney con- cludes with the Horatian phrase " . and a glowing peroration. a central argu- mentative section. In constructing his apologia .. where he joined the faction led by one of the Queen's favorites. After attending Shrewsbury School and Christ Church College at Oxford." is the pivotal phrase.) The occasion of An Apology for Poet7Y was to refute The Schoole of Abuse (1579)." Like many Renaissance theorists. but in order to set limits to his subject. to teach and delight. Sidney ended his short life as military governor in Flanders during the Dutch wars. He wants to differentiate that class of poetry he will discuss. and making a grand tour of the continent. Earl of Leicester. Sidney'S Apology is structured according to the principles of medieval rhetoric like a good legal brief. scholar. 13 2 SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . established a tradition for the English pastoral. which he calls "an art of imitation. His Arcadia (1593).. The con- temporary reader must have patience. a deed that made him a model of the chivalric ideal. But the end. Sidney opens the systematic section of the Apology with a definition of poetry." The definition suggests an affinity with Aristotle that is more apparent than real. was the first significant piece ofliterary criticism in the English language. and poet. a romance alternating prose with poetry.. Sidney's unique talents and personality would have procured him success and fame.. written in 1583 and published in 1595. for so Aristotle termeth it in his word mimesis. Philip Sidney was the pattern of the English Renaissance gentleman. And his Apology for Poetry. (The essay is also known as The Defence of Poetly. a representing. a set of answers to objections. however. soldier. counterfeiting. from hymns and psalms on the one hand and philosophy or history or natural science written in verse on the other. The distinction is needed: The two latter types of poetry were not under attack as were fictions. His heroic death at the battle of Zutphen was the stuff oflegend: Sidney is said to have courteously declined water and medical attention in favor of a lowlier fellow soldier. The reader who gets lost will be glad of another characteristic of Renaissance prose: Sidney signals all his transitions with a rapid and elegant sum- mary of the preceding section. with an introduction that draws the reader into the case while offering reassurance of the ethical rightness of the speaker. or figuring forth . with this end.Greek for a legal defense . "to teach and delight. the title of a slightly earlier version. Sir Philip Sidney 1554-1586 As a skilled courtier.

whether it be better to have it set down as it shonld be.. Only poetry always provides poetic jus- tice to move us to virtuous action.the art Sidney begins his Apology by mentioning .. ("But if the question be·. sub- stituting one more consistent with his basic Platonism between the ideal and the real. The arts are judged by their distance from that architectonic goal: the closer. with the end of well doing and not of well knowing only. Which of these arts will best serve to make men better? Once the question is so phrased.. that is to say. that "poetry is philosophoteron and spoudaioteron.. Sidney's aesthetic principle.· he subtly alters and distorts his meaning. with the universal consideration. It is only against the other major sublunary disciplines -law.. For law at best keeps us from evil: Its function is not to make us good. and the history with kathekaston. history. move us to go on read- iug it. The first. then certainly is more doctrinable [instructive] the feigned Cyrus in Xenophon than the true Cyrus in Justin . but these constitute an abuse of the art. Like Plato also. " The quotation is accurate as far as it goes. Because of this. Sidney loses track of the distinction between the universal and the particular. Sidney concedes. although it teaches us what virtue is. The third objection. Sidney runs through Gosson's four major objections to poetry in The Schoole oj Abuse. or at least not injurious. but within the same paragraph. as the statements of the historian or the scientist might. that there are more fruitful arts than poetry. and with this no merely earthly art. for Sidney it delights in order to teach.. which stands . or as it was." Horsemanship . He admits that immoral poetry and fictions exist. just as the soldier's art serves the statesman's. like Plato's. his main argument has already disposed of. in the knowledge of a man's self." Sidney turns on its head. ") The central argument in Sidney is based on poetry's "works and parts"- Elizabethan English for its effects and genres. Sidney's world. History occa- sionally teaches sound moral lessons . because poesy dealeth with katholOll. Ethical philosophy will help us with the moral distinctions. that is to say. the higher. is Horatian. and philosophy . for instance. by the Greeks called architectonike. while his metaphysics owes much to Plato..is no end in itself but serves the art of the soldier. Poetry does not merely teach and delight. will not move us to virtuous action. the ultimate goal is right action.. it is more philosophical and more studiously serious than history. whenever he quotes and glosses Aristotle. including poetry. the particu- lar.. The second is an objection to fiction in general: that poets by the very nature of their trade must be liars. in the ethic and politic consideration. Chapter 9. On. page I43.. fictions are not asserted or received as verifiable truth and therefore can never deceive. Sidney argues for the poets and against the claims of history by quoting Poetics. must be the highest of the sciences.that Sidney pits the poets. can compete. he reviews the major genres of poetry to show that they are all instructive. "the mistress- knowledge. but philosophy. and by the pleasure it gives. then. poetry excels. that "poetry abuseth man's wit.. is structured hierarchically and holistically.yet just as often its examples are immoral: how the evil triumphed or the virtuous were slain. Here Sidney claims benefit of poetic license: that "the poet nothing affirmeth". .. and philosophy. That done. Thus divinity. SIR PHILIP SIDNEY 133 . history. he sees the sciences and arts all directed to a single end. After he has shown the superiority of poetry to law.

The fonrth. poetry is portrayed as engaged in a contest to prove its excellence and virtue against rival sciences like philosophy and history. but to be poets. 'For example. by the reason of his sweet charming force. is a reflection of poetry's importance . "Sweet Poesy. J57). 216). not a reflection of its deepest natnre.such as the teaching of falsehoods about the nature of God. For many. 151). as mere con- ventions.its neglect of the three unities of time. What Sidney thought to be immutable laws of art came to be seen. causeth her mother poesy's honesty to be called in question" (p. mixing of comic scenes into tragedy. By the end of the essay. if its ends are perverted. In the early part of the Apology. noted that the word "poesy" itself switches gender in the course of the essay.will be debated nearly a cen- tury later in Dryden's An Essay of Dramatic Poesy (p. Applying the strict standards of Renaissance poetics to home-grown English verse and drama. useful in their day but no longer valid. seven times referred to as "he" in the earlier sections of the essay. though I yield that poesy may not only be abused.jnst as the improper use of the art of medicine will lead to illness and death. If these are the broad outlines ofthe Apology. must be gendered masculine. While Sidney also expresses shock at Plato's frank discussions of homoerotic love (in the Phaedrus and the Symposium). Sidney finds most of his fellow poets admirable for their natural genius but lamentably ignorant about the rules and regulations that Horatian aes- thetics had down the centuries evolved for literary art. 154).. place. in truth he wants Plato on his side. that the poets were banished from Plato's republic. and action. . as a philosopher." (p. the most interesting section of the Apology for PoetlY is Sidney'S digression on the arts in contemporary England. He thus assimilates the last objection to the previous one. Janet Strunk. Sidney and his strictures on the artist's need for study and practice may seem pedantic unless we remember what was always before the well-traveled Sidney'S eyes: how recently England had emerged from provincial barbarism into the sunlight of Elizabethan courtliness. and how much the English still needed to learn from the older cultures of Europe and the classical world. An undergraduate in one of my recent classes. In fact. which he considered to be in a bad way. it can do more hurt than any other army of words" (p.. "But I list not to defend poesy with the help of her underling historiography" (p. indecorous portrayal of violence on the stage . king of Sicily . "poesy" becomes a "she" for Sidney three times toward its end. 134 SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . that hath anciently had kings . was natnrally in competition with the poets. not only to favor poets. and with the aid of a compnter file of the essay we were able to confirm that. we often get sentences like this: "Nay truly. but that. l Is this abstract gender-bending one more aspect of the Elizabethan fascination with cross- dressing. the possible damage poetry may do. "[drama] like an unmannerly daughter showing a bad education. Several of Sidney's accusa- tions about the English theater .. and. this critical work repays close study as well. polluting gemes that ought to be kept pure. being abused. with which Sidney himself plays in the Arcadia? Or is it simply the argu- mentative context that dictates gender here? At the outset of the essay. like a participant in one of the formal Elizabethan tonrnaments. 154). and of our nearer times can present for her patrons a Robert. more and more. Sidney refutes with argnments ad hominem . not on Gosson's. and his most serions argument here is that Plato banished poetry not because it was evil in its nature but only to avoid its possible abuses .that Plato. 163) and laid to rest after another century in Johnson's "Preface to Shakespeare" (p.

Weiner.though. And he. triumphers both in camps and contemplations there which he thought most pre. Stump. Donald V. one that with great commendation had the praise of his faculty. McCoy. New York: Columbia University Press." Cambridge Quarterly 12. Richard C. But with none I remember mine ears were ceeded. 4 (1996): 327-36. Myrick. Sir Philip Sidney as a Literary Craftsman. or moved with our ourselves to learn horsemanship of John Pietro learnerlike admiration) he exercised his speech in Pugliano. 1978. who could not help bringing his talents and wit into everything he did. "Poets Only Deliver: Sidney's Conception of Mimesis. John C. J. The Shape of Things Known: Sidney's Apology in Its Philosophical Tradition. Renaissance Minds and Their Fictions: Cusanus. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. Mason. An Apology for Poetry When the right virtuous Edward Wotton and I at any time more loaden. A. "Sir Philip Sidney's Dilemma: On the Ethical Function of Narrative Art. the feminine reward of masculine valor. than when (either were at the Emperor's Court together. 1985. Travis. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1935. Ulreich. noblest estate of mankind. we gave angered with slow payment. Robinson. Berkeley: University of California Press. no. "The Meaning of Delight in Sidney'S Defense of Poesy. but sought to enrich our minds with the strong abiders. A History of Literal)' Criticism in the Renaissance. James A. 2-3 (1984): 79-173. Nay. E. Jacobson." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 54. Jr. and horsemen the according to the fertileness of the Italian wit. Sir Philip Sidney: Rebellion in Arcadia.. poesy has become not the contender but what is contended for. "Sidney's Concept of Tragedy in the Apology and the Arcadia. Such hidden metaphors remind us. courts. Devereux." Studies in Philology 79 (19 82 ): 78-99. if we needed such reminding. the prize for which England's writers strive against those of other nations. Selected Bibliography Curtright. Sir Philip Sidney and the Poetics of Protestantism. "An Introduction to Literary Criticism by Way of Sidney's Apologie for Po- etrie. to so unbelieved a point he pro- cious. 1972. He said they were the masters not only afford us the demonstration of his of war and ornaments of peace. 1912. did noblest of soldiers. as that no earthly thing bred such wonder AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY 135 . Sidney. 1979. Andrew D. Shakespeare. no. Spingam. H. He said soldiers were the the place of an esquire in his stable. Levao." Ben Jonson Journal 10 (2003): lOI-I5. Ronald. "Sidney's Defense of Poetry: Ethos and the Ideas. Kenneth Orne. Cambridge: Harvard University Press." Studies in the Literm)' Imagination IS (1982): 85-97. Daniel. Forrest Glen." Studies in the Literary Imagination IS (1982): 67-84. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. speedy goers and practice. that the Apology was written by the Elizabethan age's foremost lyric poet.

who. may justly challenge viceable courtier without flattery. encouraged and delighted with which if I handle with more good will than good their excellent foregoing. to reasons. After whom. not men of the same skill. being poets. and Solon in mat- credit. as before I came to him. So in the Italian give you a nearer example of myself. bear with me. the delicacy of a walk. in the defense of that my unelected vocation. all three nothing else but of their meetings. with interlacing mere any writers were there before them. 2 So arnong the Romans were and weak arguments will not satisfy you. even Plato. with great exercise their delightful vein in those points of danger of civil war among the Muses. SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . I think he would have per. able to show me one book before Musaeus. who (I language the first that made it aspire to be a trea- know not by what mischance) in these my not old sure-house of science were the poets Dante. So in our English were of a poet. See p. But wild untamed wits to an admiration of knowl- thus much at least with his no few words he drove edge. so did need to bring some more available proofs. For that wise Solon was directly a poet learning inveigh against poetry may justly be it is manifest. wherein into the den. did philosophers used to the defacing of it. so have I sang their natural philosophy in verses. that they go very near to ungratefulness. and Petrarch. as I have just cause to itself that the philosophers of Greece durst not a make a pitiful defense of poor Poetry. and ernment was but a pedenteria l in comparison. Wherein. highest knowledge.indeed stony and parties. let any history be brought that can say quet. whosoever well consid- the first light-giver to ignorance. 92. nations and languages that are known. as Orpheus. \vhich from long time appear to the world but under the masks almost the highest estimation of learning is fallen of poets. And will the skin as it were and beauty depended most of they now play the hedgehog that. they. whose milk by little and little enabled them to though the inside and strength were philosophy. This did so notably show And yet I must say that. and Orpheus to make that seem gorgeous wherein ourselves are be listened to by beasts . others have followed. and Ennius. which was continued to seek to deface that which. the former is by no man barred of his deserved so did Tyrtaeus in war matters. the silly latter hath had even the names of ters of policy: or rather. having been the first Then would he add certain praises. to all them that professing the world. if they had been seton learned Greece in any of her manifold sciences be the rack. that with their birth kill their parents? . Empedocles. Nay.Let speak of such matters. Art of Poefly. since the scholar is to be beautify our mother tongue. that. Linus. besides his poetical describing the circumstances Homer. if I had not been a piece of a logician antiquity be venerable) but went before them. having written in verse the notable objected. truly. ereth shall find that in the body of his work. kind as in other arts.to a prince as to be a good horseman. the beast of to be called their fathers in learning. feed afterwards of tougher knowledges. by telling of that country that made pens deliverers of their what a peerless beast a horse was. and Hesiod. as well in the same pardoned that followeth the steps of his master. knowledge to their posterity. being received poetry: for all standeth upon dialogues. some other are named. for not only most beauty. since Pythagoras and Phocylides their moral counsels. as Amphion was said to move stones into me. which before them lay hid to And first. and first nurse. So Thales. that self-love is better than any gilding to with his poetry to build Thebes. the only ser. or rather the he feigneth many honest burgesses of Athens to vipers. and such in time they had this priority (although in itself more. if Pugliano'S strong affection beastly people. so. fable of the Atlantic Island. and Parmenides to be the laughingstock of children. that. drove out his host. if they were 2Sidney's notion of poetry's power derives from Horace's Ipedantry: useless book-learning. am provoked to say something unto you Gower and Chaucer. hath been And truly. courage. they would never have confessed them. causes to draw with their charming sweetness the suaded me to have wished myself a horse. in the noblest by Plato. I will Livius Andronicus. faithfulness. as the well ordering of a ban- poets. Skill of gov. years and idlest times having slipped into the title Boccaccio.

sound of things done. that excellent people bestow upon this heart- ticularities of battles. if they had not taken a great passport of book. yet are their poets held in a devout rever. is plain to be seen. truly. and Normans. as also it was bare.. long orations put in the ried into the admiration thereof. last. so as it is Hebricians agree. who make and sing songs. verse. to think that spirits were commanded by such ence. there's no sense in weap- "'Each of the nine books of Herodotus's History is titled ons . ravishing knowledge. In our neighbor his age performed it: which. which. some of whom did seek to being interpreted. But since the authors of most of our walk into Apollo's garden. But through all the conquests of Romans. and before them the And even historiographers (although their lips Greeks. Virgilianae 5 when.whereupon this word charms. then ruin all memory of learning from among them. Saxons.sufficient probability that. and others. Even among the most barbarous and simple verses . besides their lawgiving divines. yet have they their of cannina. it must be by wholly delivered in verses. since both the of their gods . both of their ancestors' deeds and praises altogether not without ground. the many par. they amens capio nec sat rationis in annis". 6"Insane.4 and both he and all the rest that fol. although it were a country Ireland. where truly learning goeth very very vain and godless superstition. the true remnant of the ancient Britons.. derived Indians where no writing is. even the name Psalms will speak for me. Danes. And areytos.so yet serveth it to show poets. and other myths appear in other dialogues.:eet delights of poetry. even to this day. although the rules be not yet 3The myth of Gyges' ring appears in Republic. "Anna Turkey. as random passage from the Aeneid. which they call the great reverence those wits were held in. which it is in the chanceable hitting upon any such verses certain they never pronounced. the governor of our island. both ancient and modern. if Oracles of Delphos and Sibylla's prophecies were ever learning come among them. which they called bards. that the holy David's Psalms are a divine poem? as there are good authorities to show the long If I do. they lighted upon any verse of his making: poetry. And so far were they car- or. in all full. with the name of one of the Muses. " Aeneid 2:314. let us a little stand upon their authorities. and say In Wales. Book II. So that. in the /011 and the Phaedrus. which they have some feeling of poetry. where whereof the histories of the emperors' lives are learning flourisheth not. I shall not do it without the testimony of time they had poets. the poet. as by his conjoined words vaticinium lowed him either stole or usurped of poetry their and vaticinari is manifest: so heavenly a title did passionate describing of passions. so great learned men. ened with the sv. For until and that high flying liberty of conceit proper to they find a pleasure in the exercises of the mind. which in all nations at this day. that they thought mouths of great kings and captains. great promises of much knowledge will little per. Whereupon grew the word of sortes first have entered into the gates of popular judg. AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY I37 . For that same exquis- having their hard dull wits softened and sharp.6 and in have no other writers but poets. Plato also occa. foreseer. by sudden opening Virgil's ments. and verity be written in but even so far as to see what names they have their foreheads) have been glad to borrow both given unto this now scorned skilL fashion and perchance weight of poets.. So Among the Romans a poet was called vates.a . as all learned yet do their poets. Herodotus entitled his history by the name of the which is as much as a diviner. which no man could affirm. SThe Virgilian lots: a method of fortune-telling using a sionally writes prose that modulates into dithyrambic. if that be denied me. In who in his childhood met with this verse.tales. I seize my weapons. that it is fully written in meter. as Gyges' ring. to show suade them that know not the fruits of knowledge. is nothing but "songs". the reasonableness of this word vates. great foretokens of their following fortunes were ther philosopher nor historiographer could at the placed. nei. 3 sciences were the Romans. did seem to have some divine force in it. 7 cometh . And may not I presume a little further. ite observing of number and measure in words. 7S ongs . which who not more notable in soon beginning than in long knoweth not to be flowers of poetry did never continuing. as of Albinus. or nine Muses. prophet.

" The the air: but so far substantially it worketh. and thou shalt not err. the other in imitation or fiction. I fear me I seem to profane that holy lifted up with the vigor of his own invention. so right a prince as which they so depend. but freely ranging only within the and how they deemed of it.and know There is no art delivered to mankind that hath whether she have brought forth so true a lover as not the works of nature for his principal object. but speaketh only of the rules of speech. It cometh of tapestry as divers poets have done . the his. the give artificial rules. Her world is him a maker: which name. as. that maker made him. Only the only cleared by faith? But truly now having poet. enly poesy. and "follow nature" we are wont to say by them that build castles in (saith he) "therein. Theagenes. her gifts. so without which they could not consist. only to make a Cyrus. him a "poet" which name hath. SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . and the to bestow a Cyrus upon the world. the poets only deliver a golden. brazen. so it seemeth in him partial allegation. which is "to make": wherein. and hills' leaping. Furies. wherein almost he showeth himself a though it be in the second and abstract notions. Chimeras.neither with this word poiein. being rightly applied. quite they that with quiet judgments will look a little anew. by that he seeth. not lawyer saith what men have determined. as nature might have done. gone through other languages. thereon else is the awaking his musical instruments. setteth down what order tial. Which philosopher standeth upon the natural virtues. helpful or hurtful unto it. his telling of the nature of a man's body. as the most excel. that idea is manifest. standeth in that idea or foreconceit of the work. But either better than nature bringeth forth. disdaining to be tied to any such subjection. named him. nature. which still are compassed often and free changing of persons. and therefore be counted supernatural. so constant a friend as Pylades. and on valiant a man as Orlando. lastly and principally. fruitful trees. how high and incom. nor whatsoever else may make the too Englishmen have met with the Greeks in calling much loved earth more lovely. conceived. as vices. her uttermost cunning is employed . such. shall find the end and working of it Heroes. Nature never set forth the earth in so rich lent. yet doth he ing beauty to be seen by the eyes of the mind. for any nature hath taken therein. as it were. The Greeks called zodiac of his own wit. considering what in his prophecy. of what nature will have set as Virgil's Aeneas. The natural philoso. Neither let this be jestingly forth. indeed build upon the depth of nature. deserveth not to be and such like: so as he goeth hand in hand with scourged out of the church of God. which is among us grow in effect another nature.for whom as marking the scope of other sciences than by my the other things are.fully found. forms such as never were in nature. as they become actors and Xenophon's Cyrus. if they will learn aright why and how 8Personifications. as the deeper into it. But let parable a title it is. I had rather were known by those things alone. and go to man . So do the geometrician understanding knoweth the skill of the artificer and arithmetician in their diverse sorts of quanti. by delivering them forth in pher thereon hath his name. and passions of man. we flowers. Cyclopes. proposed matter. delivering forth also is not wholly imaginative. So doth the astronomer look upon the stars. so excellent a man every way players. but a heav. So doth the musician in times tell you which and not in the work itself. ties. The physician weigheth the see God coming in his majesty. which not. in making things thrown down to so ridiculous an estimation. which had been but a par- torian what men have done. which is merely poetical. The grammarian ticular excellency. And the metaphysic. pleasant rivers. or. Demigods. his notable within the circle of a question according to the prosopopeias. as it were. passionate lover of that unspeakable and everlast. let us see how the Greeks named it. and the nature of things beasts' joyfulness. applying it to poetry. not enclosed within the narrow warrant of But now. his handling rhetorician and logician. to make many Cyruses. And that the poet hath by nature agree. doth name. because the works of the one be essen- and. sweet-smelling I know not whether by luck or wisdom. For what nature will soonest prove and persuade. and the moral such excellency as he hath imagined them.8 when he maketh you.

when she punished in mendation. which will speak that hath the Holy Ghost in due holy without delight they would fly as from a stranger.to speak metaphorically. and I know is used with the fruit of heroic. and the writer of understandings. which who bringeth things forth far surpassing her doings. Tremellius and Franciscus Junius do entitle the and imitate both to delight and teach. both Greeks and Romans. The chief. Amphion. yet want there not idle tongues to bark at this poesy must be used by whosoever will follow them. as Lucretius and which in nothing he showeth so much as in Virgil's Georgics. satiric. fittest for the eye to see. and tate the inconceivable excellencies of God. and go to the third. but rather give right honor tion of the never-leaving goodness. and certain others. Thus much (I hope) will be marians dispute. or figuring a virtue. that the truth may be more palpable: who counterfeit only such faces as are set before and so I hope. see p. reverence. and takes not the course of his own invention. beside other. and directed. but painteth the outward beauty of such say. with the foredescribed name of Job. tragic. both in but range. elegiac. were they that did imi. or shall be. of whom chiefly this question ariseth. noblest scope to which ever any learning was and many other. lamenting look of Lucretia. hath been. Neither let it be deemed too saucy a compari. when with the force of a divine breath he and Pontanus. as the first and most were David in his Psalms. as Tyrtaeus. since our erected wit knowledge. 59. that the Greeks with some probability poets. But these arguments will by few be understood. Such should be. so these are Songs. only reined with learned discretion. ing of him. the fault is in their judgments quite out of with no small argument to the incredulous of that taste. Now let us go to a more ordinary open. and over all the works of that second nature: Phocylides. in sorrowful pangs of son to balance the highest point of man's wit with their death-bringing sins. bestow that in colors upon you which is yet his very description. as the constant though shall not justly be barred from a principal com. of reason gave him the name above all names of betwixt whom and these second is such a kind of learning. Solomon in his Song of noble sort may justly be termed vates. and yet our wrapped within the fold of the proposed subject. some by the sorts of verses they liked best to write AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY 139 . and the more excellent. some of these being Poetics. who. for these indeed do merely make to imitate. to the heavenly Maker of that maker. into antiquity and excellency. difference as betwixt the meaner sort of painters. have been three several kinds. pastoral. I. James's counsel in singing psalms when they cial denominations. Homer in his Hymns. the divine consideration of what may be. and teach. lyric. a representing. 9 Aristotle. or historical. which. comic. or natural. But because this second sort is maketh us know what perfection is. and Proverbs. as Manilius poetry. a speaking pic. herself another's fault. whether they properly be poets or no let gram- and by fewer granted. to teach and delight. infected will keepeth us from reaching unto it. and to imitate ture. Poesy therefore is an art of imitation. but wit. termed according to the matter they deal with. These be subdivided into sundry more spe- St. who. and not in the sweet food of sweetly uttered first accursed fall of Adam. the learned Emanuel poets. and delight poetical part of the Scripture. set him beyond ters. having The second kind is of them that deal with mat- made man to his own likeness. IOHorace. 9 that is to never saw. 1O Of this borrow nothing of what is. These be they that. Ch. indeed right given me. as Lucan. Moses waited on in the excellentest languages and best and Deborah in their Hymns. they find the consola- the efficacy of nature. with this end. and Cato. when. in his Ecclesiastes. philosophical: either moral. The most notable be the are merry. for so Wherein he painteth not Lucretia whom he Aristotle termeth it in his word mimesis. Art of Poetry. mislike. 91. to make them know that goodness In this kind. comfort by some. see p. having no law praise as the etymology of his names will grant. which no man will deny. Against these none to move men to take that goodness in hand. or astronomical. though in a full wrong divinity. though we get not so unmatched a them. For these third be they which most prop- forth . counterfeiting. iambic. whereunto they are moved: which being the were Orpheus. erly do imitate to teach and delight.

did proof. evaluating. dignity of the subject. 15In Aristotle. according to the inclination of the man. the controlling principle of something. for indeed the greatest part of poets have appar. For 14"Works" and "parts" are. 12Cf.directed to the highest end of the mistress-knowl- sen verse as their fittest raiment. which is horsemanship. have a most just title to be princes over all the wit. 9. Wherein we can show the poet's nobleness. this enriching of memory. the name of poets. which are but serving sciences. For some that thought kind of writing which is called verse .in. which commonly by setting him before his other competitors.14 and. I see coming directed. But when by the balance of and yet both these writ in prose: which I speak to experience it was found that the astronomer look- show that it is not rhyming and versing that ing to the stars might fall into a ditch. meaning. who did imitate became natural and supernatural philosophers. Of ing against subtlety. in modem English. sophrosyne: self-knowledge and self-mastery. 12 But line with a crooked heart. can be capable of. verse being but an ornament and no and no knowledge to be so high and heavenly as cause to poetry.not speaking (table talk fashion in the ethic and politic consideration. effects and Sidney. so the horseman's to sol- Now therefore it shall not be amiss first to diery. enabling of judg. one and other. under what name soever it come whom as principal challengers step forth the moral forth. and enlarging of conceit.l1 to know. whom. by the Greeks called architectonike.This. so excellently as to give us effigiem iusti imperii.indeed but this felicity principally to be gotten by knowledge appareled. but peising 13 each syllable of even as the saddler's next end is to make a good each word by just proportion according to the saddle. made could not abide vice by daylight. and angry with any man in Education of Cyrus. This purifying of that. some an admirable delight drew to music. the then by his parts. since there have been many most acquaintance with the stars. although indeed the senate of poets hath cho. to wituess outwardly their contempt of outward things. me thinketh. the it is that feigning notable images of virtues. whereto they set their names. own divine essence. make manifest that all these or what else. So that. so yet are they all by. among we call learning. overruler of opinions. see p. that most serve to bring forth obtain a more favorable sentence. and by knowledge to lift up the mind So did Heliodorus in his sugared invention of from the dungeon of the body to the enjoying his that picture of love in Theagenes and G. 65. sophistically speak- l1Sidney is praIsmg Xenophon's Cyropaedia.hariclea. and now astronomy. For Xenophon.rest. those skills. and to perform the practice of a soldier. and the soldier not only to have the skill. but weigh this latter sort of poetry by his works. 10. or to what immediate end soever it be philosophers. ment. 13Weighing.15 which matter they passed all in all.no more than a long gown inquiring philosopher might be blind in himself. beyond them . I hope we shall action. but his farther end to serve a nobler faculty. and "the portraiture of a just empire. as though they high a perfection as our degenerate souls. But all. with the end or like men in a dream) words as they chanceably of well doing and not of well knowing only- faU from the mouth. with books in their hands against glory. gave themselves to excellent poets that never versified. if in neither of these ending end of all earthly learning being virtuous anatomies he be condemnable. made therein an matics. vices. bred eled their poetical inventions in that numbrous many formed impressions. then. as in edge. rudely clothed for worse by their clayey lodgings. who though he pleaded in and the mathematician might draw forth a straight armor should be an advocate and no soldier. that the maketh a poet . Aristotle. having this scope- absolute heroical poem. Ch. others. Poetics. persuading themselves to be swarm many versifiers that need never answer to demigods if they knew the causes of things. as they have each must be the right describing note to know a poet a private end in themselves. maketh an advocate. the final end is to lead and draw us to as towards me with a sullen gravity. so in manner to go stands (as I think) in the knowledge ofaman's self. which. the ultimate end of knowledge is the Greek ideal of genres." under name of some the certainty of demonstration to the mathe- Cyrus (as Cicero saith of him). 140 SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . with that delightful teaching.

which the battles of Marathon. lastly. fonnidine poelwe than virtutis amore. and virtuous he be a good citizen. a wonder to young folks and a righter. in a great chafe. and if not a moderator. 71untia vetus. but that he. Old-aged they which would win the goal. of families. whose ence it is ever to be excepted. and necessity maketh him honorable. how much the and distinctions. whom shall we find (since the question servant. with a scornful interrogative do wisest senators and princes have been directed by soberly ask whether it be possible to find any path the credit of history. and so misty to be conceived. These men Then would he allege you innumerable exam- casting largesse as they go of definitions. by standeth for the highest form in the school of showing the generalities that containeth it. how bad a man he be: there- actions. But both. and teacheth a dispurative virtue. and the other effects. "r am 'lux vitae.and teacheth it not only by long line of their disputation maketh a point in delivering forth his very being. partiality. having no care.9:36. the messenger of antiquity. and. but tyrant in table talk. I am the light. Aragon. doth not endeavor to make men good. For the philosopher. and his cumbersome Now. specialties that are derived from it. the master of the times. fore. and being the supreme knowledge. authorizing himself match him. not only for having greatest authorities are built upon the notable his scope as far beyond any of these as eternity foundation of hearsay. and justice the chief of virtues. with all rever- (for the most part) upon other histories. laden with beyond them both. do both halt. that ought to carry the title from them both. and this. And these four are all that any way deal Plato. but also by making known his enemy. Alphonsus of so ready to lead a man to virtue as that which tea. (which must be destroyed). but I only bid you follow the foot. so any man for teaching of virtue. and who not. that that their evil hurt not others. if he go moralist to say so much. denieth. is so hand to the lute. and if he be the guide.whom they see the foul fault of anger. the life of memory. Poitiers. but even for passing each of accord differing writers and to pick truth out of these in themselves. virtue. the one by pre- experience goeth beyond the fine-witted philoso. conferring story by story. Therefore compare we the poet with the historian. 17 or. On Oratory' 17Rather through fear of punishment than through love of 2. by plain the poet. His plant goodness even in the secretest cabinet of virtue is excellent in the dangerless Academy of our souls. and maintaining of public societies. not having pher. but I do an active. and yet better ter of justice. passion (which must be mastered). cept. as Brutus. so is he not tatis. his causes. is comparable to him. even the man setting down. but mine showeth forth her honorable face in in that consideration of men's manners. AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY 141 . how it extendeth itself out of the lim. vice the example." Cicero. considerations. hard of utterance. no other human skill can old mouse-eaten records. vita memoriae. that the one giveth the precept. 16 in the deepest truth to stand in rank with these The philosopher (saith he) who all endeavor to take naughtiness away. that one that hath no other guide but his shall wade in him till he be old before he shall find Hi"The light of life. For as for the Divine. they that best Agincourt. better acquainted with a thousand years And for the lawyer. if he make the song book. if need be? At length the cheth what virtue is . ples. He teacheth virtue by certain abstract breed it deserve the best commendation. I put the leamer's down with thorny argument the bare rule. having much ado to exceedeth a moment. Pharsalia. curious for antiquities and inquisi. as our wickedness maketh him necessary. divisions. tempo rum magistra. '" &C. the other by example. as me seemeth. though Jus be the daugh- ago than with the present age. The philosopher therefore and the historian are ing of them that have gone before you. to say tive of novelties. both. but I give the experience of many ages. setting Lastly. yet knowing how this world goeth than how his own because he seeketh to make men good rather wit runneth. and the learning) to be moderator? Truly. The historian scarcely giveth -leisure to the and with the moral philosopher. and its of a man's own little world to the government much more from all other serving sciences.

that madness: let but Sophocles bring you Ajax on a happy is that man who may understand him. what is. the sour- pleth the general notion with the particular ex.be it of virtue. as the bigness. Let us but hear old uncharitableness and humbleness as the divine Anchises speaking in the midst of Troy's flames. but speaking ficture of poesy." Horace. but clearly to see For as in outward things. the sight of the soul so much as that other doth. to a man that had through them. killing and whipping sheep and oxen. For his knowledge beggarly Ithaca. who should determination of goodness. to a judicial tion is. that we seem not to hear of them. profession. is so tied. matters of public policy or private govern. not an apparent shining. and. even our Saviour Christ could as without poetical helps. the self-devouring he giveth a perfect picture of it in someone by cruelty in his father Atreus. friendship in draweth no necessary consequence. their trades. and finally. A perfect picture I say. or a virtuous man in palace the architecture. valor in Achilles. or of disobedi- or see Ulysses in the fullness of all Calypso's ence and mercy. counsel can so readily direct a prince.sufficieut cause to be honest. and therefore Nisus and Euryalus. so as he cou. For the ques- grow. not the fault ofthe art. with their chieftains stand. even to an ignorant man carry a less fruitful doctrine. ing pride of Agamemnon. Non dU. it was the fault of the man and not of itself of a true lively knowledge: but the same man. which. or of a gorgeous feigned Cyrus in Xenophon. and tell me if you On the other side. contrarily. Art of Poetry. nor possess sions so in their own natural seats laid to the view. But even in the most excellent never seen an elephant or a rhinoceros. ing them the army of Greeks. / lie dark before the imaginative and judging power. Agamemnon and Menelaus. color. as the way of Sir Thomas More's as it were by rote. yet should never Utopia? I say the way. force in teaching: wherein if the philosophers have vices. narration of Dives and Lazarus. 92. to fall lower. non concessere colLan- if they be not illuminated or figured forth by the nae". though he perchance or the house well in model. the re- Now doth the peerless poet perfonn both: for morse of conscience in Oedipus. not to what should be but to finding in the schoolmen his genus and difference. 142 SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . to make us know the force well have given the moral commonplaces of love of our country hath in us. ample. whether the feigned image of poesy or the comprehending of them: so no doubt the philoso. than the poets have attained to the high top of their lible grounds of wisdom. Anger. for that way of patterning a common- as soon as he might see those beasts well painted. should straightways hath not so absolutely perfonned it. for he yieldeth to the Terentian Gnatho and our Chaucer's Pandar so the powers of the mind an image of that whereof expressed that we now use their names to signify the philosopher bestoweth but a wordish descrip. or a whole com- beauties might well make the hearer able to repeat. that his example and Diomedes. what philosopher's tell him most exquisitely all their shapes. the soon repent- whatsoever the philosopher saith should be done. notwithstanding. as Aeneas in Virgil. because where Sir Thomas satisfy his inward conceits with being witness to More erred. as that heavenly discourse of the delights bewail his absence from barren and 19"But men and gods and booksellers won't put up I \Vith 18Cicero. more rightly showed themselves philosophers ment . with declaring the full all fortunes. regular instruction of philosophy hath the more pher with his leamed definition . and particular marks. the Stoics say. pierce. vices. I say again.replenisheth the memory with many infal. that by few men that art can be accomplished. as in truth. Tunyi taketh much pains. wanting the have not a more familiar insight into anger than precept. monwealth. and. think- more happy that can apply what he doth under. the violence of ambi- whom he presupposeth it was done. wealth was most absolute. the historian. non homines. "mediocriblls esse poetis. to the particular truth of things and not to See whether wisdom and temperance in Ulysses the general reason of things. the poet. all he had heard. all virtues. was a short standeth so upon the abstract and general.' see p. and pas- tion: which doth neither strike. 19 it is. tion in the two Theban brothers. without need of any description. second-rate poets. and stage. sweetness of revenge in Medea. and many times not Certainly.

some to be liked. then certainly is more Dives burning in hell. where the historian. with the a conjectured likelihood. such as indeed were doctrine the poet prevaileth. the poet is indeed the right popular philoso. cannot be lib- whose pretty allegories. plainly de. which you had without ing of matters be so fit for the imagination. if the question were whether it were teach as a true example (for as for to move. no est key of passion). in Cyrus. there is no doubt which is to be chosen. stealing under the formal eral (without he will be poetical) of a perfect pat- tales of beasts. it must be poetical. for myself. politic. would more constantly (as it the true Cyrus in Justin. doth warrant be suggested to have been done. 21 the lost child's disdainful prodigality. yet that the history. who. in his discourse of poesy. function of poetry. who bringeth may say. His reason is. but. than to paint Canidia as she was. and the history with poet doth so far exceed him. the universal consideration. Aristotle a man more in that he shall follow. Poetics. Truly. and so go by reason. that is If the poet do his part aright. but if he know an example only informs dealeth with katholou. see p. some to be misliked. pher. For that a feigned example hath as much force to For indeed. then reading Quintus Curtius? And whereas a man must the historian needs surpass. particular has just become a distinction between the ideal and the real. and the feigned Aeneas were) inhabit both the memory and judgment. or as it was. warlike. nothing that is But the poet is the food for the tenderest stom. show beasts. himself. each thing to be followed. was foul and ill favored. Vespasian's picture right as he was. saying that poetry is that ]Vas . Aristotle's distinction between the universal and the question be for your own use and learning. let us take one example more than whether you had rather have wherein a poet and a historian do concur. so as the learned only can understand him. it is more philosophical and more studiously then indeed it hath some advantage to a gross serious than history. achs. these dumb speakers. Aeneas. that is to say. and not such as fantastically or falsely may in his saying such a thing was done. reason of his (as all his) is most full of reason. since the feigned may be tuned to the high- down. whereof Aesop's tales give good proof: bound to tell things as things were. For conclusion. therefore it should rain today - say. The answer is manifest: that if he stand upon termineth this question. but that his whether it be better to have it set down as it through-searching wisdom knew the estate of should be.as if he should argue. more beastly than tern. "the example to that which is most reasonable.. meseems I see before my eyes Phrygius. ticular only marks whether Alcibiades did. if this imagin. 65. And then how will you discern what to follow but But now may it be alleged that. I say the Canidia upon it." saith he. Horace sweareth. he will show you to say.lost child and the gracious father. make many. but benefit her to portrait a most sweet face. if he do. that is to rained yesterday. which will support Sidney's defense of the moral '"Aristotle. in Tantalus. because it philosophoteron and spoudaioteron. the particular: "now. a painter should more divines are thought not historical acts. because poesy conceit. not to be shunned. as he is to frame his kathekaston. in Virgil than the right Aeneas in Dares Truly. where the his- either in likelihood or necessity (which the poesy torian in his bare was hath many times that which considereth in his imposed names). this or that. done. begin to hear the sound of virtue from doings. Ch. and the par. but he teacheth obscurely. philosopher teacheth. But if the 21A slippage of tenns characteristic of Sidney has just occurred. by your own discretion. though in universal consideration of you images of true matters. AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY 143 . as in Alexander or Scipio himself. we call fortune to overrule the best wisdom. it is better to have a particular act truly or falsely set clear. or at the painter's pleasure nothing resembling. he teacheth them that are already taught. Ulysses. or Many times he must tell events whereof he can suffered. Atreus. turned to As to a lady that desired to fashion her counte- envy a swine's dinner: which by the learned nance to the best grace.. writing instructing parables.2o Thus far Aristotle: which yield no cause: or. be it in universal weighs what is fit to be said or done. and such like. or private matters. and of Lazarus being in doctrinable the feigned Cyrus in Xenophon than Abraham's bosom. 9.

not only of the historian. colors. be taught. if evil men come to the stage. Literas Xenophon's fiction as of the other's verity . not only in furnishing the mind of his pen. and more that speed well enough to their abominable injus- delighting. Sylla and Marius dying in valor so far credited. if occasion be presented And mark but even Caesar's own words of the unto you to serve your prince by such an honest forenamed Sylla (who in tbat only did honestly. from tice or usurpation. and for his known miserably murdered. But the historian. but they are but exercises of And that moving is of a higher degree tban patience and magnanimity. artificer. in respect of the notable philosopher. self. having all. and rebel Caesar so advanced that his name agem performed by Abradates in Cyrus's behalf. I speak of the art. being captived to the "They must be put to death. Herodotus and Justin do both testify that from well doing. Dionysius. and far off from history. yet do I think that no man is so much maid. and in otber pher. Peri ander. beautifying it both for further teaching. howsoever in teaching it may be learning is gotten by marking the success. See we not virtuous Cato driven to kill him- Xenophon excellently feigneth such another strat. feigned himself in extreme disgrace ters: the just Phocion and the accomplished of his king: for verifying of which. when deliver them over to Darius.truly that commendation is pose with great reason may be denied) that the peculiar to poetry.23 but no doubt tion. or war strata. why you do not as well learn it of to put down his dishonest tyranny). tent witb earthly plagues. as it pleaseth him. I conclude. He meant it not by poetry. and an encouragement to un- Zopyrus. which teacheth Occide/ldos esse. is many times a terror "lAA lover of philosophy. King Darius's faitbful servant. for Abradates did not coun. he caused his Socrates put to death like traitors. For who will the contrary part. nor yet by philosophy. dotb teach more perfectly than the poet. making Fortune her well-waiting hand. truth of a foolish world. by skill in history. yet. as I might well name some. in respect of his methodical pro- indeed poetry ever setteth virtue so out in her best ceeding. if he be not moved with desire to be tbey ever go out (as the tragedy writer answered taught. Phalaris. Much like matter they would have thought exile a happiness? doth Livy record of Tarq uinius and his son. it may by this appear. with the poet. subject to the poet. know not how many more of the same kennel. after 1. for whatsoever action. which deserveth to be called and accounted good: and say again. them. and not of tbe which setting forward. philophilosophoS24 as to compare the philoso- Well may you see Ulysses in a storm. that he Dante's heaven to his hell. whatsoever counsel. but over the the praise of histories. to make them shine teaching. and what so much good doth that teaching to one that misliked the show of such persons) so manacled as they little animate folks to follow 22He did not know literature. Pompey and Cicero slain then. tberefore. that it is well-nigh the more in the near-following prosperity. the cruel own nose and ears to be cut off. deviseth new punish- terfeit so far. and so flying to Severus live prosperously. to that which commonly is attributed to victorious. under tbe authority excelleth history. in moving.22 as if want of learning caused him to do truly so much the better. dissimulation. which. but in setting it forward to that done so. though therein a man should see virtue exalted For suppose it be granted (that which I sup- and vice punished . not con- nose by the bargain. and moving to well doing. that he did find means to tbeir beds. tbat one must needs be enamored of her. as questionable. For philosopher. for that indeed can afford your gem the historian is bound to recite. I44 SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . And of the cause and tbe effect of teaching. yet say I. the excellent Severus the Babylonians. and I poet (if he list) with his imitation make his own. his master long resisted by the rebellious For see we not valiant Miltiades rot in his fet- Babylonians.600 years. lasteth in the highest honor? Now would I fain know. tbat may the Cypselus. or fac. policy. So then the best of tbe historian is ments in hell for tyrants. Which if I be asked what poets have with knowledge. as you shall save your well. indeed setteth the laurel crown upon the poet as Now. seeing bridled wickedness. was received.and l1escivit. hard plights.

out. and therefore is beholding to had been barely. although not in the words of art which ful. so must they be content pass further. that wisheth not it were his fortune to onr poet the monarch. Truly. as of at their mouth. and therefore made Mistress delightful proportion. is 27The margins of the page. inward light each mind hath in itself is as good as as Aristotle saith. if they hardness of the way. saving wrangling whether virtue be definitions. which. seeing in nature we know it selves are horrible. as of the pleasant lodging would sooner take their physic at their ears than you shall have when your journey is ended. pre- as Aristotle saith. with a tale which holdeth children from play. or to be moved with their hearts moved to the exercise of courtesy. and Aeneas. and with a tale forsooth he cometh unto men who think virtue a school name. ing planted his image in the imagination?- he doth. it is no hard is often brought to take most wholesome things matter to consider. as cruel battles. as if your journey should lie through a "Fugientem haec terra videbit? / Usque adeone fair vineyard.29 and there- fore despise the austere admonitions of the 25Not abstract knowledge but action. hie labor est. I have known men. which must blur the margent27 with the chief or the only good. For he doth not only show perfo= so excellent an act? Whom do not the the way. Philosophy very often borrow the masking rai- or prepared for.. those things which in them- a philosopher's book. unnatural is well to do well. are made in poetical imitation delight- evil. it moveth one to do that which it doth teach? For. must needs hear the right descrip- ever hath in him. then placed. you may long to they scorn to delight. that is the task. zg"And shall the land see me fteeing? And after all. Cyrus. where the notes to a text were death so sad a thing?" Aeneid 12:645-46. once reason hath so much over-mastered passion That imitation whereof poetry is. hearing them. and old men from the chimney comer. Hoc opus. as well of the nature of aloes or rhubarb they should receive.28 Where the philosophers. as will entice any man to enter into it. as grapes. that is to say philosophically. which constant desire whoso. So is it in men (most of which are the many by-turnings that may divert you from childish in the best things." Virgil. But this is to no man but to him that their graves): glad they will be to hear the tales will read him. but to be moved wanteth much of a perfect poesy) have found to do that which we know. and what is well and what is monsters. and according to the humane conceits) is his back. He beginneth not with obscure little to move. For out of natural reading Amadis de Gaule (which God knoweth conceit the philosophers drew it. dious painfulness. but he cometh to you with words set in Boethius well knew. the well-enchanting skill of ment of Poesy. For even those hardhearted evil music. Nay. Now therein of all sciences (I speak still of Who readeth Aeneas carrying old Anchises on human. AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY 145 . by hiding them in such other as have a pleasant The philosopher showeth you the way. and know no other good but indulgere genio. of Hercules. and load the memory with doubt. insomuch that. and especially courage. and justice. that even with philosophers bestow upon us. that. the conveniency to nature of all other. valor. doth intend the winning of the must be the fruit. set the philosopher but for the other half. plative or the active life do excel: which Plato and fulness. at the first give you a cluster of mori miserum est?. and. Aeneid 6: I29. till they be cradled in your way. they would swear they be brought to school learned men have learnedly thought that where again. but giveth so sweet a prospect into the words of Turnus move. Achilles. And. mind with wickedness to virtue: even as the child without being moved to practice. the tale of Turnus hav- way. Nay truly. it is not gnosis but praxis25 tending no more. he taste: which. And how praxis cannot be. 26 erality.bring forth (I speak still of moral doctrine) as that you. and read him with attentive stu. lib- desire to know. hath the most as that the mind hath a free desire to do well. 29To indulge one's nature. either accompanied with. whether the contem- interpretations. tediousness of the way. hath already passed half the tion of wisdom. if one should begin to tell them the info=eth you of the particularities. 26"That is the labor. full of that taste.

when the holy David had so far for. but the discourse this world's dunghill. include the whole considerations of wrongdoing in laying his own shame before his eyes. as I never read that ever words brought which sometime out of Melibaeus's mouth can forth but then so sudden and so good an alter. yet will be content to be delighted. it shall not be amiss in a word to concluded they would let so unprofitable a cite the special kinds.the goodness of them that sit highest. But I am content not only to his poetical invention might be alleged. "Haec memini et victwn second and instrumental cause) as in a glass to see jrusfra contendere Thirsin: / Ex ilio Coridon. high authority). people. as Sannazzaro and could well have conceived. if severed they be good. when they strave who should be cock of application most divinely true. where per- he it but by telling of a man whose beloved lamb chance a man may see that even Alexander and was ungratefully takeu from his bosom? ." Virgil. to see what faults may be spender starve. though all together whole people of Rome had resolutely divided may carry a presence full of majesty and beauty.clusion not unfitly ensueth. have they must have learned geometry before they mingled prose and verse. for upon reasonable conditions a perfect ravening soldiers. with that strove in vain. and leaving some as needless to devoured the fruits of each other's labor: they be remembered. Some. and as notorious that it was a tale). whereupon is risen ophy. Some have mingled matters heroical behaves himself like a homely and familiar poet. Therefore. Infinite proofs of the strange effects of excellent workman. being the most ness. sometimes show that contention for God to call again so chosen a servant. I 30"r remember those things. The other is of Nathan the blessedness is derived to them that lie lowest from Prophet. that there was a time when question. as that heavenly Psalm of Coridon est tempore nobis" ?30 Mercy well testifieth. doth draw the mind more Eclogues 7:69-70. as if they took a medicine of towards it. same hand of delight. that. but more narrowly will examine The one of Menenius Agrippa. Is the poor pipe disdained. and pastoral. which are so often remembered as I commendation or dispraise must ever hold an think all men know them. SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . which (especially if they were Platonic) the tragicomical. themselves from the Senate.and so steal to see the form of good. what reconcilement ensured. only two decipher him by his works (although works in shall serve. kinds. how doth trifles can get but a trifling victory.philosopher. and most princely to move selves be aware. Now in his parts. which they thought forgetting some. Which made David (I speak of the the afterlivers may say. to be short (for the tale found in the right use of them. therefore. But that cometh all to one in this He telleth them a tale. so poetry. aud again.the Darius. some poesies have coupled together two or three and much less with farfetched maxims of philos. which seen they cannot but love ere them. came not among them upon trust (as you list to term them). though he were (for that time) an find a blemish. in the most excellent work is the most cherries.show the misery of people under hard lords or ation. by Tityrus. sometimes. for. who. Since then Corydon is for liS Corydon. his own filthiness. the benefit they got was that itself feigned. perchance spiracy against the belly. saken God as to confirm adultery with murder.junction cannot be hurtful. or species excellent orator. in the like manner. but forsooth he Boethius. it is to be noted that of figurative speeches or cunning insinuations. is notorious. For perchance where the hedge is lowest they will This applied by him wrought such effect in the soonest leap over. as in a man. under the pretty tales of wolves and sheep. the con- all the parts of the body made a mutinous con. Is it then the pastoral poem which is misliked? with punishing the belly they plagued themselves. and that conquered Thyrsis think it may be manifest that the poet. and feel not the inward reason they effectually than any other art doth: and so a con- stand upon. with apparent show perchance in some one defectious piece we may of utter ruin. examples and reasons. as virtue is the which is all the good fellow poet seemeth to most excellent resting place for all worldly learn- promise . can when he was to do the tenderest office of a friend. By these. who. In the end. when the his parts: so that.familiar to teach it. sent by and patience.ing to make his end of. as tragica] and comical.kinds.

the sack of his own faults lie so behind his back tion. and upon how weak foundations to. whereto yet nothing can more open his eyes than some iambic. by the signifying badge and natural problems. . AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY 147 . and. as in geometry the oblique must be of a tragedy. from whose eyes a tragedy. to laugh at himself.." Horace. But it is not the tragedy they doth the comedy handle so in our private and do mislike. in singing the lauds of tbe immortal God? Certainly. while humors. that openeth the greatest amico.. drew abundance of our life.31"The rogue touches every vice while making his friend confess my own barbarousness. tbe reward of only to know what effects are to be expected. but virtue.33 "Qui sceptra saevus duro imperio reg it. impossible that any beholder can be content to be that was not ashamed to make matters for such a one. Oedipus. I 1:30. 705-06. I Timet No. which he representeth in the most ridicu. who gives moral precepts. so as he. how. whom naughty timentes. and some of his own blood." Persius.." Epistles r. Plutarch yieldeth odious. "est Ulubris animus si gilden roofs are builded. I never heard the laugh. weakness of mankind and the wretchedness of the no sooner seeth these men play their parts. comedy is an imitation of the common errors of well made and represented. Only thus much now is to be said. either for com.. of a crafty Davus. I must . This his hardened heart. as I said before. of a vainglorious Thraso. to virtuous acts. Satires r:II6-17 . hand I Fears the timid. known as well as the right. by the force truth hath in nature. or for rightly pointing out how weak be the that he seeth not himself dance the same measure. without avoiding the folly. who. giveth praise. teacheth the uncertainty how many headaches a passionate life bringeth us of this world. tragedies. that maketh kings fear to be ashamed. yet could not resist the sweet violence Now. so as it is numbers. metus in auctorem redit.35 play-makers and stage-keepers have justly made But how much it can move. which he cannot tyrants. at length covered with tissue. to know who be such. for it were too absurd to cast out so domes tical matters. who. and in arithmetic the And if it wrought no further good in him. wisheth them in pistrinum. that. nos non deficit aequlls? .3l who sportingly never leaveth until he wounds. To the argument of abuse I will answer a notable testimony of the abominable tyrant after. tears. without all pity. when all is done.32"He plays about the heartstrings. 34A treadmill for slaves. and tyrants manifest their tyrannical avoid. passions of woefulness? Is it the bitter but whole. but world. And little reason his voice to tbe height of the heavens. which in a kind hath any man to say that men learn evil by seeing heart would move rather pity than blame. to find his own actions contemptibly set forth. . So ing shame the trumpet of villainy with bold and that the right use of comedy will (I think) by open crying out against naughtiness? Or the nobody be blamed. who sometimes raiseth up given them by the comedian. and not accorded voice. 3s"The savage ruler who wields the sceptre with a hard so long as we don't lose our sense of proportion. 33"Happiness is to be found. in mak. perchance it is the comic. since. what is to be looked for of a worthy to be learned. who "omne vafer vitium ridenti tangit excellent tragedy. who it so set out. ." From the passage above. Or is it the lamenting elegiac.34 although perchance passionate accompanying just causes of lamenta. even in Dlubrae [a dead city]. pleasetb. that maketh us know. who surely is to be praised. which rubs the galled mind. so in the actions of our was that he. withdrew him- life who seeth not the filthiness of evil wanteth a self from hearkening to that which might mollify great foil to perceive the beauty of virtue. and showeth forth the ulcers that are make a man laugh at folly. as with hearing it we get as it excellent a representation of whatsoever is most were an experience.. in despite of himself. there is no bewails with the great philosopher Heraclitus the man living but.32 giveth us to feel tion and commiseration. Seneca. and well- ing Gnatho. and much less of the high and satiric. and thus fear returns to its author. it odd as well as the even. that the Alexander Pheraeus. with stirring the affects of admira- "circum praecordia fudit. had murdered infinite lous and scornful sort that maybe. who with his tuned lyre. of a flatter. Is it tbe lyric that most dis- niggardly Demea.

how to enemies. their being from it. in the preserving his old seen it the manner at all feasts. and informs with counsel evil appareled in the dust and cobwebs of that how to be worthy. "melius Chrysippo et Crantore. give any fast handle to their carping from the sleep of idleness. so the lofty image' of yet is it sung but by some blind crowder. when besieged.old song of Percy and Douglas that I found not poetry.36 For as the image of each action stirreth my heart moved more than with a trumpet. Ch. and carrying away his religious cere- meetings. but the best and most accomplished kind of above~mentioned two philosophers. neither the sum that inimitable Pindar often did. who maketh magnanim. But as the ther his cause nor effects. enterprises. how he governeth himself gorgeous eloquence of Pindar? In Hungary I have in the ruin of his country.this man sets her out to make her more lovely in her holiday apparel. and how in his outward they would do. who set poet-whippers. but in faith they cannot tell where. all concurreth to the 37"Better than Chrysippus and Crantor. considering that whereas ity and justice shine throughout all misty fearful. and the young men what how in his inward self. the one of prophesying. how to his own. other arts retain themselves within their subject. and I think. 361t was characteristic of Renaissance criticism to favor stand. how in sports. so is that kind most contains him nor the partiCUlarities descending capable and most fit to awake the thoughts from him. . since both Roman and Greek gave Rinaldo? Who doth not only teach and move to divine names unto it. the a truth. how a fugitive. as such songs were made. And where a man may say that government. matters rather of sport than virtue. as it may be answered. men what they had done. Horace claims that Homer teaches virtue better than the kind. and doth not would be wonderfully ravished with the love of her beauty . and that indeed that name of high and excellent truth. Tydeus. how in even at home. how they all content to be the singers of them. even as Horace saith. kind of music ever with them to the field. but how in storms. But if anything be already said in the epic over tragedy . which. Since then poetry is of all human learning the There rests the heroic aI.unlike Aristotle. as it were.. how the lusty men were to tell what they did. who in Poetics. whose very name most ancient and of most fatherly antiquity. Turnus. in a mind not prejudiced Pindar many times praiseth highly victories of with a prejudicating humor.2:4. Macedon reckoned a horse race won at Olympus So the name of poetry is odious to them. Epistles maintaining the heroical. how victorious. as (I think) should daunt all backbiters. Cyrus. which is not only a 1. and other such father. and and instructeth the mind. who. to have songs of their ancestors' valor. he will be found in small moment. trimmed in the tablet of your memory. Aeneas. monies. to the eye of any that will deign not to disdain until they under. what would it work. The incompa. though not only all passionate kind- chiefest kindlers of brave courage." Horace. who those toys at so high a price that Philip of often are sick. the old to allies. that who could see virtue poet only bringeth his own stuff. if the saying of Plato and receive. it was the fault of the poet. but teacheth and moveth to the most other of making. so indeed the chief fault But truly I imagine it falleth out with these was in the time and custom of the Greeks. had favored the concise tragedy over the full-blown epic. nor no barbarous nation is Achilles. excellency fruitful. yea. how to strangers. 26. making is fit for him. defense of sweet Poetry. how besieging. Only let Aeneas be worn in the uncivil age. and without it. lastly. with no such worthies most inflameth the mind with rougher voice than rude style. ness and foggy desires. for by what from whence other learnings have taken their conceit can a tongue be directed to speak evil of beginnings. would have craved other of him. how in war. being so desire to be worthy.37 and not of the poetry. the and Tully be true. but even the human consideration of virtu- rable Lacedaemonians did not only carry that ous gratefulness. so were peace. to embrace honorable dispraise. ness. as with some good women. since it is so universal that no learned that which draweth with it no less champions than nation doth despise it. 14 8 SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . in obeying the god's commandment to which that right soldierlike nation think the leave Dido. but nei- among his three fearful felicities.

back to itself. and is already said (and. ness of being in debt. and the jolly commodity of Besides. 38 For if 07"atio next ing captains doth worthily (of all other learnings) to ratio. so deserve they no other great affinity to memory) being so set as one answer. thus much that they do prodigally spend a great many wan. carping and without remembering. even they that have taught the art of the evil. is well-nigh comparable to the forefathers ever termed that humorous kind of philosopher. the reason is manifest- sacred a majesty but that an itching tongue may the words (besides their delight. leaves him behind jesters. proportion be in our time grown First. certain room divided into many places well and mending of folly. But 38In his Poetics. mary product as the imitation of a human action. but by his and. "speech" next to "reason. selves a harmony (without. that cannot be ears as well as tongues. is undoubtedly true. as it were. the thing described can. since neither his description nor his correct the verb before they understand the noun. end containeth any evil. calleth the remembrance praise the discretion of an ass.learn a conceit out of a matter. laugh at the jester. be it in rhyme or measured verse. But that which giveth greatest scope to him." Agrippa will be as merry in showing of memory have showed nothing so apt for it as a the vanity of science as Erasmus was in com. for so have our grave for instmcting. AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY I49 . So of the contrary side. memory being the only taunting at each thing. "Ut lateat viltus the former a man shall have a near guess to the proximitate mali. by stirring the treasurer of knowledge. But yet presuppose it were inseparable (as fully commendable. and a versifier without their united forms but in their severed dissections poetry. for knowledge. since his effects be so good as to teach firm their own. It uncleanness) hath whole parts in it poetical. an inseparable commendation. the most divine striker of the senses). they had another foun. which hath a rub itself upon it. but maketh matter Marry. since there is nothing of so ting up of the memory. these other pleasant faultfinders. if speech. who seek a praise by dispraising others. instead of laughing at the jest. Julius Caesar Scaliger claimed that what for Erasmus and Agrippa. for moving. I would have them only remember goodness and to delight the learners. thy either of yielding or answering. but. praiseless which doth most polish that blessing of sons that may be will seem to weigh greatly." be the great- honor the poet's triumph. and confute others' knowledge before they con- not be evil. by mousoi. one word so. to word cannot be lost but the whole work fails. since therein that scoffing cometh not of wisdom. what objections best measured quantity. which. truly I note not only in these m)'so. "poet-haters. the poet made was verses. and that the lightest rea. by if we will tum Ovid's verse. as. But lay aside the just praise it hath. Aristotle identified the poet's pri- dation than the superficial part would promise. people. as well as we can. which considers each word. so as the best (namely in moral doctrine. " that "good lie hid in nearness follower: lastly. let us hear. Those kind of objections. and. may stay the brain from a thorough fittest for memory are likewise most convenient beholding the worthiness of the subject. carrying even in them- may be made against this art. One may the flowers of it. is to be called good fools. Neither shall any man or matter escape some touch of these smiling railers. begetting being sick of the plague. who will for a conceit. since all his kinds are not only in be a poet without versing. I think (and think I think indeed it seemeth Scaliger judgeth) truly it were rightly) the laurel crown appointed for triumph. which may be wor. measure. and so most strongly confirmeth it. not only (as nothing be put in the counter-balance. as they are full of Now. since the Holy Scripture (wherein there is no their scorning humors is rhyming and versing. We know a playing wit can which accuseth itself. number. another. ponder. as 1 think truly said) it is not that even our Saviour Christ vouchsafed to use rhyming arid versing that maketh poesy. the chief of all knowl. the comfortable. perchance. title in tme English they get with their merriments edges) he doth not only far pass the historian. a man may say) by his forcible quality. that if reading be foolish dering words in quips and scoffs. odious). But because we have est gift bestowed upon mortality. but. those words which are spleen. that verse far exceedeth prose in the knit- very idle easiness. I say." but in all that kind of being the only fit speech for music (music. order.

they telleth them not for true. from grammar to logic. or Cato. therefore. The poet never maketh any circles about your ness drawing the mind to the serpent's tale of sin. no laboring to tell you what is. to the first. To the second therefore. before Muses to inspire into him a good invention. known to all men? Who is it that ever was a that they should be the principal liars.assume what one needs to prove. do the physicians lie. Horace. so there being many other more fruitful knowledges. as if they outshot we will say that Nathan lied in his speech. essary to be borne away are compiled in verses. but given to martial exercises. he nothing important imputations laid to the poor poets. mathe. First. a man might better spend his time in them than in affIrming many things. as a poet can scarcely be a liar. How often. which in his youth he writers under the sun the poet is the least liar. that to lie is to affIrm that to be true which is false. that of all Virgil. Now. for the poet. with a siren's sweet. they will never give the lie to things not affirmatively but allegorically and figuratively written. and not lulled asleep in shady idleness though he recount things not true. to know that the employed. He citeth not authorities of other give the largest field to ear (as Chaucer saith). that a man that Aesop lied in the tales of his beasts: for who might better spend his time is a reason indeed: but thinks that Aesop writ it for actually true were it doth (as they say) but petere principium: 40 for well worthy to have his name chronicled among if it be. it should follow should be. in the cloudy knowl- this. he lieth not . they are these. liberty. and that What child is there that. but truly. away full fraught with falsehood. so in poesy. And therefore. hourly lessons? But the fitness it hath for memory The astronomer. imagination. as I affirm. though a man should poets' persons and doings are but pictures what grant their first assumption. before Robin Hood. aught I can yet learn. With his cousin the geometri- is notably proved by all delivery of arts: wherein cian. And "Plato. and. can hardly escape. yet because he with poets' pastimes. Thirdly. and none can both teach and move thereto so much as seeing Thebes written in great letters upon an old poetry. the pillars of manlike what should or should not be. see pp. and therefore never lieth. 36-38 . physic. verse being in itself sweet and orderly. it must be in jest that any man can ferry? And no less of the rest. truth. and even to his old age serve him for though he would. 15 0 SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . they go . I think truly. And lastly. that it is the nurse of abuse.. to David. but even for his entry calleth the sweet how both in other nations and in ours. thoroughly known. at that child's age.without cry out with an open mouth. that it is the mother of lies. so think I none so simple would say much truth in it. can. coming to a play. them to measure the height of the stars. poet (as I said before) never affirmeth. But I still and seat. we were full of courage. First. as in history. when they aver things good for sicknesses. and especially the historian. infecting us But the. think you. Republic. matic. But what needeth more in a thing so more fruitful knowledge. which take upon speak against it. histories. doth believe that it is Thebes? If then a man ·and paper cannot be to a more profitable purpose can arrive. hardly escape from many lies. as the other artists.tOTo beg the question . and chiefly. learned. the rules chiefly nec. which as a wicked man durst commonweaIth. or is not. comedies what he writes. the only handle of drowned in a potion before they come to his knowledge. that good is not effect perfectly. For affIrms. and the rest.as I take it. that hath the verse in (methinks) very unwillingly.and herein. this is much. which So that. when they take upon for the most part. with many pestilent desires. Now then go we to the most them to affirm. that Plato banished them out of his alleged. that which teacheth and moveth to virtue. then is the conclusion manifest that ink door. to conjure you to believe for true ful fancy . and not stories what have been. especially. Secondly. Now. that no learning is so good as the beasts he writeth of. And certainly. every word having his natural good because better is better. afterwards send Charon a great number of souls and being best for memory. in poets did soften us. I answer scholar that doth not carry away some verses of paradoxically. if there be scarce say. edge of mankind. which seat must needs make the words utterly deny that there is sprung out of earth a remembered. looking for truth. 39 Truly. For.

and not upon imagination. since only So that. that should give to the eye either to men they write of. shall the abuse of a history. than writ- will have granted. they cannot leave men thing make the right use odious? Nay truly. grow the crooked fosterer nets. defense. or containing in it falsehood. being abused. but (if they list) scurrility. if not the only. of horrible injuries? Doth not (to go to the highest) and that even to the heroical Cupid hath ambi. we must give names to our chessmen. pire41 to our often-assaulted bodies). which 41Rampart.looking for fiction. beastly fault (although it be very hard. proves a fit for building or fortification. being abused. yet is it indeed a chainshot against For I will not deny but that man's wit may make poesy. I would thou couldst abused become blasphemy? Truly. a needle can- as well defend thyself as thou canst offend others. grant that lovely name of Love to they prove the commendation. they will find their sentence poetry. but that being abused. Their naming of men is but to make an ill-pleased eye with wanton shows of better their picture the more lively. not being true. deserve all hateful reproaches (although even They allege herewith. so in this their argument of abuse beauty). David a Noakes he puts his case? But that is easily fighting with Goliath. an actual truth. as But hereto is replied. Alas. and so. that the poets give names the painter. and not say that poetry abuseth man's wit. not do much hurt. but ing things fit to be done. that contrariwise it is a good reason. thing conceiveth his title). the most violent destroyer? Doth not rather teach than reprehend amorous conceits. Marry. by the reason of his sweet methinks. which should be eikastike. but lust. all things. grant. and yet. yet never was the Albion nation without most. liness. God's word abused breed heresy. and not to build any hidden matters. and with a they keep thee. And doth the lawyer lie then. estates should do. training it to wanton sinfulness and lustful love: Do we not see the skill of physic (the best ram- for indeed that is the principal. and please answered. they shall use the narration but some learned have defined. I say. may leave those. doth most good. "figuring forth good as an imaginative ground plot of a profitable things. painting men. against poetry. how much it abuseth men's wit. Love. abuse I can hear alleged. excellency of it). or some fine picture. fortunes. as in their calling poets the fathers of lies man. whose end is to even and right They say the lyric is larded with passionate son. doth most harm." to be phantastike. hath that gift to discern they say nothing. AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY 151 . whatsoever they rather doing things worthy to be written. or yield good reason why sword thou mayest kill thy father. as Abraham sacrificing under the names of John a Stile and John his son Isaac. and as truly (with leave of ladies I would those on whom thou dost attend could be it spoken) it cannot do much good. being rightly used (and upon the right use each Their third is. the elegiac weeps the want of his mistress. being abused. and his name tiously climbed. With a either put thee away. We see we cannot play at chess but that though I yield that poesy may not only be abused. yet shall it be so far from wood the reverend title of a bishop. that not only love. which argueth a conceit of some excellent perspective. But what. contrari- invention. possesseth was. he were a very partial champion of charming force. I think scarcely Sphinx can tell. memory is so ancient that hath the precedence of when this is granted. But grant love of beauty to be a sword thou mayest defend thy prince and country. that before poets began some of my masters the philosophers spent a to be in price our nation hath set their heart's good deal of their lamp-oil in setting forth the delight upon action. nameless. They say the comedies teach poison. infect the fancy with unworthy objects. show what men of their fames. and no beast. it can do more hurt than any truth that would say we lied for giving a piece of other army of words. this argument. And certain it is that. when some notable example. though it be leveled but that man's wit abuseth poetry. and that whatsoever. Judith killing Holofernes. since no many leaves of the poets' books: yet think I. What that beforetime vanity. poetry. which doth. wise. knowledge of law. in our plainest home- may with good manners put the last words fore. The poet concluding that the abuse should give reproach to nameth Cyrus or Aeneas no other way than to the abused.

This poetry the right discerning true points of knowl- Alexander left his schoolmaster. or bookishness. and behind him. but else a man that had never well sacri- ance. Scipio ing). flourished me. in truth a bitter punisher of This indeed is the ordinary doctrine of ignor. For poetry is the companion of the camps. . which by the force of delight being barred them. the have set fire to it. the less they could overthrow them. but sought by all means to discredit their masters. like ungrateful 'prentices. than of Asia and Afric. He misliked and cried out spent in it: but because this reason is generally upon all Greek learning. loved him. misliked not his work. and many words sometimes I have heard ficed to the Graces. "No. as well as poetry. will never displease a soldier: but So as Cato's authority being but against his per- the quiddity of ens and prima materia43 will son. "iubeo stultum esse libenter". we shall with more leisure con. truly it may and with great reason. for while they are busy for it was not the excellent Cato Uticensis (whose about these toys. or rather. He making a school art of that which the poets did put the philosopher Callisthenes to death for his only teach by a divine delightfulness. of fortitude: and therefore. And if he had. ers. or honest caused his body to be buried in their sepulcher. phers had picked out of the sweet mysteries of indeed the Phoenix of warlike princes. a man might maliciously who by Plutarch is accounted of such virtue. being a philosopher. Indeed. Of such mind were certain Goths. Yet if he will defile the foun- almost their first light of knowledge. For indeed.all learning. to spurn at their guides. since of all philosophers he seem. I must confess." but it was the former. he by gathering many knowledges. living Aristotle. if Cato misliked belike. jecture a conjecture may be opposed. a Greek. as by him their learned men took is the most poetical. and that answered with so far greater than hardly agree with a corselet. had murdered a great number of bodies. Sidney uses hated them. he did it. was a nat- fortune was not his guide but his footstool. King Arthur. edge. Orlando Furioso. being eighty against all learning. now Plato's name is laid upon delighted with poets. putting it in method. so their tain out of which his flowing streams have pro- active men received their first motions of ceeded. to him that is of that Nasica. bornness. Only Alexander's example may serve. which is read. of all philosophers I before Greece flourished. But now indeed said in the beginning. though Plutarch did not. Both the other Scipio broth- for poetry itself. And therefore. so loved him that they I dare undertake." said another very gravely. or at least too superfluous laws allowed no person to be carried to the wars (since it is manifest that all government of action but he that was in the soldier's roll. I only. even Turks and Tartars are my burden is great. is herein of no validity. as they commonly wish for was that Homer had been alive. faults. they forthwith. For indeed. of found he received more bravery of mind by the whom it is written that. with Horace. after the philoso- acts speak for him. who Fulvius for carrying Bnnius with him to the field. seven cities strove who should have him for their 15 2 SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . indeed mutinous. but took dead Homer with him. fit to execute the fruits of their wits. Homer.1:63. First truly. let us boldly examine with what reasons courage. that. the Roman a digression to handle. they found for Homer scholastic terms here. And if to a slight con. one hangman. years old. and yet. is to be gotten by knowledge. the more they 41'he whatness of being and primal matter. having in the spoil of a pattern of Achilles than by heating the definition famous city taken a fair library. Satires 1. beginning seeming philosophical. as I himself. would it may be answered that. quer their countries. belike feating that all learning but poetry. if Cato misliked it. judged by common consent the best opinion. He well term it. and therefore. have ever esteemed most worthy of reverence. because it were too large Pluto understood not Latin. authority I would much more have reverenced). whose ural enemy of poets. that object that Plato." Horace. who had by their virtues no less surnames tion.42 for as Roman.12"1 ask him to be a fool as much as he likes. or else he had not done it: "take heed what you do. whom. noble Fulvius liked it. began to learn it. but the chief thing he ever was heard to were not content to set up shops for themselves. stub. and knowledge best though Cato misliked his unmustered persons. it is the freest from this objec.

and therefore Heautontimorwnenos45 in Terence was supposed would not have the youth depraved with such to be made by him. so as part of light tales of that unspotted essence. and one of them Of the other side. setteth a watchword have been by the best sort of judgments granted upon philosophy . observed. citizen. Poetics 1:2. inspiring of a divine force. So as belike this banishment grew Plato (under whose lion's skin they would make not for effeminate wantonness. many atheism. called the Roman world with wrong opinions of the gods. the more just cause he shall find to have in sophical instructions. I confess. the abuse. not taught so by the poets. of the divine providence. St. as they do. Caesars. Plato therefore (whose authority I had Athenians had their lives saved of the much rather justly construe than unjustly resist) Syracusians. and bless the wits which admiration. Plato themselves: Alexanders. But I honor philo. shaking off superstition. where Plato could do to drive out those wrong opinions of the Deity so little with Dionysius. that he himself of a (whereof now. Scipios. For indeed I had much rather sooth. the wiser a man have what woman he listed. (since truly I may do it) show their mistaking of nity of women. banishing whether any poet do authorize abominable filthi. if it should not be written? tion. should require the objections (as he thought) nourished by the then esteemed made against poets with like cavillation against poets. a man might ask out of ing due honor unto it. Who list may read in Plutarch the discourses Plutarch teacheth the use to be gathered of them. So as Plato. where many cities banished philosophers of Christ) did much better in it than the philoso- as not fit members to live among them. thence where he himself alloweth commu. for the credit of as in the afore-named dialogue is apparent. Poesy: and why. Christianity philosopher was made a slave. suffice: the poets did not induce such opinions. what need more? Aristotle writes the Art oj but followed according to their nature of imita. or the discourse of love in Plutarch. and see commendation to poetry. in those words of thought many philosophers unworthy to live. as likewise one should do that himself to know his meaning: who. of the cause why oracles and how. But many-fashioned gods. allegeth twice two poets. Paul himself. giveth high and rightly divine Plato. to be a very likewise stretched to poetry. since little should an asslike braying against poesy) than go abont to poetical sonnets be hurtful when a man might overthrow his authority. So them. in his dia- should bid one read Phaedrus or Symposium in logue called Ion. a whole sea of examples would present doth Plato upon the abuse. opinions. when the Athenians themselves meant not in general of poets. For only phers. which Julius Scaliger saith. who yet. had 'barbari quidam atque hispidi abuti velint ad so prevailed with Hiero the First. Herein may much be said. that of a tyrant poetas e republica exigendos". perchance thus. not banishing it. "Qua authoritate Certain poets. whom. who.44 but only meant they made him a just king. Again. And therefore. In our adversary. brought in repeating certain of Euripides' verses." Scaliger. And a man need go no further than to Plato philosophers. Laelius. is. far above man's wit. the theology of that nation stood not upon such . and even the Greek Socrates. who would show the honors by the name of a prophet. and truly (since they had not the light 45The Self~Tonl1eJ1tor. not upon poetry. which is poesy more than myself do. making Socrates. and see whether reads Plutarch's either history or philosophy. But who should do hath taken away all the hurtful belief). not the thing. is said to have spent part of his old time in putting but did imitate those opinions already induced. AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY 153 . shall be our patron and not what commonwealth Plato did banish them. as Simonides and Pindarus.u"Barbarous and rude men would abuse this authority to dreams which the poets indeed superstitiously drive poets out of the republic. namely. poets. but giv- ness. himself a poet. all found fault that the poets of his time filled the favorers of poets. if they should not be read? And who ceased. especially since he attributeth unto bred them: so as they be not abused. without further law. let this whom Apollo confirmed to be the only wise man. full For all the Greek stories can well testify that the evil should it become his scholar Plato to put such very religion of that time stood upon many and words in his master's mouth against poets. Aesop's fables into verses. of Isis and Osiris.indeed upon the abuse.

house for poets. Truly even man's wit. But I list not to defend poesy ers' reading . But I that.tG"Tell me the reason. "not an inky tribute unto them. bring forth bastard poets. before I give my pen a full stop. mihi causas memora. So that. printer. thus embraced in all with the help of her underling historiography. Let other places. so these. to can I but exclaim. or transformed into just com. no more but who certainly in wit ought to pass all other.46 Sweet Poesy.I say. Adrian. that hath sion they do post over the banks of Helicon. and therefore decketh our soil with easily overcome. Upon this necessarily followeth. should only find in our time a hard it suffice that it is a fit soil for praise to dwell welcome in England. Sophocles. "lviusa. and the which is to be noted. overmastered by some thoughts. wherein we want desert were a thankwor- Buchanan. with numbers of others. fewer laurels than it was accustomed. so serves it for sufficient authority to show the price they ought a piece of a reason why they are less grateful to to be had in) than suffer the ill-favoriug breath of idle England. King of the same order. :Nluse: what was the injury to her ""Whom the Titan has fonned out of finer clay. that base men with servile wits undertake it. For makers of themselves. "queis David. these. is a enjoy the homely quiet of Vulcan. till anciently had kings. to should be grown so hard a stepmother to poets. which before was contemptible. I yielded virtue . such as. since the excellencies of it" fore poets have in England also flourished. they are almost in as good repu- not of abusing man's wit.. times can present for her patrons a Robert. besides a thousand others. I should have but before all. to have made an office.that poesy. since setting their names to it. Satires I4:35. am admitted into the com- Bibbiena: such famous preachers and teachers as pany of the paper-blurrers. great they make the readers more weary than post- captains. as I never desired the title.. And so as Epaminondas is said. not only meliore luto jinxit praecordia Titan. such cardinals as Bembus and aspire unto the dignity. do find the very true Beza and Melancthon. . by their own disgrace- all only proceedeth from their wit. How now. as Fracastorius and Scaliger. by his why England (the mother of excellent minds) exercising it. but to be poets. not banished. may be so easily and so justly confirmed. thy labor to express: but if I knew. besides many. while. (I think) that realm uever brought forth a more so have I neglected the means to come by it. as hath rather be troubled in the net with Mars than besides them only triumphant captains wear. is either lamenteth it. become highly respected. more firmly builded upon Only. being indeed fulness disgrace the most graceful poesy. Germanicus. For hereto- mendation. with the it shall be but a little more lost time to inquire honor of his virtue. senators. as of the one side it giveth great praise to us rather plant more laurels for to engarland our poesy. by publishing them. not of an overfaint quietness should seem to strew the effeminateness. springs of poesy. let that. without any commis- quo numine laeso! . the great King Francis of France. and. but of strengthening tation as the mountebanks at Venice. Many. and what dispraise may set upon it. but honored by Plato. they. but of true doctrine. so piercing wits as George Now. Aeneid 1:8. emperors. divinity?" Virgil. accomplished judgment. I think the very earth upon. which like Venus (but to better purpose) poets' heads (which honor of being laureate. thau whom mended myself. horses. king of than. and of our nearer content to suppress the outflowing of their wit.shall find he trimmeth both their garments with only to read others' poesies. that Hospital of France. but to poetize for oth- guards of poesy. not takers of others. so great orators as taking upon us to be poets in despite of Pallas. And now that not being an art of lies. it trumpet of Mars did sound loudest. but of notable stirriug of courage. Pontanus and Muretus. so learned philosophers cause of our wanting estimation is want of desert. who But since I have run so long a career in this think it enough if they can be rewarded of the matter. 154 SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . But I. as if all the Muses were got with child. which now can scarce endure the such wrongspeakers once to blow upon the clear pain of a pen. in the meantime.47 are better to favor poets. so grave counselors as. to be accounted knights Sicily. methinks." Juvenal. even in those times when the low-creeping objections so soon trodden down. before ever I durst James of Scotland. they that .

or else the tale will not clear age walk so stumblingly after him. let but most of the verses be it must lead." Ovid. hath three wings to bear itself up which notwithstanding. if do I not remember to have seen but few (to speak they be inclinable unto it. themselves in an unflattering glass of reason. and in other. 49 Animpromptu perfonnance. By and by we hear news meetly furnished of beautiful parts. the two necessary companions cipal parts . "Unartistically. undoubtedly. there is both many days.matter to be expressed by words and of all corporal actions. barely accompa- ried unto it. or that we in this with telling where he is.in neither we use should always represent but one place. That Daedalus. indeed worthy the reading. since all other know ledges lie without ordering at the first what should be at the ready for any that hath strength of wit. 50"Whatever I tried to say was verse. in place and time. morality. of whom. and then we are Earl of Surrey's lyrics many things tasting of a to blame if we accept it not for a rock. art. Exercise indeed we do. both in this Gorboduc (again. 51Gorboduc fails to satisfy the unities of place and time. For poesy must not be boldly) printed. either that he in that the player. and it will the ancient-learned affirm it was a divine gift. climbing to tation. Virgil in Latin. but "Quicquid conabar dicere. which Sidney ascribes to Aristotle. where Chaucer. because it might not remain as an brain delivered of much matter which never was exact model of all tragedies. which it doth most delightfully teach. selves withal. and how they do. we much cumber our. For it is faulty both begotten by knowledge. which becomes a confused mass of words. rustic language I dare not allow. and many marshaling it into an assured rank. as it is full of stately into the air of due commendation: that is. For. truly. there being two prin. nied with reason. and then the eclogues. That same framing of his style to an old cave. the poet is born. industry can make. did excellently in his you shall have Asia of the one side. But these. 51 For where the stage words to express the matter . we exercise as having known: and so is our grieveth me. AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY ISS . since neither represented with four swords and bucklers. though wrongly performing Ovid's verse. which was partly the cause that made put in prose. Tristia IV. 10:26. speeches and well-sounding phrases. But if it be so in readers cannot tell where to find themselves. Our matter is quodlibet49 uttermost time presupposed in it should be. Orator fit. observing rules neither of hon- must the highest-flying wit have a Daedalus to est civility nor of skillful poetry. I say. neither artificial the height of Seneca's style. and worthy of a noble mind. by Aristotle's precept and common reason. both indeed. 48 Yet confess I always Our tragedies and comedies (not without cause that as the fertilest ground must be manured. if I be not miserable beholders are bound to take it for a deceived. especially. While in the meantime two armies fly in. Yet had be conceived? Now ye shall have three ladies he great wants. nor they do. delight in poesy itself should seek to know what Theocritus in Greek. and so many other underkingdoms. yet in truth it forebackwardly: for where we should exercise to is very defectious in the circumstances. The Upon the back of that comes out a hideous Shepherd's Calendar hath much poetry in his monster. must ever begin misty time could see so clearly. if his own genius be not car. they say. with fire and smoke. that have poetical sinews in them: drawn by the ears. noble birth. and the art or imitation rightly. look Sannazzaro in Italian did affect it. and 48The orator is made. and Afric of Troilus and Cressida. versus erat":50 never one day. fit to be forgiven in so reverent walk to gather flowers and then we must believe antiquity. inartificially52 imagined. and therefore is it an old proverb. and as full of notable rules nor imitative patterns. imi. when he cometh in. excepting guide him. I account the Mirror of Magistrates the stage to be a garden. and exercise. that whether to marvel more. of those that I have seen). but that very and so obtain the very end of poesy. and then ask the meaning. or rather for proof whereof. with a tingling sound of rhyme. it must be gently led. poeta nascitur. Gorboduc. and be found that one verse did but beget another. and. and in the of shipwreck in the same place. no human skill. that almost the places. a poet no last. Besides these. so cried out against). how much more in all the rest. which know. I know not the other.

But our comedians think there mer time or other place. a kind of con- safety's sake. is no delight without laughter. having indeed no right comedy. and yet are far from being SJIvlessenger. is by their mongrel tragicomedy will say. dies. nor right come- example of Ell/111Chu:?3 in Terence. nor the right us hit with him. but. groweth know not how many years. indeed fit to lift up from that to the description of Cali cut. and travel numbers of a man. with great riches. she is got with should he sail over into Thrace. mingling kings and clowns. see a fair woman. delivered for themselves they have. for though laughter may come with begin ab OVO. in the that have a conveniency to ourselves or to the Troj an war time. which is very sent an history. So falleth things may be told which cannot be showed. sS"From the egg". and not miss with him. if it out that. but with the delivery of the child? Then fall in love. yet far short of twenty matter so carrieth it. yet cometh it not of delight.then what hard heart will not receive it for a findeth a slight to be revenged most cruelly of the pitched field? Now. For example. Horace praises Homer for not beginning moved to laughter. How then shall we set forth a story. the dullest wit may conceive it. even sense may imag. rather in have a story of young Polydorus.55 but they must come to the princi. if we mark feign a quite new matter. unworthy of any chaste ears. And with neither decency nor discretion. But where doth Euripides? Even with the child. and nothing else: where the action I cannot represent it without Pacolet's whole tract of a comedy should be full of delight. we laugh at mischances. Delight hath a joy ·in it. and art hath taught. We hatched. or present. after some years. that con. they must not (as Horace saith) wrong. True it is. or some (though I am here) of Peru. and is ready to get another places. Yet will some bring in an plays be neither right tragedies. Nay. We laugh at deformed crea- his tale of the Trojan war with the egg from which Helen was tures. But they sportfulness. if they will repre. delivered of a fair boy. how all their Italy will not err in. obtained. or to frame the history them well. The body of the nature. so as neither though Plautus hath in one place done amiss. but well sent. horse. and so spend I child. This need no further to be ine. by his father trariety: for delight we scarcely do but in things Priam to Polymnestor. not times? And do they not know that a tragedy is tied represented in one moment: and I know the to the laws of poesy. not the Eunuch. the same day. and not of history. for ordinary it is that two young princes ers begin. or very to the most tragi cal conveniency? Again. delight in good chances. She. and so was it to be played in two and shoulders. the ordinary players in besides these gross absurdities. I may one thing breed both together. as though pal point of that one action which they will repre. king of Thrace. He. for example. in that they know the difference betwixt reporting and comical part of our tragedy we have nothing but representing. Laughter hath only a scornful tickling. By example this will be best expressed. and so fitted to the time it set forth. But justified. at this day. many daintily. wherein certainly we cannot delight. and all this in two hours' space: which. falls in love. Last!y. delight should be the cause of laughter. either permanent child is taken up by Hecuba. delight. After many traverses. and all ancient examples enlarged. but which containeth both many places and many that is a thing recounted with space of time. having liberty. as the tragedy should be still maintained in a well- by some nuncius 54 to recount things done in for. the spirit of Polydorus. Where now would one of our tragedy writ- liberal. match hornpipes and funerals. days. either to dies. but thrust in clowns by head years. 156 SIR PHILIP SIDNEY . As. leaving the rest to be told by how absurd it is in sense. of time they are much more tyrant. we shall find that they never. for to make the treasure things most disproportioned to ourselves and his own. but in a loud laughter. and. we are ravished with delight to 53Actually the Self-Tonnemor. See the Art of Poetl)" p. to playa part in majestical matters. and in speech digress extreme show of doltishness. as Plautus hath Ampi1itrio. But. finding of the body. hearing general nature: laughter almost ever cometh of the overthrow of Priam. not bound ancients have one or two examples of tragicome- to follow the story. And so was the manner the ancients took. I know Apuleius did somewhat so. 87. let the admiration and commiseration. he is lost. as it were. murdereth the child. not because the taineth matter of two days. I may speak scurrility. raised admiration.

spinning at truly many of such writings as come under the Omphale's commandment. the dili- gent imitators of Tully and Demosthenes (most worthy to be imitated) did not so much keep "Sidney may be thinking of Ch. since it is eled. make folks gape at a wretched beggar. which. another time. name winds enough). that we miss the right rather to be pitied than scorned. or in miserable. that west. but we Hercules. Yet deny I not but that they may go well immortal goodness of that God who giveth us together. which easily (as I think) may be and forbidden plainly by Aristotle. 5 of the Poetics. to (as I may term it) diction. and teaching delightful. mixed with it. in woman's attire. or rather disguised. and so caught up cer- speak to this purpose. For AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY 157 . thing beyond the reach of my capacity. wish. Satires 2:152-53. and (which is to be mar- lavished out too many words of this play matter. causeth her mother poesy's honesty to be that would laugh. in the mouth of sonnets: which. of which we out we delight without laughter. but must seem rather a busy loving courtier. Nizolian paper books of their figures and phrases. yet he cannot choose but how heavenly fruit. because he would be sure to delightful teaching which is the end of poesy. and (which is to be I do it because. so is there none so much used in England. the tragedies of Buchanan do to versifiers. and had not as large possession justly bring forth a divine admiration. at which he were worthy to be laughed at cation. But let this be a crable than ridiculous. laugh called in question. extremely winter- were delightful laughter. For as in Alexander's picture well set hands to write and wits to conceive. and in twenty might well want words. them whole. contrarily. than that in truth they feel And the great fault even in that point of laughter. veled) among many scholars.these if we saw walk to follow the method of a dictionary. For the representing of so would never persuade me they were in love. Lord. they may seem monsters. But I rather read lovers' writings. or. But I would this fault were only peculiar ness: as in the other. and with shaH be heartily sorry. as they are excelling parts of pitied) among some preachers. for the outside of it. an with coursing of a letter. therein time. tain swelling phrases (which hang together like a ical part be not upon such scornful matters as man which once told me the wind was at north- stirreth laughter only. if he gave us so good some such men. painted with his great beard and furious should ever have new budding occasions." Juvenal. 57"The worst thing about poverty is that it makes people as by attentive translation (as it were) devour ridiculous.56 For what is it to use of the material point of poesy. so in which we could tum our eyes to nothing. which are rather exe" the Greeks call it) of the writer. Other sorts of poetry almost sometimes to find a matter quite mistaken and go have we none. both private and public. is that they stir betrayed by that same forcibleness or energia (as laughter in sinful things. so strange a power in love procureth delight: and the coldly they apply fiery speeches. if I were a mistress. but. to any poor Englishman. in laugh. strangers. it breedeth both banner of unresistible love. it is even well worse. or garly clown. that all the end of the com. which we play naturally. painted affectation: one time with so farfetched / Quam quod ridiculos homines facit" ?57 But words. Truly I could poesy. as for the respect of them one minds. the laughter. starved. but this is not Aristotle's point there. in a courtesanlike certain "Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se. ing Thraso. But I have among prose-printers. another in stage names. and so is rather pained than delighted with singing the praises of the immortal beauty. which are sufficient though short note. with figures and flowers.. delight and laughter. and by south. We shall. or a beg. we delight to hear the happiness of our friends. but never matter. but that lyrical kind of songs and down the hill against the bias. a self-wise-seeming schoolmaster. jest at strangers. because they speak not English So is that honey-flowing matron eloquence appar- so well as we do? What do we learn. against the law of hospitality. and make them wholly theirs. a heartless threaten. if at least I might be so bold to wish in a and none can be more pitifully abused. how well it might be employed. of mad antics we laugh without delight. But countenance. as men that had scornfulness of the action stirreth laughter. or like an unmannerly daughter showing a bad edu- country. Now. as if they were bound awry-transfonned traveler . those passions. which is words.

uot though not by art: where the other. but they will thrust jewels he should do). but only. by the low and by practice he findeth fittest to nature. who doth generally use. The lat- ter likewise. the modern observing only be noted by the audience more careful to speak number (with some regard of the accent). because they will be abuseth art. when that is done. occasion. striketh a certain SS"Re lives. 15 8 SIR PHILIP SIDNEY .I do not Now. and tenses. the one doubt (I say) that but they used these knacks very ancient. the one (as Cicero testifi. using art to content to wear earrings at the fit and natural show art. all stories of beasts. in fine. it hath that praise. following that which lively to express divers passions. often used such an affinity in this wordish consideration. inflamed with a receive the fuller understanding . greatest beauties can be in a language. finding myself sick among the rest. would bear many speeches. was a piece of the Tower of Babylon's curse. Does he live? He even comes into the Senate. Whether of these be edly) I have found in divers small-learned the most excellent. being indeed capable of any excellent and fishes are rifled up. when he was to drive out Catiline. Nay truly. the great forefathers the conceits of the mind. which we call rhyme. words. artificially which we see men do in choler natu. like those Indians. or by similitudes a man should be put to school to learn his mother not to be satisfied. he would have his words (as to take upon me to teach poets how they should it were) double out of his mouth. courtiers a more sound style than in some profes. I do not doubt.which is not well-grounded rage.now they cast sugar and spice upon every dish (though he know it not) doth according to art. rest is a most tedious prattling. when it were too much choler to be choleric. suasion is the chief mark of oratory . sure to be fine. near the they might win credit of popular ears. chief life of it standeth in that like sounding of the Undoubtedly (at least to my opinion undoubt. which I think were applied. and indeed through their nose and lips. Vivit? lmo in I think this digression will make my meaning Senatum venit. the curiously than to speak truly. which Greek. that they come in multi. I know some will say it is a min- tudes to wait upon any of our conceits. but it needs it not. since it doth delight. that is served to the table. that that figure of repetition. and not to hide art (as in these cases place of the ears. that. tongue. hale them in sometime to a familiar epistle. because with a plain sensibleness sitions of two or three words together." music to the ear: and. the other in the world: and is particularly happy in compo- not to set by it. being so easy of itself. that ment. having noted the grace of those infection grown among the most part of writers: words. which is the end of of Cicero in eloquence. therein lofty sound of the well-weighed syllable. both sors of learning: of which I can guess no other words and tune observing quantity. already either satisfied. I manner. speech. than any whit informing the judg. which gled language. far beyond the Latin: which is one of the credit is the nearest step to persuasion. And why not so much the better. but that the courtier. that hath it equally with any other tongue eth of them) pretended not to know art. which. the have. But for the uttering sweetly and properly when Antonius and Crassus. But what? Methinks I deserve to be pounded Tully. 58 Indeed. which per. and so do that do. exercising of it. The ancient (no doubt) more fit for music. with his rhyme. whereto our language giveth us great think all herberists. and so void of those cumbersome differences of ing the memory from the purpose whereto they cases. For my part. but only to that it wanteth grammar: for grammar it might explain to a willing hearer. and more fit cause. as it for straying from poetry to oratory: but both have were with a thunderbolt of eloquence." &c. moods. and so framed his verse. the other modern: the ancient marked the sparingly. any quantity of each syllable. flieth from nature. And we. genders. of versifying there are two sorts. to show some one or two spots of the common rally. fowls. acknowledging ourselves somewhat awry. rather oversway. prove anything to a contrary disputer. "Vivit. Now we may bend to the right use both of matter and for similitudes in certain printed discourses. certainly is as absurd a surfeit to the ears as is taking the best of both the other? Another will say possible: for the force of a similitude not being to it wanteth grammar. and according to that man may see doth dance to his own music.

and rhymer. very gracelessly contained in poetry. that tor of Comutus. no more to jest at the reverent title of a can do anything. Ovid. as due:true. will become such a flingness of this discourse is much too much mome as to be a momus of poetry. before any bringers-in of all civility. and. in his whole language." or the next before that. to believe. but that I find already the tri. Italian scholar and critic. is fit for both sorts: Scaliger. that there are many mysteries hath the Spanish: and. with Landino. called antepenu[tima. as though they were next inheritors to you shall suddenly grow 'Herculean offspring.. as near the dull-making cataract of Nilus that you plaise:taise.' poets. word that hath his accent in the last syllable sav. and we. which of purpose were writ- may they use dactyls. though by another way. and little more to believe. though we do not observe beloved of the gods that whatsoever they write quantity. proceeds of a divine fury. That caesura. a certain rustical disdain. by the most fair. never printers' shops. most wise.59 that they were first in neither majesty. or selves. immortal by their verses. no more to laugh at the name of 60\Vhat not? 61"Thus doing. when they tell you they will make you will not do so absolutely. with Aristotle. were the ancient treasurers of the Grecians' di vin- pose: there being in either sweetness. since the cause why it is curse I must send you. name oflearning. to believe. that while you live. of the sdrucciola. under the veil of the French. not esteemed in England is the fault of poet-apes. you live in love." "si quid mea Italians term sdrucciola. if you the English hath all three. The English is subject to ten darkly. lastly.'" The quotations are from Horace. by which might be said. cannina pOSSUl1t. hath both Anchises. femina: be placed with Dante's Beatrix. rhetoric. with much more itself up to look to the sky of poetry. you shall be of kin to almost fail of. lastly. it obtaius the same pur. for the ancient. which the French call the you be "libertino patre natus. to believe.61 Thus doing. Thus doing. you shall be the Italian cannot put in the last syllable. of the other side. I con. lest by profane wits it should be none of these defects. nor to be driven by a poet's verses (as Bubonax and void of no gift that ought to be in the noble was) to hang himself. hath not one fables.60 ing two. though the next to the last. The French. and to be honored by poesy. 59Pietro Bembo (1470-1547). your name shall flourish in the nor Spanish have. and wanting ity. your memory die from the earth for want of jure you all that have had the evil luck to read this an epitaph. that it pleased the heavenly they cannot yield the sweet sliding fit for a verse. which the denly grow "Herculea proles. with consonants. logic. have so earth-creeping a mind that it cannot lift father:rather.' 'if my poems fools. your soul shall mer is buono:suono. . for the rhyme. the of Virgil. that no philosopher's precepts can for. ies of poesy. thus doing. with Bembus. then. But if (fie of such a but) you be born so the male. AN APOLOGY FOR POETRY 159 . but the sdrucciola he hath not: where cannot hear the planetlike music of poetry. Deity. that they are so Now. yet thus much are either false or feeble. and Quid l1on?. motion:potiol1. that they Virgil. The example of the for. abused. most rich. with other vulgar language I know. to believe them- cisely: which other languages either cannot do. yet we observe the accent very pre. as bon: son. the French. to believe. therefore. nor to be rhymed to death. neither Italian Thus doing. Truly the English. with Clauserus. and never get not poets. natural and moral. even the very rhyme itself many a poetical preface. but to believe." but still in shall dwell upon superlatives. poesy is full of virtue-breeding delightfulness. philosophY. you French named the "masculine rhyme. or breath. and the female. since the blames laid against it as is said to be done in Ireland. of the other side. since. the transla- Dutch so. by Hesiod and Homer. or Virgil's semina. no more to scorn the sacred myster. our tongue is most fit to favor for lacking skill of a sonnet. when you honor poesy. though you be 'the son of a freed slave. thus doing." you shall sud- "female. though I enlarged. ing place in the midst of the verse. the Italian is so full of vowels sooner make you an honest man than the reading that it must ever be cumbered with elisions. even in the name of the nine Muses. So that since the ever-praise-worthy will not wish unto you the ass's ears of Midas. to give us all knowledge. Lastly. or rather. most all. in the behalf of all poets. ink-wasting toy of mine. with me. die.

Crites. but rather a formal debate on the drama among four speakers: Crites. for tragedies like All for Love (r 678). closed for twenty years during the Civil War and the Protectorate of Cromwell. enthusiastic about the advances in learning since the Renaissance." said Isaac Newton. and Fletcher as exemplars? Or would the English stage imitate Racine and Corneille. The drama was beginning to revive. had reopened only six years before. with whom Dryden had publicly quar- reled over the issue of rhyme in drama. Lord Buckhurst. An Essay of Dramatic Poesy might be thought of as one volley of the international controversy in the late seventeenth cen- tury over the relative value of the ancient and modem writers. One was the status of the so-called Three 160 JOHN DRYDEN . of middle-class origins. Conservative thinkers like Swift felt that the ancients . Dryden gives the other side equal time (or nearly) but manages to reserve some ofthe best arguments for himself. now long out of fashion. Although no one supposes that any such debate actually took place. It remained to be seen on wljat model the English stage would return. By using the debate form. Jonson. Dryden's contemporary and fellow Modem." An Essay of Dramatic Poesy (r668) derives from Dryden's practical experience in all areas of the theater." is prob- ably Charles Sackville. the present might progress beyond it. whose name suggests his captiously critical air. And Neander (Greek for "new man") is Dryden himself. ("Dwarfs who stand on the shoulders of giants may see farther than the giants them- selves. may be Sir Robert Howard. the speakers have traditionally been identified with contemporary personages. Would the new drama be built on the native Tudor-Stuart model and look to Shakespeare.Homer. The Essay is neither a Platonic dialogue nor a treatise. who had created the elegant but rather formal drama of France. while others. Lisideius. and as the satirical author of Mac Flecknoe (r682) and the political allegory Absalom and Achitophel (r681). where Charles II and his cavaliers had spent most of the interregnum? Underlying these topical concerns are a set of more abstract issues that divided Renaissance and neoclassical critics. John Dryden 16 3 1-1700 Best known as the poet laureate of Charles II and James II. and Neander. but the traditions of the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage had lapsed during the interregnum. called "heroic plays. Dryden's patron before his laureateship and an eminent Cavalier poet in his own right. Dryden's brother-in-law and sometime collaborator. Eugenius. Dryden was also one of the most successful of the Restoration dramatists. Like Jonathan Swift's Battle of the Books. which means "well~born.could never be surpassed. But there was another even more topical concern. Virgil. The London theaters. Juvenal. Lisideius is Sir Charles Sedley (the name is a Latinized anagram of Sedley). felt that by building upon the foundations of the past. in r662. Eugenius. famous for comedies like Marriage a-Ia-lvlode (r673). and for operatic melodramas.) This context helps explain the debate between Crites and Eugenius on the merits of classical and modem drama.

7 ("The proper magnitude is comprised within such" limits that the sequence of events. representing its passions and humours. how can art function without them? An Essay of Dramatic Poesy. but one could claim that it follows as a corollary from the Unities of Time and Action: A single action occurring within a single day could not possibly. implying that it is too broad. l Under Unity of Time. take place over a very widespread area. 8). Unity of Time may derive from one passage in Poetics. Unity of Place does not appear in Aristotle or Horace. and between Lisideius and Neander. which is contra- dicted by another passage in Poetics. Crites objects that the definition is "a genere et fine. "lively" takes its older meaning of lifelike. JOHN DRYDEN r6r . ideally in a single room. Crites is correct but has missed the main ambiguity in the definition: The combat- ants have differing interpretations of the key words 'Just" and "lively. A third issue was that of decorum: All acts of violence. for Neander. will admit of a change from bad fortune to good or from good to bad"). this time of a play. according to Pierre ComeilIe. it was claimed that the plot of a drama might take up no more than a single day from the first incident to the last. a set of rules for drama supposedly derived from Aristotle and Horace. and Action. Ch. according to the law of probability or necessity." The derivation from Horace and the Ars Poetica appears clearly in the last clause. and Stage Decorum? Are they rules of art that hold for the ages or are they merely artistic conventions? Beyond this there is the further question: If there is no real difference between conventions and rules." For Crites. when it gives a faithful impression of the original. an image is 'just" when it has been constructed according to correct rules. 5 ("Tragedy endeavors as far as pos- sible to confine itself to a single revolution of the sun or to exceed this but slightly"). and characters and speeches appropriate to the one would not be appropriate to the other. A second issue was that of generic integrity: comedy and tragedy were consid- ered mutually exclusive. should be performed offstage and revealed to the audience through narration. then how do artistic styles change? If conventions may be irresponsibly disregarded. since it could serve as a definition of a novel or poem as well. especially deaths." that it states only general class and purpose. As the debate is joined between Crites and Eugenius. the plot of a drama should last no longer than the dra- matic representation itself . Unity of Action meant that everything in a drama should further a single plot and that subplots. for the delight and instruction of mankind. hinges on a definition. Under Unity of Place. Another confusion seems to arise over just what "mankind" is: While some of the debaters seem to be absolutists. in the days before automobiles and airplanes. were to be avoided. Neander is a critical relativist who feels that the French and the English wiII be delighted and instructed by very different sorts of lUnity of Action is the only unity that is taken directly and unequivocally from Aristotle's Poetics (Ch. like Aristotle's Poetics. For Lisideius.Unities of Time. ideally. like that of Gloucester and his sons in King Lear. Ch. which Lisideius defines as "a just and lively image of human nature. the reader is forced to dweIl on an all-subsuming question: What is the sta- tus of the Three Unities. These matters were arguably a part of both Greek and Roman dramatic practice. The gravediggers in Hamlet or Iago's bawdy jokes in Othello would thus be inappropriate.two hours or so. though only Horace comments on them. Place. and the changes of fortune to which it is sub- ject. Generic Integrity. for Neander it means something more like spirited. it was asserted that the plot should be laid in a single city.

Neander applies his audience-centered criteria. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. . 2 vols. who was also his age's most versatile practicing playwright. Watson. Dent. while Crites puts forth a pseudo-mimetic argument that the characters of a drama may not speak poetry since their counterparts in real life spoke prose. London and New York: Cambridge University Press. Huntley. Laura. John Dryden: The Poet.) Here as elsewhere. the Critic." In The Cambridge Companion to John Dlyden. Three Essays. Steven N. Trowbridge. T. Elmer Joseph. in blank verse. on the contrary their apparent unanimity on the definition masks genuine dis- agreements over what drama ought to be. Abstract argument recedes as a major poet responds to his great exemplars. J. This is not to suggest that the debaters are quarreling over the meaning of terms. Pechter. Zwicker. 1962. George. Hoyt. Louis I. Jonson. Hume. including the popular All for Love. Mishra. Brown. arguing that rhyme may be used in tragic drama if it is used well and thereby gains the acceptance of the pub- lic." Modem Philology 44 (1946): 84-9 6. Neander concedes half his ground by admitting the inappropriateness of rhyme in comedy. Frank Livingstone. In the final debate. and Fletcher. New Delhi: Bahri Publications.that Shakespeare was not so certainly the greatest of the Elizabethan dramatists in Dryden's day as he is today. or The Silent Woman. It is also enlightening to watch the prin- ciples of rhetorical criticism applied by a sensitive critic. In this section. "The Place of Rules in Dryden's Criticism. New York: Haskell House. however. 1970' Eliot. 1966. The Consistency of John Dryden's Literary Criticism in TheOlY and Practice. It is interesting to see how tastes have changed . Albuquerque: New Mexico University Press. 2 For many readers. with Crites attacking the practice and Neander defending it. 2004· Cole. Dryden was later to recant his position and write his tragedies. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 1978. 1970. John Dryden: Of Dramatic Poesy and Other Critical Essays. Robert D. Dryden's Criticism. 2Neither Aristotle nor Horace had so argued. things. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Should the characters in Julius Caesar have spoken in Latin because their historical originals did? r62 JOHN DRYDEN . S. certainly. Dlyden's Classical TheOlY of Literature. Selected Bibliography Bredvold. 1934. The Intellectual Milieu of John Dryden. London: J. 1975. and his explication of Jonson's Epicoene. Crites and Neander square off directly over the use of rhymed verse in the drama. John Dryden: His Theory and Practice of Drama. 59-74. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 195 I. the Dramatist. ed. and it is not clear where such literal-minded mimesis would stop. the most fascinating section of An Essay of Dramatic Poesy is Neander's comparative discussion of Shakespeare. (In fact. On DI)'den's Essay of Dramatic Poesy. B. Edward. "Dryden and the Imperial Imagination.

either way. said. and he fell.3 to be in be made on that subject. see p. moved against each other in parallel and taking notice of it. 160. or of swallows in a chimney: those little the late war. Lisideius and Neander. and our countrymen. or set that due course.2 went breaking. they ordered the rels. poets should be as well silenced as seditious 3Por the traditional ascriptions of these names. though almost vanishing a day wherein the two most mighty and best before they reached them. replied Eugenius. ill a relation as I am going to make of their dis. Crites.From An Essay of Dramatic Poesy It was that memorable day. some took smiling to us. having disengaged duce not only a panegyric upon the victory. that if the concerrunent of this battle towards the Park. the Lord Admiral. and leaving the town almost empty. a person of a sharp judgment. that they can pro- what they desired: after which. on tle went from them. the air to break about them like the noise of distant began to make particular exceptions against some writers. under the happy con. must pay for it. while the better able. All the company smiled at the conceit strict silence. they will at last deplore the odds under which watermen to let fall their oars more gently. and said the public magistrate ought to send betimes to forbid them. so that all men. by victory: adding. yet still seeming to appointed fleets which any age had ever seen.1665. in being subject to the reading and Amongst the rest. more eager than before. While these vast floating bodies. and left behind them that great answered Lisideius. and the riches of listened till such time as the sound by little and lit- the universe. some cross the river. the confirmation of it. you AN ESSAY OF DRAMA TIC POESY . when our Navy engaged the Dutch: undulations of sound. In my opinion. I in the first summer of thunder. was the first who congrat- lines. world have mistaken in him for ill nature. who to my knowledge are fall of waters which hindered them from hearing already so provided. preachers. to shoot the bridge. Crites. concluding that his courage deserved a bet- then everyone favouring his own curiosity with a ter destiny. if themselves from many vessels which rode at need be. either out of modesty writ not at all. afterward the peace and quiet of all honest people. that we had but this to desire in little and little. and the worst of them surest to borrowed names. dis. being alarmed coast. ulated to the rest that happy omen of our nation's duct of his Royal Highness. either side. who their wit and quality have made known to all the watch a battle with more diligence than the ravens town: and whom I have chose to hide under these and birds of prey. the commerce of nations. all seeking the noise in the depth of have wished the victory at the price he knew he silence. and that it concerned 'June 3. that ill James II. value upon their poems. he could scarce down it. opinion. that no argument company together: three of them persons whom could scape some of those eternal rhymers. 2James. but Crites. that we might hear no more of noise of the cannon from both navies reached our that noise which was now leaving the English ears about the City. as to let them be often Taking then a barge which a servant of desired and long expected! There are some of Lisideius had provided for them. Eugenius lifting up his head. into the line of the enemies. others had not been so exceeding great. a funeral elegy on the Duke: wherein anchor in the Thames. and in a dreadful suspense of the event. that they may not suffer by so be first in upon the quarry. but. which the went following the sound as his fancy led him. it was the fortune of hearing of so many ill verses as he was sure would Eugenius. Adding. retain somewhat of their first horror which they puted the command of the greater half of the had betwixt the fleets: after they had attentively globe. and almost blocked up the after they have crowned his valour with many lau- passage towards Greenwich. When the rest had concurred in the same with it. and which they knew was then deciding. Duke of York. it was not long ere they perceived of Lisideius. they made haste those impertinent people of whom you speak. every one somewhat too delicate a taste in wit.

if he be not one of those jest. I am so great a lover of poesy. for as to my own partic. yet he ought to be how many proffers they make to dip. tlemen. wish them all rewarded who attempt but to do but puts it into practice more unluckily than any well. that many whom we till he drags them to the end of another line. creep in one dull line. because they meant it. first for want of thought. 'tis but witches are justly hanged because they think the surface: tl1ey skim over it but to catch a gnat. I ask you if one of them He affects plainness. sub ea candi. both her wings will never be able to escape. said Lisideius. he than one of their brethren was by Sylla the dicta. all my heart. 1'''Oeorge Withers (1588-1667) was 11 Puritan poet. quad concernment. Sulla ordered that he be paid a reward from the booty on sale. there are multi- tudes who would think you malicious and tl1em injured: especially him whom yciu first described. that I could knows better than tl1e other what a poet should be. at least I would not have them worse used man. I have a mortal apprehension then of expression. said Eugenius. at a public meeting. When his famous poem first sIt has been conjectured that Dryden's two poets were came out in the year 1660. so exactly. cannot strike a blow to hurt any.pursue your point too far. An Essay on Criticism: "And ten low words oft lively. the ghost of a another meaning: in fine.5 'tis easy to guess whom you intend. to cover his want of imag- does not perpetually pay us with c1enches 6 upon ination: when he writes the serious way. you may speak your plea- You have described him." Martial. whom this victory with the help of nor seems to have it. yet assure yourselves. he creeps along with ten little words in vendebat jubere ei praemium tribui. Well gen- believing they did mischief.S and helps out his numbers with Far ta. et est pauper:9 and without naming them. provided that he never write serve to lay under all their pies at the Lord again. as our seldom they touchit: and when they do. respec~ivelYI who wrote on the battle. now and then he does not offer at a catachresis7 or or seeming contradiction. tiane ne quid pastea scriberef. Mayor's Christmas. and all the pretty expletives he can find. his style and matter are everywhere alike. language in this way. that they would never trouble us again. the high- words and a certain clownish kind of raillery? If est flight of his fancy is some miserable antithesis. Pauper videri Cinna vult. are the just resemblance of his wit: he intends at least. sure of these authors. and in the comic he is Clevelandism. while know were as bountifully thanked upon the same the sense is left tired half way behind it: he doubly condition. is the most calm. 7Abuse of language. and he is poor. JOHN DRYDEN ." Cicero. tl1ese swallows which we see before us on one who is so much a well-willer to the satire. I have seen them Richard Wild and Richard Flecknqe." IiPuns. when a bad po'et he is the very Withers lO of the City: they have among the people offered him an epigram made on himself. 4"We have seen how. never to be whom the French would call un mauvais btiffan. ular. and though he you may observe how near the water they stoop. caught. had some advantage of education and converse. 4 I could wish with and Unta. the latter'S. his poetry neither has wit in it. like him in Martial. but still leaves you in as even a tem- epigramma in eum jecisset tantwnmada altemis per as he found you. wresting and torturing a word into still reaching at soine thin conceit. of two poets. bought more editions of his works than would written in limping elegiacs. replied Crites. statim ex Us rebus quas tunc poetry. to be HCf. themselves to be such: and suffer deservedly for and then mount into the air and leave it. starves all his verses. John Cleveland (1613-1658) tortured Epigrams 8:I9. to spare no man. but though I and some few that I an1 afraid to come after you with my other more about the town may give you a peaceable extremity of poetry: he is one of those who having hearing. and For amongst others. said Crites. Pro Archia Poeta 10:25. But the poets' faults seem to correspond to the two criteria of value in the subsequent definition of a play: The former poet's language fails to be just. '''Cinna wishes to seem poor . that the Thames. Pope. peaceable writer you ever read: tor: Quem in canciOlie vidimus (says Tully) cum ei he never disquiets your passions with the least libellum malus paeta de papula subjecisset. he is a very Leveller in versibus langiusculis. and yet how punished for the malice of the action. every line. and that too flies before him.

but for being new. when he writings. the envy of one. and his fellow poet. and IS. ElIzabethan era and the contemporary period. for aught If your quarrel (said Eugenius) to those who I see. be grounded only on your reverence to than I imagined. as Sir Indignor quidquam reprehendi.reading it in the midst of change-time. as not to judge we equal the come. and flow- compositum. Pace vestra Liceat which he thought . this day. For you hear living.ciens et des modernes .and within the modern age. if him: therefore I would ask Crites to what part of their admirers should praise anything of his: poesy he would confine his arguments. or oppose any age in this age. and Nam quos contemnimus eorum quoque laudes whether he would defend the general cause of the contemnimus. come short of many which were written in the age in which I live or so dishonourably of my the last age: but my comfort is if we are over- own country. we pass them." literature ." and "If like wine. how many years does it take for a poem to H"Let whoever does not hate Bavius [love your songs. and in some sur. is curse sufficient. that any man should intrude so far where the arguments are not like to reach close on !nto his province. or who lately were. said Crites.it not difficult to prove. but would think he had hard measure. poems improve with age. so COlTect 14"1 get angry when something is attacked. All I would wish. that methinks any praises of the Modems against this of ours?15 should be welcome. they neither rise to the dignity Crites a little while considering upon this of the last age. as or lyric way it will be hard for them to show us we find the Ancients themselves were in refer" one such amongst them. Eclogues 3:90. added against the other. nor to any of the Ancients. And farther." Virgil. that they who love his writings. ut vina. he may cry out of the writers of this time. 12 There are so few who write well Ancients against the Modems. Satyricon.a traditional argument known as the qtterelle"des l3"If you will allow me to say so. bThe periods in dispute are classical and modern 12"\Ve despise the praise of those whom we despise. not take it well. not for being coarse or clumsy. sed quia nuper. yet on the other side those we now see the other side. it will be only by our own countrymen: and Ancients in most kinds of poesy. Si meliora dies. qui Bavium non done well in all kinds of it. poemata reddit. we shall take up more time this Lisideius. replied Crites. primi omnium eloquentiam perdidistis: 13 that the Ancients were superior to the Modems. AN ESSAY OF DRAMATIC POESY 1 65 . and who does But I see I am engaging in a wide dispute. than each man's occasions will allow well. illepideve putetur. for poesy is of so large an extent. is not in any of your Eugenius was somewhat surprised. ing as Mr. scire velim pretium chartis quotus arroget if he has been received amongst great persons. may still so many both of the Ancients and Modems have admire him. either dixisse. there is no man more ready to adore plays of the Greek or Roman poets comparable to those great Greeks and Romans than I am: but on ours. heard Crites make choice of the subject. for though I never judged the antiquity. 2. in reason than Petronius of his. Maeviusl. who is lord in the art of quibbling. neither know I any reason why I may more surpass them in all the other. nothing so courtly writ. that they lost their bar. ¥ain by the candles' ends: but what will you say. I have undertaken a harder province now write. said he. with more would limit their dispute to Dramatic Poesy. told Eugenius that if he pleased." Petroni US. or which expresses so much the conversation of a gentleman. Epistles II. that or the last age to this of ours. be ripe?" Horace. the eloquence.I:76-177 and 34-35. nay so And after. nothing so majestic. epic not be as zealous for the reputation of our age. I believe there is no man who writes evening. you have debauched the true old poetry so far. nothing so even. II etc. either side. as we have many now ence to those who lived before them. that in citing one odit. They can produce your Horace saying. Waller. annus?14 I can assure you he is. sweet. nature. for in the. you have killed the old an. and we demand. non quia crasse John Suckling. I cannot think so contemptibly of acted. which is the soul of it. if we yield to them in this one part of poesy. vehement they were at it.

since it will serve to define poetry and prose fiction as well as drama. nor any other. but all desired the more errors of the school have been detected. so copi. reckoning from retrench the superfluities of expression. more noble secrets in optics. though Crites raised a logical to decide their merit. business of all the virtuosi in Christendom) that or to discover the failings of his adversary. being desired by and that the drama is wholly ours. when rightly and generally cultivated. 166 JOHN DRYDEN . had and humours. but itself has been observed of arts and sciences. being pushed on by many hands. both who they were that van- 16HBy genus and end": Crites is complaining that the defi. must of neces- sible to be decided who writ the best plays. a description than a definition. be born. It that it should never mislead the sense. who had writ anatomy. Ancients. Lycophron. since every age has a when Lisideius told him that it was necessary. it is subject. and how nition is not restrictive enough. which to make a judgement of what others writ: that he though it be found in all ages and all persons conceived a play ought to be. in these last hundred years agreed on by both parties. and the same century they have arrived to great Eugenius was going to continue this discourse. evening in their return. by the happiness of some to have imitated well: for we do not only build writers yet living. Sophocles. before sity go forward. and the rest of them. the company to begin. the problem often they were crowned: while the Asian kings."just. and no wonder. yet poesy image of human nature. kind of universal genius. as Mr. and more useful experiments in philosophy have been they were the more importunate. almost a new nature has been revealed to us? that He had no sooner said this. either to prove his own advantages. a just and lively that pretend to the same reputation. Crites. this once Is it not evident. medicine. discovered. nothing so elevated. when he was that was in those times of writing well. 17Natural philosophy. 16 and so not altogether perfect. in understood or practised by our fathers. Cowley. Aristotle. that they might take the cool of the evident. that in one be led and governed by it. and row Italian. surpass them. received by the rest: and after they had given ous. than in all those of that subject. that it was only a genere et historians have been diligent to record of fine. Nothing seems more easy to him. has already triumphed over the Crites himself did not much oppose it: and every Ancients." "lively. that those who now write. French. as for the order to the watermen to turn their barge. I can make it softly. but by their models. astronomy. perfection. Even his own opinion. nor Horace. that the sweetness of English verse was never If confidence presage a victory. in this manner: ion. we know what a play should be? but. who first taught us to mould upon their foundations." and "representing" . each might have (when the study of philosophy17 has been the recourse to it. to Dramatic poesy had time enough. spoke on behalf of the All of them were thus far of Eugenius' opin. and the changes of fortune to which greater honours decreed to the professors of it. and to Thespis (who first invented it) to Aristophanes. they had judges ordained This definition. favour of him to give the definition of a play. credulous and doting ages from Aristotle to us? Lisideius. to grow up. than one was willing to acknowledge how much our to overcome those whom it is our greatest praise poesy is improved. our thoughts into easy and significant words. to take a standing live in it to some particular studies: the work then measure of their controversy. indeed rather science. between them. and to flourish in maturity.is slippery. Euripides. had ever done it. representing its passions being then in more esteem than now it is. after some modest denials. for the delight and instruction of and consequently the rivalship was more high mankind. Eugenius. because neither made. to make our rhyme so properly a part of the verse. at last so true it is that nothing spreads more fast than confessed he had a rude notion of it. which inclines those that before they proceeded further.as Sir John Denham. science. but which served Add to this the more than common emulation to guide him in his private thoughts. quished in these wars of the theatre. was yet well Aeschylus. and Spanish plays. for how was it pos. In fact. and full of spirit. and prizes to reward it: and objection against it. is that the meaning of central teTIIlS .

since therefore all ing to do better. I have already shown. and other beauties. that virtuous emulation is turned into direct action. And the reason of it is But now since the rewards of honour are taken obvious to everyone. should be propor- malice. that the time of the feigned away. have rendered therefore the poet's duty. (either This rule of time how well it has been such as relate to the justness and symmetry of the observed by the Ancients. I10tT)'ttlCf\<. by the same rule which concludes and so many severe judges. yet so slothful. Eugenius. and disfigured. For it is unnatural that one act. like should be supposed longer by the audience. of close into that part of the story which they intend those poets. if yet supposed time of half a day. to us a perfect resemblance of her. he treats the limitations of time in tragedy as a stage 18Ve lle ius Paterculus. Paterculus) et nunc invidia. time in which it is represented. that desire is incitement enough to hinder that play is to be thought the nearest imitation of others from it. rated places. without attempt. is not longer than the rest. it follows. nunc admiratio inci. of which none boast in this our age. sometimes admiration four hours. the compass of a natural day. or giddy intrigues of Unites. with the length of plays regulated by such extra- It-rhe Poetics. or fable of the play. Des Trois of a debauched court. given the limits of pre modern transportation . whose plot or action is confined within reason. that one act take not up the poets would want encouragement to take. But while Ari stotle treats the unity of action as an essential matter of art. and. as it were.19 Poetics. I must remember you that all the rules by between the acts. Those portion to the rest. they have handed down spoke or written. the three unities. had it. that all the Ancients well. which ought to be a factious city. but it is implied by the constraints of the unities of Horace 's Art of Poetry is an excellent . is certainly most difficult) not essential to the play) were delivered to us from the very beginning of their plays. ' Tis a reputation too unprofitable. You see them in their tragedies (wherein tions. 20 tationem accendit: Emulation is the spur of wit. and action. but such as understand not theirs. namely. restores to us that second book of of the sun" then its single action cannot occur at widely sepa- his concerning comedy. Certainly. who either lived before him. which being represented in our plays. that you may should be imagined to exceed the time in which it know how much you are indebted to those your is represented on the stage. to imitate this general proportion of time. to take care that no act monstrous. place. If a tragedy "is confined to one revolution and. AN ESSA Y OF DRAMA TIC POESY . which we practise the drama at this day. But. or. which we. which are to follow this rule. The unity of time they comprehend in twenty- and sometimes envy. which is out of pro- they had ability to go through the work. in the Historia Romana 1:17. 18 near it as can be contlived. neglecting to look on. or the episodical ornaments. I believe. And this. and that the intervals masters. except we have the confidence to say our they set the audience. neous matters as dramatic competitions. convention. plays are acted on the theatre in a space of time to take the necessary pains for it. of time. why you have now so few good poets. narrations. falling from the observations which Aristotle made.and Grecian commonwealths scarce afforded Out of these two have been extracted the them a nobler subject than the unmanly luxuries famous rules which the French call. or as quickens our endeavours. witness.rhe unity of Place is not explicitly mentioned in the which Aristotle has left us 1t£pt TI1<. most of their plays will plot. Of that book zo. and be ashamed to have so ill requited and inequalities of time be supposed to fall out them. such as descrip. Time and Action. much labour and long study is the parts of it are (as near as may be) to be equally required: which pains. which is wanting in him. or were for the action or principal object of it. Alit aemulatio ingenia (says observed in every regular play. at the post where wit is better. that time. leaving the his contemporaries: we have added nothing of our former part to be delivered by narration: so that own. 'Tis ill copiers. yet wishing they much within the compass of twenty-four hours. since the other four are then to Ancients have been faithful imitators and wise be straitened within the compass of the remaining observers of that nature which is so tom and ill half. is the nature.comment. our sub-divided. that it contents itself to tioned as near as can be to the duration of that condemn and cry down others. namely. in short.

and hold the audience place: for a greater distance will bear no propor. 'tis ended in the of ground (which the stage should represent) we same place. they suffer you this is as evident as any of the former. . not to behold him.many other imperfect hended under the larger denomination of one actions which conduce to it. Affranius. a street. and the reason of ride the beginning of the course. 'tis probable. which our on which it is represented. Martial. and of Caecilius. from the precepts and practice of the Ancients) for the observation of this. a scene some of them an age. must be all subservient to the great one. great and complete action. as in of the audience in a full repose. Now the poet is to aim at one long as Aristophanes and Plautus are extant. we should judge our modem plays. even the very ob- tedious expectation of seeing the poet set out and stacles. places. in the same place Jonson has observed in his Discoveries. the French are to be most commended. which is allotted in If by these rules (to omit many other drawn the acting. the stage is so supplied with persons that it show us. saving them the which all things in his play. yet There ought to be but one action. are to be subservient. I will not difference and reconcilement of Thais and deny but by the variation of painted scenes. tion to the shortness of time. but promotes the marriage of Charea and own deceit) may sometimes imagine it several Chremes's sister. which may all be compre" brought to pass but by . but so last in execution. which is not the chief business of the fancy (which in these cases will contribute to its play. and that you may know it to be the are sometimes in more countries than the map can same. as Ben be continued through the play. That themselves so strictly to the unity of place. Caesar the As for the third unity. a third appears written better. which is that of place. or chamber. would destroy the unity of the poem. could they be any action: that which is the first in intention. Sophocles. it is unnatural to conceive it many. and Seneca are in our hands. But this cannot be the same town or city. and the continuity or joining of the scenes. till he is in sight of the goal. and yet 168 JOHN DRYDEN . under-plots: such as in Terence's Eunuch is the and those far distant from one another. is never empty all the time: he who enters second But if we will allow the Ancients to have con- has business with him who was on before. takes up in you never see in any of their plays. we must acknowledge them to have before the second quits the stage. in a delightful suspense of what will be. increases my admiration of the Ancients. by the the Ancients meant no other by it than what the testimonies of Horace. being but one and the language happily expresses in the name of same place. to the carrying on of while the tragedies of Euripides. that which should be the business of a day. and every one of who translated some of them: and yet wanted so them has some affairs with all the rest. principally intended by the poet. half-Menander. that the scene ought to that there may be many actions in a play. and may judge of Varius. and 'tis a Varius. it would be no longer one play.the race is to be concluded: and. with some appearance of probability. great stock of wit in the loss of Menander among This Corneille21 calls La liaison des scenes. the Phaedria. by the writer. For the second unity. to pass from one of them to another. much of him that he was called by C. instead of one action they changed in the middle of an act: if the act begins are the epitomes of a man's life. among the Romans: we may guess at good mark of a well contrived ·play when all the Menander's excellency by the plays of Terence. but it 21In the Discours des trois unites (1660). and Velleius logicians do by their Finis. but two: not but the Ancients meant by it. For two actions equally laboured and driven on and just upon you. next to the Ancients. They tie that few of them would endure the trial. says Comeille. the end or scope of Paterculus.each other. which is that of action. and for one spot in a garden. but they where it was laid in the beginning: for the stage. persons are known to . if that is one complete action which leaves the mind those places be supposed so near each other. 'Tis probable that these. and recovered. and trived well. the Greek poets. would decide the controversy. it still carries the greater likelihood of truth. I can never see one of those plays which are now written. questionless we are deprived of a who has business with him.

you will need no other guide to our Be pleased then in the first place to take notice. and. or regard the good to have arrived to perfection in the reign of the plays of the last. and that in the purity of his style if natural causes be more known now than in the (which Tully so much valued that he ever carried time of Aristotle. it follows his works about him) there is yet left in him great that poesy and other arts may with the same pains room for admiration. that the Greek poesy. illis instrui credimus: 22 That praise example. and we believe we are injured by the have from them. of all they knew. that the greatest man of the last age (Ben more perfect images of human life than we.23 was so far from it. it is a fashion when he wore their clothes. In the mean time I must desire you to take it will rest for you to prove that they wrought notice. Petronius Arbiter. Ancients. because more studied. and I think there is Horace. and only remaining in their therefore after their lines. Jonson) was willing to give place to them in all which. party if you follow him. Lucan. or censure is certainly the most sincere which dressed in all the ornaments and colours of the unbribed posterity shall give us. We draw not being so long dead. for of Terence. et praesentia you. Doubtless many things appear flat to we have joined our own industry. prefer him above all other poets. but we cannot make it out.. praeterita admiratione prosequi711ur. it is yet so darkly delivered to us that Crites had no sooner left speaking. that granted. but in the latter you are careful to conceal how much U"\Ve praise more freely what we have heard about than what we have seen. I invidia. and Audita visis libentius laudamus. and whether you con. and want neither veneration nor present and taught by the past. You will interest of fame or profit can the living lose by the pardon me therefore if I presume he loved their reputation of the dead? On the other side. Seneca. there are few or with purpose to detract from them. that to admire them them we must make use of the advantages we as we ought. for (had we sat us.I must acknowledge further. and that too is so uncertain that in some I have observed in your speech that the former of their plays we have reason to conjecture they part of it is convincing as to what the Modems have profited by the rules of the Ancients. If excellencies of the Modems. enough to assure me that I ought to think the same but your instance in philosophy makes for me. Juvenal. the wit of which depended on some custom or down with a dull imitation of them) we might story which never came to our knowledge. we should understand them better have received from them. had their own from him. it is no wonder if we hit some explaining the propriety and elegancy of many airs and features which they have missed. then have lost somewhat ofthe old perfection. which I had before passed over not what you urge of arts and sciences. we view the present with envy and the they have excelled them. But since I great truth which Velleius Paterculus affIrms. AN ESSAY OF DRAMATIC POESY . for what serious thoughts which are new in him. I deny words in Virgil. which never acquired any that was new. but a learned plagiary of all the others. that the dis- modem poets will equally instruct you to admire tinction of it into acts was not known to them." Historia Romana 2:92. Eugenius. in knew but where to place arrive still nearer to perfection. thus began: chorus. or per. both the best and worst of the Old Comedy. I will produce before you Father Ben. 'tis not possible they should make us having the life before us. you some part of their defects. but those of nature. is have flourished in some ages more than others. but to these assistances than we do. seeing in your discourse you have avoided things. and none among us can imagine I do it enviously. and some few You track him everywhere in their snow. We own all the helps we past with admiration. and books. Eugenius. it. He was not only a professed imitator of to make good. but haps on some criticism in their language. have otherwise a great veneration for him. it shall now be my task to show Horace. if it were. besides the experience understand perfectly. et will use no farther argument to you than his his nos obnd. or the Ancients. as common things. gratitude while we acknowledge that to overcome 23The time of Aristophanes. To read Macrobius. who had waited with some impatience All we know of it is from the singing of their for it. that they without consideration. which Crites has affirmed sider the bad plays of our age.

Thus this great a yawning kind of expectation. the Romans generally bor- gested notion of a play. which was to consummated this art. and speak a hundred or must confess it is so lively that from thence much more verses in a tragic tone. the design or in such undertakings. before the play. and you see something ficed to Fortune. had been tolerable. and and the obstacles which hindered the design or committed incest with his mother. and leaves you far distant from that hope in Thebes or Troy. Ch. the catastrophe.. the flu80C. than by acts. the protasis or entrance. and pro. I declare it is not alto- First. was of consequence destroyed. cheats his father. and the novelty being Neu brevior quinto. help me!" Terence. brought back unknown to the three acts. embroils the action in new difficul. episode. 88. their tragedies it was only some tale derived from ties. which gives light gether because they have not five acts to every only to the characters of the persons. poet. I 89. not to the Muses. which Aristotle called 1:0 catastasis. and runs round to an eddy. who. Later. status. Hercules. and the ghost of Laius: so that they sat with are satisfied with the conduct of it. when I divides the integral parts of a play into four. or at least something that hap- which it found you. than knowing how and rowed their plots from the Greek poets. which destroys that been judiciously observed by a late writer. which the Grecians called upon the stage. or working up of the plot house without a model: and when they succeeded where the play grows warmer. and when her time comes. poor people they limited to five the number of the acts I know not. Neither of these corresponds to Eugenius's distinctions here. 2~he arrangement of the actions. Art of Poetry.. and carries back the waters even by tradition itself of the talkative Greeklings with more swiftness than it brought them on.sung more than five times. the French Ie denouement. see p. the Next. action of the play once removed. but because they have not confined them- ceeds very little into any part of the action: sec. in Ch. to a play. which was worn so a violent stream resisted by a narrow passage: it threadbare by the pens of all the epic poets. for the plot. called by the Romans. and full growth of the play: we may call it and from him the Romans fabula. exode. as you may have observed in pened in those two ages. audience: and the people so soon as ever they covery or unravelling of the plot: there you see all heard the name of Oedipus. and often 1:mv npaYfla'tcov cn5v8E01c. an resem blance of truth and nature. and I with his eyes pulled out. 3·1. that he had killed his father by a mistake. they ought to have sacri- action of it is drawing on.26 height. and having rather a general indi. knew as well as the things settling again upon their first foundations. should be just five acts long. cloyed with the same dish.. 27Boiled capon. in complaint of his light has been derived to the forming it more misfortunes. the pleasure vanished: so that one main end that you see the Grecians cannot be said to have of dramatic poesy in its definition. I2. the epitasis. Andria Horace. but what poet first Medea. which they calljomadas. 'tis building an ondly. and choral ode. 25"The play that expects to be asked for another perfor. till their appetites were Horace. that the audience oracle. there got with child by some lewd young fel- low. was commonly a little girl stolen or wandered But since the Spaniards at this day allow but from her parents. 24 condemn the Ancients. scaped not so good cheap: they had still the chapon only we see it so firmly established in the time of bouille27 set before them. and theirs where to bestow the particular graces of it. it was already known to all the AU01C. promising that it will come to pass: thirdly.15· 17 0 JOHN DRYDEN . neu sit productior actu: 25 So gone. mance I Once it's been given. Aristotle indeed the Italians in many of theirs follow them. and we the dis. writing rather by entrances cause delight. where he differentiates the pro~ Lucina fer opem. or perfectly into acts and scenes. (as Ben Jonson calls them) that before it came Lastly. that he gives it for a rule in comedy. to cry Juno 24Aristotle's discllssion of the quantitative parts of tragedy occurs in Poetics. it ends with that that they were now to hear of a great plague.28 one or other sees a little box logue." 2S"JuDO goddess of childbirth. it has already properly the counterturn. by the help of his servant. But one Oedipus. he divides the play into the complication and the denouement. selves to one certain number. 18. and city. till he was to come man delivered to us the image of a play. In their comedies. play. that in expectation.

alone. of his victory. Dryden is paraphrasing Corneille's Discollrs des trois unites. and did not dare to venture on the lines do the same throughout the act. makes it so. when Laches. To go no further than age the French poets first made it a precept of the Terence. of our well wrought scenes. Parrneno who was left upon the stage. of the like nature. a parasite. if they have regularly pursued them. and action: the knowledge of which you say is though to others. time. and to acquaint them with what was necessary to be known. one of ever it might be practised by them. plays being narrow. and an hand." Here and elsewhere. when the fifth act almost all their tragedies will afford us examples requires it. was never any their acts was written in a less compass than one of their rules. or the proportion of a body. says Scaliger.29 which was about forty English miles. which was for maids to be seen un temps si court. talk and so narrow as if they had imitated only an eye or go out together. and who ought to be one of the give ample relation of the disorders he has raised principal actors in the play. or any who have written of it. kind in his nature to his mis. walls of it to give battle. These are plots built after the Italian mode of 'Tis true. properly so called. which the English of a face. and it is enough you know furnished me with one of the observations. and per. place. has mute in it. but the reason But in how straight a compass soever they have is. not prevent it. for it is to by. after Chremes (who was the best and most regular of them) has and pythias were gone off. enters by captain. but two do not perpetually come in together. An old father who would to the return of the Nuntius. and to be forgiven him: for in one of his tragedies he so discovers her to her friends. honest maid. in every act. and she is willing to be married. have likewise Dorias beginning the fourth act Punisher takes up visibly two days. who comes to story is built. who has so much wit to strike in with The like error is as evident in Terence's him. because he intro- derived to us from them. which is not for every mile a tress. in tying him. and Euripides. but yet should have been so contrived by 29The deus ex machina of Horace's stricture. or slave. JOEugenius forgets that the quintessentially English Philip Sidney condemns Gorboduc as "faulty both in place and 31"lt's a good use of so short a time. who gives the relation willingly before he dies see his son well married. She has the breeding of the old not above five lines to speak: C' est bien employer Elizabeth way. and other two succeed them. under the and taking the thanks of it to himself. a braggadochio Eunuch.31 says the French poet. and yet from the time of his departure acters of the persons. who and not to be heard. not only every time the fectly observed those three unities of time. 155.or cabinet which was carried away with her. on whom the his exit and the entrance of Pythias. be accounted a new scene. we will pass it scenes. by coming down in a machine. and yet they are often Horace. where betwixt As for the pOOl. the way was very inartificial) because she was self to one day. because they have seldom above two or three bounded their plots and characters. and after she has made a relation of what the two first acts concluding the first day. and help to dupe his father. but every person who enters. thirty-six verses. AN ESSAY OF DRAMATIC POESY I7I .3D The unity of time. the you called it. stage is empty. liaison des scenes somewhat better: characters are indeed the imitations of nature. We neither find it in Aristotle. she is commonly a within. and a lady of pleasure. you see through them all at once. they have kept the continuity. the next act. if some God do has made Theseus go from Athens to Thebes. you find in the Eunuch Antipho entering stage. till in our deficient even in this. that the unity of place. even Terence himself single in the midst of the third act. has committed an absurdity never presnmed to speak directly to the audience. or as houses. Now the plots of their me leave to tell you. the old man." See p. how. the three was done at the soldiers' entertainment (which by last the day ensuing. In the same play you neglected. and appear victorious in By the plot you may guess much of the char. but miserably in want of money. call by the name of single scenes. His Heautontimoroumenos or Self. But in the first place give duces a new business. mistake into the house of Thais. and the persons few. Aethra and the chorus have but his debauched son. a servant verse.

Plautus. had a command from his mistress to Syrus and Demea enter. and three whole days . 33 and Astyanax murdered. Alas. A Priam ne dicam stolide. there is no indeco. But ultimate standard. arbitrium est. and many of the cus. never any of them writ a ""But cannot I manage to do without her. had not Crites given me sufficient warning 34"All these projects. see p. the Eunuch. 270-72. He also give you an account of himself. to need not instance to you.17-18. . in Plautus oftener. 85. 89. new word on his readers. and an falls upon him so severely in those verses: unhappy piety. after the scene was bro. said. though it cannot be rendered in our language. 'tis still the same. Geta and through with it. et jus. I not to be too bold in my judgement of it. Tragedies and comedies were not writ then as they quem penes. yet a thing drama to one another (and so by them to have well said will be wit in all languages. and Phaedria enters next. so in the infinitely too bold in his metaphors and coining instructive part they have erred worse: instead of words. lifting up his hands and discover the same interruption. . si valet usus. by the same person.l With which rests the final decision. . This is so plain." Horace. the lost to us. Multa renascentur quae nunc cecidere. because And the fame and dignity of speech are equally mortal. if! have to. for tragedy. that Aristophanes. who reads it in the original. whatever men make. he wise. and makes custom and rum in any of our modern plays. and the lust and murder ending in the victory of For Horace himself was cautious to obtrude a him who acted them. yet to him the stage. punishing vice and rewarding virtue. who is tion of a play. et norma are now. wit. though it cannot pass of his returning from the country. Tandem ego non illa caream. Terence. In short./:rvruch the languages being dead. in monologue. quae nunc sunt in han are vocabula. out of which many times his wit is nothing. and given her drag. " Hor- this would lead me to the consideration of their ace. and though come to the knowledge of the people) she quits it may lose something in the translation. nimium patienter utrumque ons to convey her safe from punishment. and in the management..34 he who found his genius bending to the one. Canthara. Aeschylus. alone like.the poet as to have been told by persons of the application of a proverb or a custom. They have set before us a bloody Sed proavi nostri Plautinos et numeros. be absent two days.. vel tatum triduum? Parmeno to mock any of his comedies. swerving from the sum. in subject in all his plays: In his Adelphi or Brothers. eyes. et image of revenge in Medea. cries out as it were in admiration.l Not to say dense. in which they have ill-satisfied one inten.1. Seneca. where you will not presently the softness of his master. which was delight. if UTILITY so decrees. When Phaedria. which if I would common use the best measure of receiving it into excuse. laudavere sales. I The legal existence. that I world has blamed in our satirist Cleveland. I And much of our language now held in high repute I Will fall to the ground toms and little accidents on which it depended. and has an idea of its excellency. rules of their own art. buskin were not worn by the same poet: having 33"Your ancestors praised both the wit and rhythms of then so much care to excel in one kind. see p. cadentque And one farther note of them let me leave you. but loquendi. very little Plautus? / For admiring both of these things they were too tol- is to be pardoned them if they miscarried in it. of speech. Euripides. never The not observing this rule is that which the attempted the other way. by misrepresenting nature yet leaves an impression on our souls: but this to us. and Cassandra ravished. and erant. promiscuously. and encouraging himself to go ken by the departure of Sostrata. Hui! uni- But as they have failed both in laying of their verSUl11 tridwunP2 the elegancy of which univer- plots. from the Ancients. and indeed you can scarce look into si opus sit. Sophocles. if you and I can distinguish I A crudeness in phrasing from lapidary strength of wit . will perish. 70-72. I could not shadow with some authority our writings. we are not competent judges of it. three entire days!" Terence. happens seldom in him. Art of Poetry. that has once dropped out will be born again. from his mind into any other expression or words to which unnatural way of narration Terence is than those in which he finds it. though I grant that here and there we may miss the Art of Poetry. JOHN DRYDEN . they have which questionless was one reason why Horace often shown a prosperous wickedness. never meddled with comedy: the sock and Eunuch 2.

pictasque. without M yrrha. where he says. but it is so soft and gentle that it does not shock scuta virum fluvia. should stir up no more concernment where he ence between his satires and Doctor Donne's. There common thoughts in abstruse words: 'tis true. So that there is this differ. 35 many excellent thoughts in Seneca. hold to be that scene in the Troades. which he himself concludes to be meanest apprehensions. In his Eclogue of Pollio. no poet but may guages:'tis like Mercury. mixed with smiling acanthus. though in another place he is a pleasing admiration and concernment." Ovid. are the objects of a tragedy. of Caunus and Biblis. though rough cadence. who in the epic way every word were a pill to swallow. For beauty like white-powder makes no noise. I would not hesitate to call ·it the Palace of Heaven" (Ovid. in you see the tenderness of a mother. yet he. as the best meat is the suitable to a tragedy. never to be lost or sometimes use a catachresis. et long{[s visent capi. will not pass upon in his own could have writ with our advantages. that. AN ESSAY OF DRAMATIC POESY 173 . insuetum fulgentia longe. You see the last line is highly metaphorical." (Virgil. 36 But to do this always. but with lust. shocked by the men's shining shields and by the horror than compassion in an audience: leaving painted ships. 3S"The Egyptian bean. he had a way of writing so fit to stir up Augustus's palace. a kernel for our pains. Shakespeare. and those bloody actions . their wit. where guage. so rep. 'Tis true." (Virgil. aud in his 7th IEneid. He gives us wrote things so near the drama. Ovid.resented some places his wit is independent of his words. miratur nemus.38 yet it moves not my soul of Cleveland's without making a face at it. in Andromache.t~ey flourish. will revenge. for. but confined him home.express a thing hard and unnaturally. or in Fletcher. Virgil does it. Ancients. and to show the var- foUa pompas. is his new Si sic omnia dixissetp7 This is wit in all lan- way of elocution. and is most to be admired fore I am confident the Medea is none of his. their tragic poets dealt not with that soft passion. us as we read it." kfera111OJpllOses 1:561. innare carinas. (of which by this time you will grant us Si verba audacia detur in some measure to be fit judges. as the story of many times a hard nut to break oUr teeth. ambition. those who know that wit is best conveyed to us in no man but must have yielded to him. Calling the court of Jupiter by the name of was Ovid. For love-scenes you will find few among them. ll1etamorphoses r:I75-76). Eclogues 4:20). most proper for the stage·. cruelty.) though I see haud metuam summi dixisse Palatia coeli. 37"If only he had always spoken thus!" 36"And Capitols view the "long processions. Tristia 2:381. that it raises compasslOn to a as in tllat of the Rebel Scot: hiah de !!fee in the reader. And yet the silent hypocrite destroys. and the rest.Mistaque ridenti colocasia fundet acantha. But. as if enough to judge that he. to And Ovid once so modestly. "If I were bold. re~embl~nce of anything in the tragedies of the doom. that he asks leave to the consideration of the Ancients' writing and do it. and there- the most easy language. or admired by some few pedants. to the excellent scenes of passion in Not forced him wander. 38uTragedy surpasses in gravity all other kinds of writing. Omne genus scripti gravi- most easily digested: but we cannot read. which more bold. though it may be different passions.of them who had a genius. The masterpiece of Seneca I the one gives us deep thoughts in comm~Jl lan. that most endeavoured it. had he lived in our age. when a great thought comes dress~d in words so though I esteem it for the gravity and senten- commonly received that it is understood by the tiousness of it. to return from whence I have digressed. Mirantur et undae. and bears the nearest Had Cain been Scot God would have changed his. which were more capable of raIsmg wonder. and so that other: . killed. a verse tate tragaedia vincit. "The waves and the woods produced. Aeneid 8:91-93). and never ious movements of a soul combating between two be able to write a line without it. the other gIves us Ulysses is seeking for Astyanax to kill him.

to avoid the glish forty years ago. of which Eugenius spoke last. who seemed to have the better open their minds at large to each other. whose heroes neither eat. his opin- French romances. when Crites interrupted him. which the trusty opinion. not that they were not natural before.) part of which we expect may be paid occasions. so it put an end to that dispute. the latter he borrows of the historian. all the company. 6:195. Virgil makes Aeneas a besides. to ask him why he preferred the English a poet. (Quos libitina breaking one another. as much as the changes of their fortunes. should re-enter so sud- Sum pius Aeneas farna super aethera notus. we more talkative: cernment of every person." Horace. nor ion of our plays is the same with mine: and drink. But there are a thousand This moderation of Crites. we find a scene or two haps one of their poets. told him he had forborne. life and souL" cr. whose gentleness would have squire is ever to perfo= for him. Eugenius. and I will grant thus much to Eugenius. vita mea. and which being the private con. their lovers say little. we are as well able to ing. and to maintain. the the passions. resent her unlike herself. give that honour to their memories. I can only grant they have altered the mode vanquish them with our pens as our ancestors of it. and adjudged the honour to our own 39"My soul. and to the expectation Lisideius after he had acknowledged himself of of the audience who watch the movements of their Eugenius's opinion concerning the Ancients. but (as Horace says of Lucilius) he had altered many anima mea. Virgil. would urge no farther: but wanting to their own love. to us in future times. lovers of beef broiled upon the coals. I will commit and good fellows. 174 JOHN DRYDEN . Satires ':1"1f Fate had dropped him into this era of ours. Epistles II. yet minds. that Crites and I. plaints. I see. would be to rep. my life. which is the most frequent of all scenes. replied of a fanfaron or Hector: for with us the knight Lisideius. yet in the mean time we are not to an offense. Any sudden gust of passion (as an conclude anything rashly against those great men. nor sleep. French. as jealousies. appetites. who bold avower of his own virtues. have now left the stage. Ancients were more hearty." 42"Whom the Goddess of funerals has sanctified. com. Nature is dumb on such sacravit42 . for love. said of our next neighbours? he. where not to which. but women in Juvenal's time used to cry out in the fury that he might accommodate himself to the age in of their kindness: then indeed to speak sense were which he lived. till his discourse were For the imaging of the first is properly the work of ended. its own image in a public entertainment.39 as the things. in Plautus. So in their love tempered them. and better be expressed than in a word and a sigh. Juvenal. were to be of the argument. looking upon Neander. said Eugenius. if you please. but to speak generally. who had writ best. contrivances and the like. which is against the laws of comedy. which in the civility of our poets is the character If the question had been stated." Horace. renowned above the heavens.. contrary to the practice of the this cause to my friend's management. plays above those of other nations? and whether Eugenius was proceeding in that part of his we ought not to submit our stage to the exactness discourse. Homer described his heroes men of great have been with their swords. is soothed by viewing they writ love as it was then the mode to make it. or sleep. of tenderness. I should have been of your vanity of telling his own story. 1.love untouched. and that where you would least Si foret hoc nostrum fato deJapsus in aevum: 1 expect it. and to make her speak.9:68. yet. that per- Among their comedies. I am at all times ready question decided betwixt us. Eugenius and I are never like to have this Though. Satires 1. 4°"1 am pious Aeneas.I:9. the French or En- takes occasion to walk out. had he lived in our age. as it was pleasing to other concernments of lovers. Aeneid 1 :378-89. added he. for he maintains the to defend the honour of my country against the Modems have acquired a new perfection in writ.roTj Kat 1jfUXTj. there is no reason. ecstasy of love in an unexpected meeting) cannot but preserve to them the dignity of masters.40 denly upon it. when they see each other.

which the Moderns have borrowed from them. and return to theirs. From to "compassion" and "concernment. wit and those milder studies of humanity. that we see two distinct webs in a play. went to plant in another a half we run through all the fits of Bedlam. and knew the event of it. that is. Would you not think that physician not to be reduced into that compass? This I can mad. ex nota jictllm begin. as the English do. They keep their Poetry'. by observing many rules of the stage. and our stages still retain some- (which before was as much below ours as it now what of the original ciVility of the Red Bull. the Ancients. and the fashion then leaving the world." hence likewise it arises that the one half of our 45"1 shall set my sights on familiar things. demand of you. and fourth a duel. Art of actors are not known to the other. But the French goes farther. is to beget admiration. Epistles rr. whether you Aristotle. turning distances as if they were Montagues and Capulets. There is no theatre in the world has (who were only capable of bringing us to that anything so absurd as the English tragi-comedy. degree of perfection which we have) were just 'tis a drama of our own invention. such under-plots. here a course of horror. that in all their dramas writ within these immediately order you to take restringents? last twenty years and upwards. Our poets present you the play and some other Frenchmen reformed their theatre. that it yet remains a dis. I The end of tragedies or serious plays. as was observed before. and is not of the four. that the great Cardinal of French afford you as much variety on the same Richelieu began to take them into his protection. are diverted to another. for many of their critics limit it to that very always grounded upon some known history: spot of ground where the play is supposed to according to that of Horace. and Jonson upon the stage. I have not But to leave our plays. whether the artificial day intermingling of the latter? that is. ·'''They ask for a bear and boxers in the middle of the cernments for one part. but because Atque ursum et pugiles media inter carmina Crites. for they do not burden them with foundation of their plays some poetical fiction. but they do it not so unseasonably. Corneille and propos as we. Beaumont. and play. 89. like those in ill-wrought stuffs. destroy the former by pute among their poets. he must ruin of twelve hours more or less. surpasses it and the rest of Europe). says shall only. there another of sadness and passion. should testify. 44 Aristotle mentions pity and fear. before they are warm in their con. as if in an age of so much of it is enough to proclaim it so. towards Neander) we have been so long together and seldom begin an acquaintance till the last bad Englishmen. because they already design that is nothing of kin to the main plot. mirth. poscunt." Horace. that we had not leisure to be scene of the fifth act. to the confounding of the audience. rather than the natural one of twenty. which may correspond by that means espouse the interest of neither. Fletcher. compassion. the plotting of their tragedies. day. that they have surpassed them. in short. a third had no farther business among us. two plays carried on together. poet must of necessity. but since that time (said he. in his discourse for the Ancients. The country.43 vented me. has pre. see p. that is. Thus in two hours and who ever follow peace. be not meant by the sole end and object of his tragedy to introduce Aristotle. by his encouragement. took for the conspicuous. or mal it and that. when they are all to meet good poets. For The unity of action in all their plays is yet more the Ancients. of honour. and in that they have so imitated same town or city. none of them exceed the compass of the cannen seqllar45 ." Horace. they are lous. AN ESSAY OF DRAMATIC POESY 175 . which is the reason as under that consideration could move but little why many scenes of our tragi-comedies carry on a concernment in the audience.r:r8s-86. observed any that have extended the time to thirty I have noted one great advantage they have had in hours: in the unity of place they are full as scrupu. it was then. who having prescribed a purge. somewhat that is forced in to it. and consequently whether all plays ought body of it. the farce together. who. But the Muses.44 but are not mirth and compassion have best observed them? In the unity of time you things incompatible? and is it not evident that the find them so scrupulous. 240.nation. and two actions. or are not convinced that of all nations the French concernment.

when the event is past dispute. yet e'n5~0l01v 6~ola.he puts a pleasing fallacy upon us.! That the middle part fits with the I have said. and in this all our poets are extremely pec- nitely more imperfect than the life: this. we have acknowledged to be the poet's work) Nay more. and the poet." Homer. the audience. whom Justin and some others report to' they have leisure to dwell on a subject which have perished in the Scythian war. not to cloy them. the little envies us and from the Spaniards. incredulus odi. 87. Catilille has given us this oleo of a play: this unnatural mixture of comedy and tragedy. do but llltn¥ues of fate. 188. will constitute one whole and great action suffi- :hat.. as we are in the plays of Calderon. Besides. or at least verisimility. In Catilille you Another thing in which the French differ from may see the parliament of women. to look upon her rules. then we are willing to be deceived. at least during the time Spanish plots. there indeed the plot is neither large ~any chro~icles of kings.." Horace. but infi. JOHN DRYDEN . to reward that virtue which has been from one another.49 I have taken notice but of one his play is acting: so naturally we are kind to tragedy of ours. constitute many actions in the story has left the success so doubtful.48 as Livia and the physician. and you see in some places a little farce through the wrong end of a perspective. the story of Bassi anus and Geta historical plays of Shakespeare. but rather to draw her in the action is not reducible to the strictness of the miniature. which. writer is free. if not '(ex E'tl. 4r. scenes admirable in tbeir kind. who undertake more. which Quodcumque osten dis mihi sic. cramped into a rep. On the other side." Horace. and simply leaves out I Whatever he thinks he can't but of an ill mingle with the rest. do not burden themselves too much first. 4'''The truth". ! And devises so well intennin. Odyssey 49Dryden himself was to adapt Calder6n in An Evening's '9: 203. or cumber themselves with too much primo ne medium. or rather. instead of cant. In truth. I'll simply detest it.l~a. I won't believe it. sic veris falsa remiscet embarrass. when our own interest is not in question.47 to me sounds just as ridiculously as the history of For the spirit of man cannot be satisfied but with David with the merry humours of goliath. see p. renders it ridiculous. the French have with his design. Sejanus you may take notice of the scene betwixt tain. an ingenious person of our nation as a fault. parts. even Ben Jonson himself in Sejanus and making a play delightful. medio ne discrepet imdm. Art of Poetly. and that is Rollo. which is a pleasant satire one of the Greek poets has expressed it. Sometimes the barely following. as gling the true and the false. but rendered to us there unfortunate. and consequently make it many plays. as effects from causes. not being produced of history. in which they write: Cyrus.. they are rather so in Herodian. the last with the middle. that the drama. 88. and all that passes betwixt Curio and Fulvia. with plot.151-52.% plot: they only represent so much of a story as He so interweaves truth with probable fiction. and mingled. mends the cient for a play. but just enough to fill the minds of times o~ thirty or forty years. But I return again to the French wtiters who. or the business many nor intricate. and dispenses with the severity multiply adventures. under mankind. As for example. but Xenophon deserves it. if you consider the the name of Rollo. you see it resentatIOn of two hours and an half. and unity of design in it which I have commended that we take it up as the general concernment of in the French. which that which of two or more relations will best suit is not cloyed with many turns. and a poem is to con. and to represent the passions (which affirms to have died in his bed of extreme old age. which is not founded upon the truth of history. under the name of the audience of his party. AI1 of Poetry. in the death of gained more liberty for verse. we. which has been reproached to them by see~. Love (1668). for he 7"\Vhatsoever such stuff I You show me. which we have if he contrives it with appearance of truth. •. bring off shining and clear. whose plot has that uniformity virtue. to take her in little. to take But by pursuing closely one argument. is that they do not of them to oue another. which is below the dignity of the other receive her images not only much less. '1hings like the truth. only the time of to imitate or paint nature. Atque ita mentitur. by the privilege of a poet. upon the artificial helps of beauty. even without being hurried from one thing to another. has all seen lately upon our theatres.

when he pos than the English do. and that is many times the ruin of the ceived us. and consequently it the French avoid the tumult. or by such. or a meadow. making their narra. many times both convenient and beautiful: for. the best of ours. And now I am speaking sentation of it. all which. even in the most equal aristocracy. description of a beautiful garden. and limbs that plot. who are some way inter. and are related to make the conduct of it itself can please our sight. sleight when the poet does not too grossly impose the audience can never recover themselves to on us. I cannot take a fitter opportunity to The words of a good writer which describe it add this in favour of the French. 'tis a fault to choose such represented we are convinced it is but fiction. just height: dying especially is a thing which none either to hear. him. We see it so in the management of all and the like. but there are two sorts of them. while the rest of the persons are trouble as. and which he things happening in the action of the play. he must tax. our eyes (the strongest because we see they are seldom listened to by the witnesses) are wanting. but subjects for the stage as will force us on that rock. not only But there is another sort of relations. when we hear it related. of theirs. or the consideration of some glorious other side is to drive in before him. but. if he would have us to imagine that in that we might give a man an hour to kill another exalting one character the rest of them are in good earnest with them. They therefore who imagine these relations would make no concernment in the audience. but those of the Ancients. and his unreasonable that they should be put to so much concernments. will make a deeper impression of belief in use them with better judgement and more apro. that there is one person in the play who is of done. but someone ridiculous than to represent an army with a drum will be superior to the rest. battles. one of those things which are antecedent to the will please our imagination more than the place play. perhaps. thrusts of the foil. the theatres where they fight prizes. seems to fall dead before us. and indeed it is somewhat siderable in a play. and that all of them have not some I have observed that in all our tragedies. the stage when he did not imitate or represent. and we are all willing to favour the play: for. that is. as a poet in the rations in general. of relations. do it. they dwell on him. But. by spicuous in it than any other. that they often lively. are to die. ten or twenty years ago. either in parts. whom they make use of in their plays. neglected.says they commonly make but one person con. and one slain with two or three business into his hands. or to see a exploit. are "Introductory: like the Watchman in Aeschylus's Aga- memno1l. and would be loth to do. they must have recourse to what was by it. 5lIn a lifelike manner. 'tis the most comic part of the whole wherein every person (like so many servants in a play. and five men behind it. which renders our stage too like the affairs. for 'tis supposed to be done behind the scenes. the stage. and therefore it is better to omit the repre- ested in the main design. the hero of the interest. us than all the actor can insinuate into us. that to comprehend what passes in only subservient to set him off. AN ESSAY OF DRAMATIC POESY 177 . greater dignity than the rest. or at least to your understanding it. When we see death more clear to us. but tions only to. which might have unde- audience. the share or other in the action of the play. being once let pass without attention. if to the well-writing of them the actor and who is not necessary to the carrying on of the supplies a good commanded voice. to which we are the greatest share in the action must devolve on subject in England. I desire audience cannot forbear laughing when the actors him to produce any of Corneille's tragedies. which we know are so blunted. and this is impossible but that one person must be more con. All passions may be lively51 represented on well governed family) has not some employment. move easily. or give the relation: but the French but a Roman gladiator could naturally perform on avoid this with great address. and without stiffness. Not that I commend nar. If he intends this their sight. but there are There are indeed some protatic50 persons in the many actions which can never be imitated to a Ancients. For what is more balance cannot be so just!y poised. fortune. which will reduce the greatest part of duel fought. by representing duels. understand the plot.

who had done the beauty. after the manner of the Ancients. he is probably echoing Descartes's Unspeakable Atreus should not cook up human flesh / Before Principia Philosophiae. / before it was announced. the one of which present no part of the action on the stage: every was hid from sight to avoid the horror and alteration or crossing of a design. and the prodi- 'Tis a great mistake in us to believe the French gies before it are remarkable. it continues of itself. the soul being to be avoided by a poet. or only delivered by nar- already moved with the characters and fortunes of ration. but these are warmed with our con. 1 52Dryden is not quoting Newton's first Jaw of motion Medea / must not butcher her boys in front of the people. then why not all? I the Ancients. conti nues going of its as to avoid tumult. What the philosophers say of motion. that if one part all these kinds are frequent. error in choosing a subject which requires this For he says immediately after. and to abbreviate the story: and this in be seen which will appear with the greatest express imitation of Terence. within at the soldiers' entertainment. eteP cernments. JOHN DRYDEN --. that. the other to shun the sprung passion. Examples of absent mistress. but in the best received of onr answer.. every new tumult of the representation... some parts of the action are more fit to be English poets. either by the magnificence of the show. Alt of Poetry. and it strength of his body. The King and No King. by confounding them with the other.. nothing to be action till the players come to Fletcher goes yet farther. (as was before hinted) or to own accord. action. than we are to listen to the news of an be related than presented to the eye. not only among all of the play may be related. it be only a relation of what was done many years before the play. those actions which by reason of their when it is once begun. though tradict the opinion of Horace. CorneiIle says his Magnetic Lady. We find Ben Jonson using them in represented.. you are not to show' On stage what ought to take place back- stage: remove' From our eyes the substance of things . which had just been translated into our eyes. The rela- and let tbe rest arrive to the audience by narration.deceived. StilI. Cadmus in anguem.. Non tamen intus digna geri prames in seenam. where he tells us. . where Pythius the vehemence of passions which they produce. we may have leave to add such those imaginary persons. some to be related. nor should Procne change into a bird. which were before awakened in the play.. or same before him in his Eunuch. is a part of the introducing of things impossible to be believed. Among which many he recounts some.- . 180-87. into a snake.-------_. see p. ought either wholly is clearly true on this occasion. where one comes out from judiciously. or for defect of beauty in them. tions likewise of Sejanus's death. multaque toJles 53"But things entrusted to the ear' Impress our minds less ex oculist quae max narret facundia praesens. I conld mnltiply other instances.. makes the like relation of what had happened or some other charm which they have in them. and relates the quarrels and disorders of it to view all pmticular actions which conduce to to save the indecent appearance of them on the the principal: he ought to select such of them to stage. and cruelty will cause aversion in us. Segnius irritant animas demissa per aurem. or by reason of will do so to eternity without some stop put to it. 88. as if the painting of the hero's mind were ling of the plot is done by narration in the fifth not more properly the poet's work than the act. are made often in cold blood (as I may say) to the aut in avem Pragne mutetur. That is. __ __. audience. for the whole unravel- blows.52 their impossibility unbelief. those Nee pueros coram populo Medea trucidet. Nor does this anything con. bnt these are snfficient to prove that there is no quam quae sunt oeulis subjeeta fidelibus. But it is objected. are rather to stage. and turn of it. that the poet is not obliged to expose dinner. To which. _ . and much the noblest.' Or Cadmus English. which are of things antecedent to the play." Horace.. moves great concernment in the audience. except we conceive In that excellent play. vividly than what is exposed' To our trustworthy eyes so that a viewer infonns himself' Of precisely what happened. and we are no more weary to hear reduce the plot into a more reasonable compass of what becomes of them when they are not on the time.

yet. As for example. in the ill-management of them. without much dispute. our enthusiasm weakens with our hope. it ceases to follow. represented him) the account he gives for the sud- I shall grant Lisideius. and observe the laws of comedy. I am of opinion that neither our faults I pass by this. for being a usurer. own I doubt not but it will exceedingly beautify course since the French have many other excel. play more natural. assequi non potest. shall ever appear. the senescit: quod.54 which implies a lover of money to the highest Lisideius concluded in this manner. It shows little used to destroy it. therefore not a:ltogether peculiar to them. and degree of covetousness (and such the poet has Neander after a little pause thus answered him. This indeed may prove a more simple change of will. but because it is partly received by us. say no more of it in relation to their plays. I will there may. but I should never ularities of ours which he has mentioned. and the ducimus accendimur. so that in the exit of the actor because not animated with the soul of poesy. desinit. for I young fellow. though I deny not but such reasons may be found. 5-l. a den change is that he has been duped by the wild great part of what he has urged against us. and that one sentence of an ancient author. Historia Romana 1:17. says Comeille." Velleius verse. and so repent. because our poets any of their plays end with a conversion. putting away what we cannot way of writing in tragedies before ours in blank excel in. which bled when great and judicious poets. for there you see the probabil- 'Tis true. when it cannot rhyme. Sed ut primo ad consequendos eos quos priores yet it is a path that is cautiously to be trod. and make him punish more regularly. and the just reason I have to prefer that overtake. itaubi aut praeteriri. we seek another outlet for our efforts. must needs render all the events in the law ought to be esteemed superior to the others. the event will commonly deceive you) for there is nothing so absurd. you have a clear account of his purpose and which is imitation of humour and passions: and design in the next entrance: (though. but when we despair of surpassing them or even equal1ing them. aut aeC poet is to be sure he convinces the audience that quari eos posse desperavimus. as for others they are to be answered by powerful cause to take them off their design. neither willI insist on the care nor their virtues are considerable enough to place they take. and therefore I am only trou- art in the conclusion of a dramatic poem. beauty of their ers. AN ESSAY OF DRAMATIC POESY 179 . or write so ill in it. endure it in a play. and I can see but one reason why it should lencies not common to us. that you will there find indeed the beauties of a statue. studium cum spe- the motive is strong enough. sumus.sort of narrations. after all. praeteritoque eo in quo eminere non pos- seems to me a little forced. desist from it in the fifth without some against it. have writ or spoke four acts. or any other. that no person after his first entrance them above us. sequi conversion of the usurer in The ScamfuZ Lady. only because he has no more to say. For our But I find I have been too long in this dis. those which best fulfill that observed. Farther. but it. those beauties of the French poesy are ity of every accident. scilicet. which in reason might render him acknowledge that the French contrive their plots more wary another time. as for an actor to leave the stage. himself with harder fare and coarser clothes to get and decorum of the stage (to speak generally) up again what he had lost: but that he should look with more exactness than the English. however be well wrought. but not of a man. aliquid in quo nitamur conquirimus. I on it as a judgement. that is. as that you never see not generally obtain. which is the ordinary way prevailing argument than all others which are which our poets use to end theirs. and that which appears chance in the play will are not sufficient to give it where it is not: they are seem so reasonable to you. but the business which brings For the lively imitation of nature being in the him upon the stage shall be evident: which rule if definition of a play. and those they who have hindered the felicity during the who are acknowledged such. and Paterculus. in the cause that produced such as will raise perfection higher where it is."At first we bum to excel those whom we think our lead- I should now speak of the. them. we may deny not but he has taxed us justly in some irreg- expect to hear in a sermon. if the scene this Lisideius himself. it almost necessary.

I dare carry on one design which is pushed forward by all take upon me to find more variety of them in the actors. A scene of mirth them by some mistake. and many others not observing. of Silent Woman. he tells you himself his way is first to gravity keeps the spirit too much bent. any nation. scene of great passion and concernment. and some others. But their humours. have commended that we have invented. for if contrary motions may be found in nature to agree. since subject destroy each other. our own stage to justify. There is scarce one of them without a veil. They have mixed their serious convinced. to the honour of our nation. but when it came upon the English stage. soul of man more heavy than his senses? Does not though well translated. I imitating afar off the quick turns and graces of the must therefore have stronger arguments ere I am English stage. as we bait in ajourney. and in the mean time the death of Cardinal Richelieu. the younger find a relief to us from the best plots and language Corneille. in Samuel if a planet can go east and west at the same time. if I may grace the French plots above the variety and copious- them with that name. or the characters of our serious plays with mingling mirth with serious plot. cannot but acknowledge. Quinault. they above one of them comes up in any play. which Lisideius cannot but conclude. plays. and those of the possible on the ground-work of the Spanish planets. what has he produced except pass to another of mirth and humour. the most and does not the unpleasantness of the first com- favourable to it would not put it in competition mend the beauty of the latter? The old rule of with many of Fletcher's or Ben Jonson's. which we But of late years Moliere. though they have motions of their own. we must show two lovers in good intelligence with each refresh it sometimes. and to enjoy The Liar. like our tragi-comedies. which we need not the experience of he will either compare the humours of our come. cannot bnt less considerable persons. and you know how it was cried up in it with any relish: but why should he imagine the France. Tuke's Adventures of Five Hours. but there is not above one good play to be mobile. in the working up of the play to embroil we may go on with greater ease. are so thin sown that never ness of the English. He tells us we will find it an hard matter to pick out two or three cannot so speedily recollect ourselves after a passable humours amongst them. that compassion and mirth in the same plays with mirth. I do not with theirs. if the discourses have been long. that contraries rest of Corneille's comedies you have little when placed near. they have made are whirled about by the motion of the pril11ul11 regular. and reconcile them. Our plays besides the main together: as he who has seen the Alchemist. which is tragi-comedy. approve their manner of doing it. In the logic might have convinced him. increased and perfected a that in them for a virtue which they themselves no more pleasant way of writing for the stage than longer practise. The design. are carried on with the motion of the main plot: as I grant the French have performed what was they say the orb of the fixed stars. Diego. set off each other. have been of the stage. or Bartholomew Fair. what was pleasant before. Most of their new plays are like was ever known to the Ancients or Modems of some of ours. A continued humour. every scene in the play contributing and some one play of Ben Jonson's than in all theirs moving towards it. one way by virtue of his own motion. He who will look upon theirs which have Lisideius condemn the thing. and in the latter end to mixed with tragedy has the same effect upon us clear it. have under-plots or by-concernments. and that part of Dorant the eye pass from an unpleasant object to a pleas- acted to so much advantage as I am confident it ant in a much shorter time than is required to this? never received in its own country. As for their new way of dies. that other. as to self. Corneille him.55 who drolls much after the rate of and many others should cry up the barrenness of the Adventures. the other by ISO JOHN DRYDEN .biased to their party. which acknowledge with me. and a And this leads me to wonder why Lisideius trusty Diego. they are too much alike to tude expresses much of the English stage. and intrigues. Their plots are single. 55Neander is alluding to a comic servant. if please often. their arch-poet. though I cannot been written till these last ten years or thereabouts. derived from the Spanish novels. in which they are contained: that simili- writ on all those plots. which our music has betwixt the acts.

that they have no coherence another in the same condition. it cannot be confession of the French poets. so that instead of persuading us to grieve make one person considerable in their plays. And this our forefathers. to suffer him.in a play become not a perplexed and confused mass of entertain the audience with a speech of an hun. which tire us with the than commended them. In the mean time he must acknowledge poured unexpectedly in upon us. our variety. without troubling the ordi- As for his other argument. and think themselves disparaged by the the whole be kept entire. I must grant that Lisideius has rea. have had in Fletcher's plays. yet discern not the end are a more sullen people. As for comedy. this hinders not that there may be more shining to comply with the gravity of a churchman. it overflows us. so they who are of an airy and gay tem- to imagine how the under-plot. The Silent Woman: I was going to have named AN ESSAY OF DRAMATIC POESY 181 . we are in pain till they are gone. as that the effects of it should appear in the There is another part of Lisideius' s discourse. if not good: for I confess their verses are to me the cold. that by pursuing nary current. in the way they take. we are concerned for very true what he has urged. Since that time it is grown ill. But to speak generally. or for are so ill ordered.the force of the first mover. you will find it infinitely pleasing to be dred or two hundred lines. for as we. not contrary to the great design. they account it the grace of their parts are managed so regularly that the beauty of parts. When advantage of all the others. and example he could bring from them would make it swiftly managed. will have company. the and their actors speak by the hourglass. And this I conceive to be one reason why rally be conducted along with it. ous. hope to reach. to a much higher est I have ever read. accidents. and if the concernment be in a state. and tragedies Eugenius 56 has already shown us. from the to them. 56Crites. 'Tis for their imaginary heroes. if well ordered. reasonably. to greatness. but their action. and that the variety poet. and that the design of the French stage came to be reformed by Cardinal the whole drama will chiefly depend on it. I wish any ence is a chase of wit kept up on both sides. Look characters in the play: many persons of a second upon the Cinna and the Pompey. that is. and beget concernment actions of the play are conducing to the main in us than the other: for it is unnatural for anyone design: but when those petty intrigues of a play in a gust of passion to speak long together. nay. their speeches being in which he has rather excused our neighbours so many declamations. see p. without interruption. may natu. so almost properly to be called plays. nay. nation in a play is as dangerous and unnatural as they are quickly up. Grief and passion are like son to tax that want of due connexion. Neither indeed is it possible degree of perfection than the French poets can. they are not so magnitude. 168. concernment of an audience. that the unity of denied that short speeches and replies· are more action is sufficiently preserved if all the imperfect apt to move the passions. even without the poet's care. will afford a greater But a long sober shower gives them leisure to run pleasure to the audience. for coordi. which is only dif. But Richelieu. with the other. those long harangues were introduced. if they may not twice or thrice . some so very near. come to be diverted at till you arrive atit. I can produce for examples many of our English plays: as The Maid's Tragedy. we. I deny not but this may led in a labyrinth of design. per come thither to make themselves more seri- ferent. where you see Bome suit well enough with the French. organs. out as they came in. that one character in our own trouble. as long discourses of equal to the first. comedies are more pleasing to us. for aiming only to length. If then the parsons. and all the persons be made consid- gion is as solemn as the long stops upon our erable. for them. it will not be difficult our plays. And that all this is practicable. as we are in tedious visits of bad all plays. repartee is one of its one single theme they gain an advantage to chiefest graces. floods raised in little brooks by a sudden rain. like our greater will be the variety of the plot. that greatness may be opposed reason of state: and Po[yeucte in matters of reli.to a custom. 'Tis evident that the more the persons are. the greatest pleasure of the audi- express and work up the passions. so to express pas. sion. who of your way before you. The Alchemist. not only by their quality.

for there appear two in his tragedies. which he aimed. but not so naturally proceeding decorum of the stage. judge severely. or the son of an heathen god. And those things wherein we excel them so consider- indeed. but if they would produce to pub- isfied from Lisideius. for breaking which he has blamed in the pI ay? For my part. because the disguise of Volpone. from him. the punishment of vice. that all incredible shocked by beholding what is either incredible or actions were removed. though it Rome to Catiline's army. both which that disguise pro. I hope I have already proved in this so insinuated itself into our countrymen. and the return of Petreius. so as the audience may neither be to the audience. or nature discourse. it was an otherwise a painful observer of 1:0 npEnov. as with any other thing by those laws. if we are to be blamed for must acknowledge with him. which concerns relations. or the excellent fifth act. let him blame any repre. and from thence again suited not with his character as a crafty or cov. the second forced from it in the but observe one irregularity of that great poet: he fifth: which yet is the less to be condemned in has removed the scene in the same act. To conclude on Lisideius's discourse. the first naturally ending with Catiline are related: though in the latter I cannot the fourth act. that we ought of right to be preferred before be objected against fighting. which I should not animadvert on him. and besides. to Rome. But what will Lisideius say if they them- imagination as well suffer itself to be deluded selves acknowledge they are too strictly bounded with the probability of it. days. etc. accidents might naturally happen in two or three I have besides the arguments alleged by Lisideius. and objects of horror to be taken from them. that it ought not to be represented. which cannot arrive with any probability in 182 JOHN DRYDEN . For why may not our them. if he had not used extreme from the former. who was duced.The Fox. observed in all their plays. So that to judge equally of it. for the voluptuary: and by it the poet gained the end at striking of the battle. as I persuade myself that the blows are given in good find them in the end of his Discourse of the three earnest. whether custom has indecent. and pass to the latter part of Shakespeare for the same fault. yet the reason is the same as to brought on themselves that dearth of plot. they have objects of delight. I this subject of relations. left unsatisfied by not seeing what is beautiful. and to betwixt both should be observed by every judi- choose rather to have it made known by narration cious writer. but. and the probability: for he makes it not a ballet or narrowness of imagination. which is to resemble truth. that though we are not altogether so has so formed them to fierceness. but that the unity of design seems not the authority of Ben Jonson. that they who strike them are unities. after Catiline's speech. or those persons which they rep. as I can. they removed from all appearance of truth as are those would perhaps give more latitude to the rules than of Corneille's Androl7lede? A play which has I have done. but punctual as the French.' To illustrate a little what he has choke a strong belief. whether we have any so lic view ten or twelve pieces of this nature. severes. Il est facile aux speculatifs d'estre kings or princes. How many beautiful But for death. has allowed a very incon- etous person. when by experience they had known been frequented the most of any he has writ? If how much we are limited and constrained by the Perseus. said. in observing the laws of they will scarcely suffer combats and other comedy. agreed well enough with that of a siderable time. who has forborne it exactly observed in it. the indecency of tumults is all which can able. that the French have showing too much of the action. I can with as great ease the English? I will allege Corneille' s words. and how many beauties of the stage they Pegasus and the monster were not capable to banished from it. Farther I think it very convenient. which may be masque. severity in his judgement on the incomparable But to leave this. and integrity of scenes. For objects of incredibility I would be sat. but a play. by their servile observations of the unities of sentation of ours hereafter. I know not. or for the reasons he has given. the them. and the who is to relate the event of it to the Senate: reward of virtue. for both the death of Sejanus and actions in the play. Those indeed were time and place. yet our errors are so few and little. "Tis easy for speCUlative persons to resent. the French are as reason to hide that part of the action which would faulty for discovering too little of it: a mean occasion too much tumult on the stage.

I beseech you. drolling part rhyme.the compass of twenty-four hours? There is time an irregular English one. we. Farther. and the like in Ben Jonson's are to imagine the scene lies under it. is more easy than to write a regular as any of theirs. especially if you should be discovered. as. I can show in Shakespeare. have regular French play. and the scenes broken. as in one of their newest Jonson. the But to return whence I have digressed. and then we rhyme together. has made an appointment with his use). which of Shakespeare? amongst great and prudent persons. and leaves his servant with thirty or forty lines. the stage being of the French. she appears at the window. the young lady is afraid the serving-man no enemy to this way of writing. succeed on the ber. which. AN ESSAY OF DRAMATIC POESY . and and well-knitting of the intrigues we have from yet change the place. imitated the French. and the closet. though not refined to that purity to and breaking many a miserable conceit on the which it hath since been brought. greatness of characters which are derived to us Many times they fall by it into a greater inconve. like an horse After this. The copiousness nience. you see they write as irregularly as cleared for the persons to enter in another place. besides. I dare window. but might. and the persons to stand still. and sometimes their more quick and fuller of spirit: and therefore 'tis a characters are very unfitting to appear there. or ever can. which by the way. In this ridiculous ples are enough to clear us from a servile imitation manner the play goes forward. like those of Fletcher. cannot. when translated. since Corneille's plays have been if the scene were interrupted. coming out from his father's house. ours are not to be shown that act. and the stage less in vogue. why no French plays. are made boldly affmu these two things of the English to walk about. You find now the scene is in a house: for he is seeking from him likewise commending Fletcher's pastoral of one room to another for this poor Philip in. and who eases himself on trot and amble. if you consider the plots. rather than in the lobby from them. or Alexandrines. have attempted. he sees him with plays (not to name our old comedies before his man. showed Ben within. they are whenever they endeavour to rise to any quick forced many times to omit some beauties which turns and counterturns of plot. sometimes on blank verse. such plots we a warning. rhyme. upon absurdities: for if the act begins in a cham. which were all writ in verse of.six talk together. For. (which is fitter for him) for fear the we endeavour therein to follow the variety and stage should be cleared. for they keep their scenes unbroken. though they cover it more speciously. and which. yet the writing plays in verse. which is for the most French Diego. We have borrowed nothing patch his business there. if the writing. the father enters to the daughter. and the first goes out: the second. the two houses. or his mistress: presently her father is heard from the monologues. and thrusts him into a place read his Sad Shepherd. tragedies: in Catiline and Sejanus sometimes tleman is called away. such as the French now who is a lover. There a precedents of elder date than any of Corneille's gentleman is to meet his friend. or more difficult than to write more variety of plot and characters: and secondly. by tying themselves strictly to can make every way regular as easily as they: but the unity of place. who is heard from within. and unbroken scenes. strange mistake in those who decry the way of suppose it were the king's bedchamber. have. Hence and therefore the French poets are often forced the reason is perspicuous. like an ill riddle. feet. our business or other to come thither. with any with some fiat design. and for the verse itself we have English plays where the act begins in the street. from Shakespeare and Fletcher. which is supposed to be her closet. as if the English therein meanest man in the tragedy must come and dis. they Shakespeare. This gen. as some of them cannot be shown where the act began. Now drama: first. often represented in tragedy. be brought to pass at so short found out ere it be half proposed. or else they are own are fuller of variety. many scenes of mistress. such as are If they content themselves as Corneille did. which goes sometimes on of safety. that we have many plays of ours as what. I mean besides the chorus. or The Faithful Shepherdess. all the persons in the play must have some English stage. or to be allowed also for maturity of design. And these exam- subject of his sad condition. is likelihood of truth. never empty all the while: so that the street. our plots are weaved in English looms: or courtyard.

the most pleasant and frequent entertainments of pare him with the greatest of mankind. used his judgement in correcting. which was their precedent.57 greater spirit in the writing. and however others are because (generally speaking) Shakespeare. What value he had author. but learning. But he is always great. reported of Ben Jonson. earnestly regarding accurate a judge of plays. poet ever writ. especially those my opinion. said he. ought to give place to him? play that brought Fletcher and him in esteem was I fear. and one of them. you more than see it. presented to him: no man can say he ever had a fit Eclogues r:25. Beaumont especially being so Silent Woman. and perhaps ancient poets. that in most of the irregular plays of Shakespeare subject for his wit. at least his equal. and you do not think all writers. you speak of the play. All the and quickness of wit in repartees. I could produce even in The consideration of this made Mr. him. than. he needed not the spec. for before that. he looked inwards. but he would produce it much bet- Wives of Windsor. had with the advantage of Shakespeare's those rules which the French observe. yet tbrough carelessness made. no poet before images ·of nature were still present to him. perhaps his superior. submitted all his writings to his censure. gratify the he lived. and with him the greater part of the observer of the dramatic laws. that in obeying your their Phi/aster. Those who accuse him to have wanted They represented all the passions very lively. had gentlemen much better. many him in their esteem. who came nearer to per. Eugenius. tacles of books to read nature. in regular than Shakespeare's. He is many the stage. insipid. when some great occasion is 57"As cypresses usually do among bending osiers. I beseech you. Their plays are now alike. and The Scornful Lady: but ter done in Shakespeare. two or three very unsuccessfully: as the like is Besides. As Neander Was beginning to examine The improved by study. what words have since been taken in. who was a careful and learned Suckling. but luckily: when he which Ben Jonson derived from particular per- describes anything. comedies I shall select The Silent Woman. JOHN DRYDEN ." Virgil. it too. love. company and me in particular so far. wit. give him the greater commendation: he above all. yet the age writ first. Sir John from Ben Jonson. I will take the pattern of a perfect play when Ben's reputation was at highest. two of theirs being acted through the times fl'at. in performing them. and To begin with Shakespeare. appears by the verse he writ to him. And in the last king's Court. are rather and found her there. which had contemporaries with comedy. to give us a character of the if not contriving all his plots. both French and therefore I need speak no farther of it. regular) there is a more masculine fancy and Quantum lenta solent inter vibuma cupressi. Hales of Shakespeare's and Fletcher's works. according to speak. Neander.. were he so. and from aIL his courtiers. Fletcher and Jonson. his rivals in poesy. there is in any of the French. his serious swelling into bombast. his comic wit degenerating into clenches. and tell us frankly your opinion. and he them could paint as they have done.it will be first nec. some plays Eton say that there was no subject of which any which are almost exactly formed. I should do him injury to com. whose wild debaucheries. who now generally preferred before him. as before and 'tis thought.. they made it not their business to describe. as The Men). which were made before Beaumont's death. of Beaumont and Fletcher of whom I am next to which I will make a short examen. you feel sons. whether for him. great natural gifts. did not perfectly observe the laws of wherein he lived. set our Shakespeare far above him. that Ben Jonson while him. and Fletcher. he was the man they understood and imitated the conversation of who of all modem. Humour drew them not laboriously. replied Neander. The first English. faults. I am apt to believe the English lan- was naturally learned. they had written commands I shall draw some envy on myself. the largest and most comprehensive soul. guage in them arrived to its highest perfection. and did not then raise himself or Fletcher (for Ben Jonson's are for the most part as high above the rest of poets. before he writ Every Man essary to speak somewhat of Shakespeare and in His HumoLll: Their plots were generally more Fletcher. I cannot say he is everywhere superfluous than ornamental. never equalled them to fection.

He invades authors like a monarch. and humour also in some measure we had before him. But he has done his robberies so openly. it is so aged his strength to more advantage than any who far from exceeding the compass of a natural day. in his comedies especially: perhaps whom all noise but his own talking is offensive. As for Jonson. vulgar. both Greek and Latin. people. The Silent he wanted wit. to laboriously. The scene of it is laid in London. I Shakespeare's language is likewise a little obso. With the spoils of these writers he so one. and in the Spanish transhition of Five Hours with so that he delighted most to represent mechanic58 much wonder. In his works you find little to retrench or alter. and in the two best of any law. but something of art EXAlvIEN OF THE SILENT WOiv/AN was wanting to the drama till he came. (for his last plays were but his dotages) I for perfecting the stage as any wherewith the think him the most learned and judicious writer French can furnish us. as first. as he has given us the most correct plays. he did a delicate hearing. Some who would be thought critics. in its rites. AN ESSAY OF DRAMA TIC POESY 185 . Homer. which any theatre ever had. or an old man. They are not broken above twice or thrice at most that one may see he fears not to be taxed by in the whole comedy. and after the first act. of him. and Corneille's plays. that if one of their poets had written the greatest and most noble of any pure unmixed either of his tragedies. because there is a certain gaiety in their Shakespeare the greater wit. Wit and language. and the action of the play takes up more than twelve bours. to whose character I am now so in the precepts which he has laid down in his arrived. He man. Woman. "artificial" day. the pattern of elaborate writing. we have as many ahd profitable rules self. A beauty perhaps not much came after those who had performed both to such observed. say this leaving the words which he translated almost as humour of his is forced: but to remove that objec- much Latin as he found them: wherein though tion. passions. The intrigue of it is and customs. Shakespeare was the comedies. and pathos in their more serious plays. if it had. or father of our dramatic poets. If I would compare him with Shakespeare. The action of the play is entirely in him. they are what would be theft in other poets. To begin first with the length of the action. as many are to whom all sharp not enough comply with the idiom of ours. Discoveries. You seldom find him making love that it takes not up an artificial one. we had seen less of it comedy in any language: you see in it many per- than in him. He was a most severe Having thus spoken of the author. 'Tis all in any of his scenes. or more than an 5SLow. and he borrowed imagine. we may consider him first to be naturally of he learnedly followed their language. One cannot say to the examination of his comedy. but reason is.year for one of Shakespeare's or Jonson's: the acknowledge him the more correct poet. Jonson which suits generally with all men's humours. I must 59There are actually six different locations. too. preceded him. Humour was his proper sphere. except his own Fox and Alchemist. There is scarce a poet or houses. for it lies all within the compass of two boldly from them. and Ben Jonson's wit comes short of theirs. To conclude lete. or endeavouring to move the included in the limits of three hours and an half. was the Virgil. admire him. ceremonies Morose's estate on Dauphine. we should not have looked on an height. his genius was too sullen and saturnine which is no more than is required for the present- to do it gracefully. he did a little too much Romanize our tongue. in one. and all language. I proceed judge of himself as well as others. 59 The conti- historian among the Roman authors of those nuity of scenes is observed more than in any of times whom he has not translated in Sejanus and our plays. Gatiline. 'twas that he weaved it too closely and delightful. but rather that he was frugal of it. He was deeply conversant in the the latitude of place is almost as little as you can Ancients. is only victory interrupted once. especially when he knew he ment on the stage. If there was any fault in his sons of various characters and humours. the end or aim of which is the settling represents old Rome to us. Morose. but I love Shakespeare. if we look upon him while he was him. the Gid and Ginna.

he is not properly one diately distinguished from the rest of men. 6z"You'd say the spit and image. yet they have small drunken. but rather by mak. lovers. how differs it from other men's? or what indeed or affection. we may a lidiculous object for the spectators. things which are deviations from customs are his quick evasions when you imagine him sur. whereby then it be common. But sation. drawn from the having a place so proper for it. as in)heir tragedies own house.6o of the Besides Morose. But pleasure is person. ever the aptest to produce it. into which I am fallen. of mankind. that wherein he quently begets that malicious pleasure in the is singular is his wit. debauched fellow is a comedy alone. word humeur among them. Morose.sounds are unpleasant. To prove this. yet are all used by the poet. that Ben Jonson was actually acquainted asites. cowardly. courtesans. amorous. that but ill imitations of the ridicuillll1. There are mauy meu tragedies. as if the first of them had begot the rest common to more. and such other persons as we see in their with such a man. by the oddness of which. one lover. to commonly somewhat of unnatural or obscene in the conducting of the main design of perfection. that he has here something so childish and absurd. it must be another. 1 But this il80c. The Ancients had little of to whose play I now return. or farces. one person. passion. so receive a great addition from his resented'is fantastic or bizarre. described the conversation of gentlemen in the ing it with the gravity of the true Socrates. one courtesan so like to find one man of such an humour. And here The descliption of these humours. serving-men. or those things he says. use of it in their comedies. as all praeter expectatum. as the imitation of what is natural. unexpected by the audience. I cannot but knowledge and observation of particular persons. I it. they being vince these people. humour is meant some extravagant habit. audience which is testified by laughter. particular (as I said before) to some causes it to be lidiculous so much as the singular. the poets sought or the wayward authority of an old man in his indeed to express the ~ 80C. where he may make himself obeyed. Falstaff." Terence. enlarge somewhat upon this subject of humour was the peculiar genius and talent of Ben Jonson. Thus when you see Socrates brought upon the shall not waste time in commending the writing stage you are not to imagine him made lidiculous of this play. makes riIEthos in Aristotle is "character": pathos is "suffering"- in particular the tragic deed. it in their comedies. par- persons. and lying. and the more common the more of every sort: ex homine hUllc natUl1J dicas. as the person rep- themselves. If among the English 'tis otherwise. the rcci80C. all which they made alike: that is. 460. merry. I need but tell them. but a miscellany of humours or images. But to con. vain. of which Alistophanes was chief. contained and to this the poet seems to allude in his name. stirred up laughter in the Old Comedy. one he is here represented. or that which humour is the ridiculous extravagauce of couver. and secondly. Others say it is not enough old man or father. which as they are extremely diverting of this laughter is only accidental. 60The ridiculous. As for the French. one altogether as lidiculous as comedies. 62 The natural. which humour. but I will give you my opinion. there is more wit and acuteness of fancy in it than ing him perform something very unlike himself.. Besides. Comedy which succeeded. Beside this. 186 JOHN DRYDEN . I am assured from divers as old men. all which persons have several concern- people laugh at some odd conceit. wherein one man differs from all others. as by compar. most fre- drawn from so many several men. in any of Ben Jonson's. In their New attlibute much of it to the peevishness of his age. they instauce in the best of same custom they observed likewise in their comical characters. only the general characters of men and manners. different characters and humours in The Silent was not so much to imitate a man. though they have the resembling him. EUlluch. though by the way prised. for the 'to ')'EA010V. or communicated to many. old. there are at least nine or ten Old Comedy. being lively and naturally represented. which had ments of their own. for the very sight of such an unwieldy old essential to it. fat. as io make the Woman. that by the imitation of his actions. he is imme- ity of it? As for Falstaff.

were him long beforehand is made evident by what he translated into French prose (which would now tells Truewit in the second act. and some others of his.r:r68-70. air and freedom. in the third the Collegiate Ladies. but it takes more because less heroes to our aid. nothing is represented but that with which I will observe yet one thing further of this he daily converses: so that by consequence all admirable plot. our nation can never want in any age AN ESSAY OF DRAMA TIC POESY . he reserves some new characters to show who designs a large leap takes his rise from the you. and when they are mon rank. But that the poet But our poet. sees. Epistles II. 'tis of it in his comedies. Numps and Cokes. because longing expectation of them. given them plays out of verse which have not dis- ing many months. the third able. The second is greater than the first. that in one be no wonder to them. all full of art. In the second Morose. because it is altogether so Lafoole. and his friends. and sudoris minimum. when he has any character or . or untying of it. So commend it as I ought. though they are still naturally long-expected day. Daw. which prepares you 'tis comedy where the persons are only of com. That the marriage had been plotted by If this comedy. and which he him. One of these advantages is that act. 'Tis this which Horace has judiciously than the second. self could never compass above thrice in all his as diversions to the main design. act. pleased them) I believe the controversy would soon be decided betwixt the two nations. But I dare not take upon me to com. and the Collegiate Ladies. he has left it to us almost as extreme elaborate. has made use of all advantages. Morose. by Dauphine for the settling of his uncle's estate little and little he draws out his men. whereon the action of the play joined with it. that is. who was not ignorant of these might entertain you with more variety all this difficulties.'. that nothing of thei r plays. which he opens not till the second and third highest ground. This day was that designed by servient to it. then. he recommends it to think the poet could have missed it. lest it should plays. viz. the business of it rises in every faults lie open to discovery.. For the contrivance of the plot. and somewhere or other sub- is to depend. and few are pardon. like a skilful chess-player. quanta veniae minus. in other way would sooner have entered into your Bartholomew Fair he gives you the pictures of thoughts. that I must umavel every scene in it to which you hear described before you see them. _ 63 business can naturally be effected. And this excellent con. which I gaiety. mend the fabric of it. and in this those of Daw. with more There is another artifice of the poet. marry him. not elevated there. or his highest skill. he moves afterwards in by-walks. There observed: too you see. Be it spoken to the honour of allowance is made. to receive them favourably. the making choice of some signal and grow tedious. sed habet Comedia tanto when the audience is brought into despair that the plus oneds. as he while." Horace. Thus. an~ yet withal easy. and so forward to the fifth. and makes upon him. 'tis so admirable. all which which can arrive to any poem. or under-plots. than in the rest of his cannot here omit. and their business private. no one of the audience would maistre. Thus. But we need not call our its matter comes from daily life. the discovery is made. new difficul- Creditur ex medio quia res arcessit habere ties arising to obstruct the action of the play.persons of Truewit. the Barber and which Corneille has laid down as the greatest Otter. that before they come upon the stage you have a tri vance is still the more to be admired. even 63"One might think that Comedy takes less work because making them the judges. that humour wherein he would show a coup de when it is done. even from their first appearance you are so by passions or high concernments as in serious far acquainted with them. till the very last scene. Here everyone is a proper judge of all he humour is lost to you. since Moliere has lately moment he had destroyed what he had been rais. because by the frequent practice comedies. that any before the person first appears. and yet it was your observation by a pleasant description of it concealed so much before the last scene..1501<. which to compass he contrives to his pawns of use to his greater persons. for the a rule. and not before. the English.

had buried the imperfections. ita censura difficilis: betwixt poems which yield not to those of any foreign the extremes of admiration' and malice. and quick to discern them. Only I think it glish. And restoration of our happiness. so can it which have been made within these seven years: be no addition to pronounce of our present poets (and perhaps there is no nation in the world so that they have far surpassed all the Ancients. IH . and already shaking off of our late plays. and little enemies of all good learning. I say.have had some little blemish enin a to us to yield to some plays. 91. 'tis out of the consideration the rnbbish which lay so heavy on it. I ask no favour from the French. if we.. yet with the ourselves. some slight. see p. abandoned to a barbarous race of men. as ours:) yet if we can persuade ourselves to use the candour of that poet. ut seen since his majesty's return. who (though the most severe of critics) has left us this caution by "'''If happy effects I Figure more. It cannot may be permitted me to say. And though the fendar maculis. Art of Poetl)'. and which deserve all laurels but the En. fury of a civil war. beauties. 352. I will set aside flattery and envy. the few bad spots. and power. we can wink at.Ubi plura nitent in camune non ego paucis of- with any people in the universe.. we see revived if I do not venture upon any particular judgement poesy lifting up its head." Horace. or so difficult to pardon the modem writers of other countries . I won't take offense at which to moderate our censures. Vivo rum. for twenty years If in consideration of their many and great together. We have which an ancient writer gives me. can be thus equal to muses under the ruins of monarchy. and those not either in the plot or writing of all those plays many of our own nation in the last age.such who are able to dispute the empire of wit . many dramatic magna admiratio. that as it is no less- be denied but we . to judge uprightly of the living. 188 JOHN DRYDEN .. 'tis hard nation. them.

Another is that she was the "Ayfara" born the same year to John and Amy Amis (of unknown occupa- tion) in Wye. or. however. which until its loss to the Dutch in 1665 had been a British colony. and that she came by her education through the aristocratic Colepeper family when her mother became wet nurse to one of its children. to spy for England in Antwerp. Her plays. The APHRA BEHN . mainly comedies of intrigue like those of George Etherege and William Wycherley. Behn himself does not appear in her later writ- ings. At least thirteen of her plays were produced between 1670 and 1687. and she was known by that name from then on. and some have sunnised that he may have died or separated from Aphra before 1666. and Behn found herself seriously in debt because she wrongly believed that the Crown would pay the expenses she incurred in its service. but she was soon bailed out. It was disregarded. a connection to the government through the theatrical producer Thomas Killigrew. Yet there is no evidence that her father. She had. along with her verbal ability and skill at intrigue. as was required in an age when the playwright's "royalties" were the receipts from the third night's perfor- mance and irregular "author' snights" thereafter . In the late 1660s. daughter of the barber Bartholomew Johnson of the cathedral town of Canterbury. The J'yfoor's Revenge (1676). As a result of his re- commendation. Abdelazar. Behn was jailed in debtor's prison.a risky business when many plays did not run even three nights. She stayed in Surinam at the plantation of the governor-general. like that of the narrator of Oroonoko. On her return to England (she said she was eighteen but may have been some- what older). The Dutch Lover (1673). which was used as a costume in a Dryden play. Her information might have been valuable had it been credited. she married a merchant of Dutch extraction named Behn. Behn brought back and transmitted intelligence gathered by others about Admiral de Wit's plans to assault English vessels in their harbors at the outset of the Second Dutch War (1665-67). Lord Arlington. Aphra Behn had a personal interview with Charles II and was sent by Charles's foreign minister. and began her literary career as a playwright around 1670. were performed primarily by Killigrew's "King's Company" during the next two decades~ Behn kept herselfvery busy. Her works for the theater include The Forced Marriage (1670). but her birthplace and maiden name and many of the facts of her life are still either cloaked in darkness or subjects of controversy. And it is generally agreed that she traveled at some time between 1658 and 1663 to Surinam (now the independent country of Suriname) on the north equa- tOlial coast of South America. Lord Willoughby.AphraBehn r640?-r689 Aphra Behn is considered the first Englishwoman to have lived by her pen. or The Royal Slave (published 1688). One theory has it that she was born Aphra Johnson. including the names and per- sonal habits of the ruling gentry. had been appointed lieutenant-governor of the colony. and there collected the factual background for her most famous narra- tive. She apparently brought back to England a cloak of feathers of native manufacture. OroolJoko.

Behn's Preface to The Lucky Chance focuses on the charges of obscenity laid against her by envious fellow poets who. The Banished Cavalier. today Behn is ~etter known as an innovator in prose fiction who created the "factual fictions" that Daniel Defoe was later to bring to greater perfection. despite the unfamiliar language in which it is couched. a recon- struction of the scandal surrounding a Whig lord who had eloped with his sister-in- law. Though some of Behn's plays have been successfully revived. An Aldennan's Bargain (ca. Like a Hollywood director accused of bting- ing sex or violence to a new level of offensiveness in a film. that comedies of inttigue require offstage extramarital sex. and resents only that he. its African hero himself captures and sells others into slavery. attacking the base venality and cruelty of the European colonists and settlers. or." which dominated Westem culture iu the era of Rousseau. Oroonoko was not in any sense (as it has fre- quently been called) an antislavery novel. should remind us of twentieth-century issues. the successful dramatist is caught between the Scylla of recurrent moral outrage and the Charybdis of an audience's craving for the new. but it is also interesting as an iIIustration Of how an individual text was attacked and defended in an age when lit- erature was considered a form of rhetoric. When every member of an audience is a qualified judge.Rover. Behn insists that the outrageousness of her text is essentially that of the genre within which it works. The City Heiress. Behn also published her Poems on Several Occasions in r684. Behn's rhetoric. she is buried in Westminster Abbey. Sir Timothy Treat-all (r682). Behn's health began to fail in the early r680s and she died in r689. the novel was instrumental in establish- ing the convention of the "noble savage. or. The novel takes the institution of slavery for granted. or. The Lucky Chance. a prince. The Feign'd Courtesans. the first British play set in America (published posthumously in r 690). when he comes into the Bride-chamber. She also argues that The Lucky Chance was previewed and judged APHRA BEHN . Its ideology is equally surprising for its day: Oroonoko is intensely anti-imperialistic. but commu- nity standards are not really univocal or agreed upon. A Night's Intrigue (r679). based upon an incident Behn observed in The Hague in the r660s. Behn maintains that the much-criticized moment in the play where "Mr. she claims. the year of the Glorious Revolution. or The Royal Slave is filled with the sort of gritty. or. PClI1 I (r677). rather than her own stage direction." was an actor's improvisation. Her witty response deflates the hypocrisy of her fellow wits. thus having an immediate relation with the audience. and The WidolV Ranter. r686). Part II (r68r). concrete details that suggest the narrator was an eyewitness to real happenings. On the other hand. where stretching the permissi- ble limits of a genre gains an enthusiastic audience until "going over the top" loses it. The Round/wads. Leigh opens his Night GOlVn. has been tricked into bondage. The Good Old Cause (r68r). as in recent London productions of The Rover and The Luc"-·y Chance. Sir Patient Fancy (r678). and The Fair Jilt (r688). maliciously wish to tear down anything of quality that would threaten the success of their own plays. Behn's other stOlies and novels include Love Letters Between a Noble-Man and His Sister (r684). Indeed. or. The narrative of Oroolloko. The Rover.

Athens: University of Ohio Press. including the "rating board" of Davenant. The Passionate Shepherdess: AphraBehn.. "Tory Wit and Unconventional Woman: Aphra Behn. 349-72. [640-[689. ed. white. If in those words she was immodestly thinking of herself. "'Oh! Do Not Fear a Woman's Invention': Truth. ill-favour'd. where she takes on the "phlegmatick." Those who most overestimate the poet's need for learning are often. New York and London: Cambridge University Press. O'Donnell. and unquestioned Fame. I993. and Killigrew.. " . stressing instead that education is hardly a playwright's first requirement. that it was vet- ted before publication by "several Ladys of very great Quality. Falsehood and Fiction in Aphra Behn's Oroonoko. Huttner. of whatever sort" as men. Maureen. Behn presumes that women are "as capable of knowledge. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. L'Estrange. Behn's feminist successors would hardly be in agreement with Behn's claim that "the poet in me" is "my Masculine Part". Wilson and Frank J." In Women Writers of the Seventeenth Century. Heidi. most of today' s read- ers would agree that Behn achieved those heights." Like her near-contemporary. in case their masculine sensibilities might be expected to be a bit coarse. Todd. Mary Ann. Duffy. Gareau." and even the more educated Ben Jonson "was no such Rabbi neither. But given the male audience for her plays. Mary Astell." says Behn. I know of none that write . for it was a woman's. Behn seems more intensely feminist in the Preface to her quarto edition of The Dutch Lover (1673). but they would surely be sympathetic to her plea that women competing with men be judged by the same standards.such as Limberham by poet laureate John Dryden.. Robert L. Janet. Rereading Apllra Belln: HistOf)" TheOf)' and Criticism. T99 6. Apllra Belm Studies. 1989.. Selected Bibliography Chibka. she suggests. but that a woman may well hope to reach their greatest heights. Given that native genius and invention are more important than learning and the rules of art. Warnke. and that similar scrutiny is not accorded to equally outrageous texts by her male con- temporaries . as one may suspect. 1977. wretched Fop" who complained on opening night "that they were to expect a woful Play." Texas Swdies in Literature and Language 30 (1988): 5 10-37. The "immortal Shakespeare" had no more learning himself "than often falls to women's share. London: Cape.. she does not argue this directly. she has been singled out for attacks on the decency of her plays.. Katharina M. and." who considered it harmless fun. except our most unimitable Laureat [John Dryden] . those who have absorbed the least education them- selves. eds. as a woman writer. 1980. APHRA BEHN 191 .(given perhaps the equivalent of today' s PG-13 rating) by the most authoritative per- sons. ed. New York: Dial Press. God damn him. if granted the same access to education. Reconstructing Aphra: A Social Biography of Aphra Belm. Equally modern is Behn's claim that. Angeline. there is little bar to women excelling in the arts.

as pany of Apocryphal midnight Tales cull'd out of all the benefits it hath or can be gUilty of. by such an idle Pamphlet as this is. As observers of the nocturnal habits of the dissipated wretches think they are doing something all the men and women of Charles II's London. of the Mystery of God. and then had me less assured of than others happily may be: treated you with Indiscerpibility and Essential but I have heard some wise men say that no con- Spissitude (words. and make the fondest and the lewdest Crew about this ware your money and your time accordingly. if those who are the the beginning of my Book. I am myself well able to peremptory and ill-natur'd (though prettily inge. Reader. and several other things expected to have seen everything and to have a street-wise (that shall be nameless lest I misspell them) are sense of humor about it all. had I hung a sign of the anciently oblig'd to it for most of that which they Immortality of the Soul. link-boys could be while) as Logick etc.wisdom in the world beyond it. and if you have a better you apt to think myself could almost make it clear. but 'tis butI think I have known it very fully prov'd. which my want of letters makes liness. and least nious) Doctor of Malmsbury undigested and ill. and continually employs so many ignorant. Take notice. twelve. which unaided proved in Folio that Appolonius was a naughty by the unlucky charms of Poetry. which though I am no compe. If I had only never make sufficient amends for. I do you yet. Honey. APRRA BERN . and even some ingenious your affairs. do not near what penny-worths you are like to have. for want of Languages. Sweet. unhappy souls for ten. for if you should unhappily converse them would not yet be understood to lessen the dignity through the year. opposers cif it most abominably baffl'd in the for I presume you have not much to do and there.men's minds or manners.ance of God. yet I fancy communicated. of the worst principles transcrib'd out of the However true this is. can the choicest Insignificant Authors. 1A boy hired to carry a "link" Ca torch made of tow dipped twenty years in the University (who yet poor in pitch) to light his employer through the otherwise unlit streets. so neither will misspend your Time. justly charg'd with too great reformation of ill educated Chaplain I were then indeed suffi. I must have a word or two with you not assert this purely upon my own knowledge. Sugar-Candied READER. both not to beg your pardon for diverting you from sides being fairly heard. or had presented you with two or three have possest a thinking Creature such as man.the Dramatique (so I think you call them) can be manag'd by a silly. for I allow for such a little Link-Boy's! Ribaldry thick have heard the most of that which bears the name larded with unseasonable oaths & impudent defi- of Learning. and on the other way. you will not find one Dram of of Playes. am I altogether of their judgement who believe no yourself. you may guess pretty most assiduous Disciples of the Stage. may get you gone about your business: but if you and as I would not undervalue Poetry. I have often heard ter. for I have dealt pretty fairly in the mat. that it hath strongly ought to mean just nothing) with a com.serv'd to propogate so many idle superstitions. I Town. ignorant.siderable part of useful knowledge was this way tent Judge of. or of Ecclesiastical policie. Indeed. and which has abused such quanti. I am worse employment.call'd Science. for surely tbey deserve a place among sense amongst a Club of them.An Epistle to the Reader from The Dutch Lover Good. and that at ties of Ink and Paper. before you do advance into the Treatise.Argument: Some of which I have got so perfectly fore are to be obliged to me for keeping you from by rote. pray lay the fault upon .affirm that none of all our English Poets. that if this were a proper place for it. saucy. but having inscrib'd Comedy on appeal to general experiment. and all things serious. impertinent. and for that I may ciently in fault. much more absolutely nothing than the errantest Which I think is more than anyone has called Play that e' er was writ. could never knave. told you in the Title Page what you are to indeed (and read) how much the World was expect within. unless you will the middle if not the better sort of Books.

I will have leave to say that in my about the rules of it. no sublunary feats Apothecaries trade. hath the frequent Preaching. you may be sure I once imagine what temptation anyone can have to would not have expos'd it. he must late learned Doctor. tall felJows into each pocket. lither. and whoever undertakes a Supplement prov'd the most debauch'd. (as you'll believe by that things he meets. which have been prettie well received of miracle of Wit (in spite of Academick frippery) late. or battering Manners. as if 'twere the grand affair judgement the increasing number of our latter of humane life. the iugenious Censors of the Play. white. matter. (a devilish clog to Wit and Parts). and all that: yet if the Authors did not half-a-dozen fair new Windows in a Moming kindly add their proper names. nor did I so till I had expect it from them. for the speedier ridding them a leaf or two of the Prologue. since as I take it Comedie was never Besides this Theam is worn too thread-bare by meant. because that Playes. would spoil near half the that is the Knight of the Play. To teII you my thoughts of it. (indeed without all judge. ill-favour'd. were to little Controversie they have done less harm) nor can I purpose. for ifhe can't bestrid the the Town the charge of Vomits. as opposed to the hellraisers battering their windows at dawn. If you consider tion for judgement of this kind. you'd never know after their debauch. HistOl)' of England. And for their wisdom and design I Comedie. for sure I am no Play was first consulted most of those who have a reputa- ever writ with that design. And tisement that wise men have: but I do also think therefore to return to that which I before was them nothing so who do discourse as formallie speaking of. if unlikely patterns for a wise man to pursue: For he 'twere well distributed. and save the sober people of must serve his Dulcinea. and being ask'd how he came to bestir certainly intended for the exercising of men's himself so much this way. you may for your shiUing hath been pester'd with. have either isfaction. or most unwittie to anything he hath discourst. good than other grouling Mortals know. though himself no great without considering right or wrong confound all asserter of a Deity. and he is infi- was because their ignorance and indiscreet uitely far from wise that will bestow one debauch made them a scandal to the profession of moment's meditation on such things: And as for Atheism. you are told that of their Estate. sleepers. for were they very ill. This being my opinion of Plays. And it was Moon. whilst the dull unjantee2 them by their Characters. good Humour." characterizing the stay~at~home reasons as a confirmation of my owu. and in the Press: Nor did I take their single word for it. who were at least Tragedy. for Playes were Religion. it hath happen'd so spightfully in several ceed no farther in their character. that even those persons that were meant to be the mighty Echard3 hath already done it to my sat. but us' d their 2Variant of "unjaunty. the finest folks you meet with there are never knew it reach beyond the invention of some still unfitter for your imitation. or their Wit. there comes 3Probably Laurence Echard. But I'll pro. they are people of Wit. had better for their people in the Company: nor is this error very lam- reputation be doing nothing. either for a converting or a conforming the whiffling would-be Wits of the Town. entable. an Officer in AN EPISTLE TO THE READER 193 . wretched Fop. which this last age my gentle Reader. and truly if he ally persuading of this sort of men (if I for once come not something near this Pitch I think the may call them so) of the necessity and truth of our Tragedy's not worth a farthing. for whatsoe' er' s the Rascal they belong to is fast asleep. he'll ne'er make good his business to the smartly said (how prudently I cannot tell) by a end. as. author of a contemporary me into the Pit. who. phlegmatick. and of Ordinance: In short. Indeed that day 'twas Acted first. than could. for though within notable expedient.and put you half-a-score likely which follows) yet was observed to be continu. and if he chance to be offended. I think a Play the best diver- both the stone-blind-eyes of the Kingdom. a long. you'll find their best of Characters so civil (if not kind) to it as did encourage me to venture it upon the Stage.such a senseless damn'd unthinking rate. made answer that it passions not their understandings. which whether I have been successful in. I Plays have not done much more towards the studied only to make this as en tertaining as I amending of men's Morals.

that attention. The name itself may have corne from the marks on the instrument. Scotlalld. I Rabbi neither. who at Lawrence. I have a complaint or two to make to the difference between the number of sixteen and you and I have done. Now how this came about I am not to improve men's too imperfect knowledge of sure. alld Irelalld (1894). if at least that Character do not dwindle I thought there were a mau of any tolerable parts. (sufficient indeed to rob poor Salust of his best orations) and it hath been observ'd that they are apt to admire him most -lJanet Todd's new edition of Aphra Behn's works defines confoundedly. well his tight hand from his left. and for our Modern ones. I tell ye. Plays (who was not gUilty of much more of this but supplied it with a great deal of idle stuff. than often falls to women' s share) have better which I was wholly unacquainted with until pleas'd the World than Johnson's works. Laurence: 4 And if Comedy should be the picture lanous Wit: for Creatures of his size of sense talk of ridiculous mankind I wonder anyone should without all imagination. so that Jack-pudding by the way 'tis said that Benjamin was no such ever us'd to do: which though I knew before. each player would win or lose pins or tokens that excellent Play of Harry the Fourth (which according to which side came up. Lawrence was martyred. The Traditional Games of hath always had a greater share both in the action England.but no more of such they are enough intelligible and as practible by a a Smelt: This thing. whilst we are furnish'd up from other folks. opening that which woman. severe of Johnson's Sect. Then for their musty rules of Unity. For waving the examination why women did more harm to this than it could have done to having equal education with men. but that respect which we that wtite at such a formidable rate. except our most nought else to shield it from the uttermost con. A thing. but affectation cites Alice Bertha Gamme. were not as any of another sort. expect a woful Play. needs much spoil the beauty on't. Reader . and j ustly state Reader. the Plot being busie (though capable of knowledge. yet when considered as a part heights. out issued such a noise as heads with any other rule of Playes besides the this to those that sate about it. but if you of. into Farce. which being interrupted by the intoler- Plays have no great room for that which is men's able negligence of some that acted in it. zigzags. by rolling the Long for almost three hours at The Alchymist. for I am infonn'd that his Learning gave him yet the Part.Masquerade newly transported with a Scarf & and discourse of men than truth and judgement Feather out of France. for 'twas done take a little pains to make him know how much he so imperfectly as never any was before. which ens. who have just such a scantling of a "Long Lawrence" as an instrument marked with signs about three inches long like a short ruler or totem with eight sides. because I knew him so was but Grammar high. I would not for a world be with such precious Originals as him I lately told taken arguing with such a propertie as this. I would was hugely injur'd in the Acting. unimitable Laureat. sit with his Hat remov'd and crosses. and avoiding of scunility. The ancient English game with the same name less than a hair's breadth from one sullen posture was played (particularly at Christmas). and of God's Creation. if they meant anything. and I have seen a man the most Each side had a different set of markings of strokes. that is Learning. we make honourable mention God knows what besides. I dare to say I know of none tempt of all mankind. My Dutch We all well know that the immortal Shakespeare's Lover spoke but little of what I intended for him. which though we do not woman may well hope to reach their greatest well allow to Jive. though I had heard it first from him. on which St. for it was a might much better be employed in studying how woman's. must great advantage over women. yet had this prejudice upon him. it as he had. that they were to making them pleasant. a sorry Animal that has have. but I suppose he brought it piping hot from that ancient English Game which hight long some who had with him the reputation of a vil. which resembled the yet I hope is far enough from Farce) hath very bars of a gridiron. such scraps as they pick think it such a sturdy task. and so become too mean an entertain- who could upon mature deliberation distinguish ment for those persons who are us'd to think. God damn him. of whatsoever sort as well I think not intticate) and so requiring a continual as they: I'll only say as I have touch'd before. Todd hardly kept his Doublet whole. Know then that this Play two. but really methinks they that disturb their serves it for a mouth. of them. but that a afford to Rats and Toads. 194 APHRA BEHN .

Lastly my Epilogue was promis'd me by a Person who had surely Yrne «fusly bit of Latine . and to speak nothing but good. charge me with all the Plays that have ever been offensive. here. tho they may hear that from them they blush at from in vain: The Poets I heartily excuse. made it good. make out your penyworth you have it here. has put me on a natural Colour at the reading them: yet are never Vindication of this Comedy from those Censures taken Notice of. knows not the Author. they Right or Wrong they must be Criminal because a charge it with the old never failing Scandal . but can no other way prevail with the Town. which the ill-favour'd likeness of their (and how much longer I can't tell) in favour of the Habits is suppos' d to cause. with reading. and so between the production and publication of the play.But I make a Challenge to any Person sort of Self-Interest in their Malice. Judgements with their false Notions. but Reader. 2Like a cheat for his vict im. their fair Cheeks would perhaps wear a Sparks and Poets of the Town.That Woman 's. and in some of their most over the Town and Court. I scandal Behn is discussing: Angel had died in the interval have eas' d my mind of all I had to say. without the least Wits and Beaus. ably the proverb "De mortuis nil nisi bonum": Of the dead deput'd one. Now. or thinking. a fusty piece of Latine5 that has past depended upon the mistakes of the Colonel for fro m hand to hand this thousand years they say Haunce. and ill Nature have thrown upon it. who will in spight of Nature be Coursely as 'twas possible. Adieu. condemning it that if I should here strip from their Wit and to worse than Death. to examine whether it be guilty sly give it out) the Ladys were oblig'd to hear or not. which I shou'd of common Sense and Reason . and he indeed did vex me so. though I wish with all their Faults I had been the Author of some of those lRestoration playwrights were paid not by a fixed royalty but by the receipts of the third night of the production (and they have honour' d me with. lying fu l. I intended him a habit much more notably the Town. The application is to Edward Angel. the Indecencys only from their Pens and Plays and Ladies taking up any Scandal on Trust from some some of them have ventur'd to treat 'em as conceited Sparks. to read any of my Comedy's And nothing makes them so thorough-stitcht an and compare 'em with others of this Age. I could ridiculous. wrest a double Entendre from every thing. comparing. condemning them without having the ' tis not fit for the Ladys: As if (if it were as they fal. Preface to The Lucky Chance The little Obligation I have to some of the witty proper. but when they are sure ' tis damn' d. I will submit to all their peevish Cavills. who has made it as you see. and if Enemy as a full Third Day. their Pity. sans farther complyment. . because a Man writ them. and when they Ear. like a Rook of any thing. poysoning of others Celebrated Plays have enteltained ' em with things. for many of the Scenes in the three last Acts I suppose.acceptable to most o'th' lighter Periwigs about dead. The the actor who played the male lead in The Dutch Lover and whose ad-libbing of lines and vulgar stage business caused the Prologue is by misfortune lost. the author received nothing. Loss of Fame. Reader. and never to shew good Nature and speak well upon the Catch for a Jest or a Quibble.. Christian Charity. When a play did not run a full three days. which if ever it be important was so almost be angry: Yet. if any.2 but any unprejudic'd Person that then they afford it that worse Scandal.that is not wil- rather call a witty Way they have in this Age.1that's Crime enough to they find one Word that can offend the chastest load it with all manner of Infamy. PR E FACE TO THE LUCKY CHANCE 195 . and will in spight of Sense Railing at every thing they find with pain success. since there is a a Woman . of fully bent on ill Nature. for a Cully. in favour of the dead" is prob. other subsequently declared author's nights). and that Malice. but he failing of his word. you remember. then scatter it for Authentick all Reproach from them. And to fortilie Occasion that conducts ' em in and makes them their Detraction.

it being Lawyers Wife. based on Seneca. I hope he has his Cloaths the Business. or make it. places they are designed for.in Circumspection. Cuckolds. I must conclude those Politicko-. they cry. The Maid's Tragedy: a appeal to all unbyast Judges of Sense.in the fam'd Sir Fop/ing strict Order he had. not to recite Particulars. arid alarm Oedipus. whose Business is to find Fault. if not by cites it for her own purpose. and between and the Men of their unjust Reflections on so the King and AmintaI'. though against my Behnalludes to The Man of Mode. to ridicule the idea that an actor a loose and gross Imagination to create them. and never known to have been mine. and the Man the Town. and very little Nigh! Gown. cuckolded. is that any more than you see in the because written by Men: such Masculine Strokes most Celebrated of your Plays? as the City in me. the Scene of undressing the Bride.All these I Name as some of the pens that I challenge anyone. from the the young Lady . But 'tis in vain by dint of Sophocles. see the Scene between the Court you will I hope in some Measure esteem Judges of Bawds. When it hap. and comes out again the joyfull'st to the Commands he had from Court. or any thing that can version of 1679. or Sir Fopling Flutter. City those of this sort fall to my share. when he comes into the Bride-cham. and yet they so naturally fall into the ber. Plays I have writ come forth under any Mans Valentinian: a tragedy by John Fletcher (perfOImed 1610-14. Sir of another kind for the Men Writers. to take great Woman alive. and after between the King many Judges of Wit and Decencys. who more severe than any. which is a Jest of his own making. And this one Courtly Nice: a comedy b" John Crowne (1685). after all these Supervisors the Ladys may Venice in many places. they must either find the Jest.see be convinc'd. and Evadne . merely sleepwear of the day. they find Faults Politick. Sir Roger L'Estrange read it and licens'd it. Had I a. and lastly the Master Players. and never scarce so many Hours to write this in (the Play. Davenan! out of Respect saw before. The Lolldoll Cuckolds: a comedy by Edward Ravenscroft (1682). when the klan takes would sum up all your Beloved Plays. though I say those things in any Indecency? I have seen in that admirable Play of of mine wou'd damn the whole Peice. So in that lucky Play of the London that. must not be allow'd. sent for Cuckold with such Dexterity. for having made her Husband a Care that no Indecency should be in Plays. see the very Words . the Taylor to Mr. And Valentiniall all loose and ruffld a Decency and their own Interest. Why being all printed off and the Press waiting. The Maids Tragedy . Behn Criticks. that there is not the least Fault to be on underneath? And if so. If I should repeat the Words least Expression of what some have made their exprest in these Scenes I mention. having been so Moment after the Rape. 3 the Gown open'd wide. After Characters. and another is thereby Things in them that are past with such Silence by." This was not a joke or funny business.4 the Lady kfayoress. and all this you see with- many Years Prentice to the Trade of Judging.'!: a comedy by John Crowne (1683). The Moor of Venice: the subtitle of Name. Another crys. because it has a Vanity in it: That had the classic Restoration comedy by George Etherege (1676). perus'd it with great Dorimollt and Bellillda. For the farther Justification of this Play. who goes with a Man she never a Comedy of Intrigue Dr. I might justly Discourse. and the Old Women (if there be any such) greater Critics in that sort of Conversation than my self. as I have shown in his Drawers and Waist coat. Modesty. thought it an Offence before. That Mr. where is the found with them. and 4Behn refers to several plays in this pass·age. And in that and found no such Faults as ' tis charg'd with: Then good Comedy of Sir Courtly Nice. for appearing without his coat must be obscene. who find "This would have to be the John Dryde~ I Nathaniel Lee any of that sort in mine. Leigh opens his be charg'd with course ill Manners. out Scandal. Sir Fopling: thing I will venture to say. In Act 2. Killigrew. putting out anything he ing unnatural nor obscene: 'tis proper for the but imagin'd the Criticks would play with. who Valentinian. and so are proper for and which I never saw. published 1647). and a thousand others The Moor of I say. a Nature. if he do. if they had tragedy by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher (1610-II).) I we know not what they mean. Day or two's time. to point me out the best Plays I know. they left nothing that could offend. I Shakespeare's Othello (1602-4). and yet I see noth- it and nicely look't it over. not said that Person had made as many good APHRA BEHN . scene I there is a stage direction: t Reason or Comparison to convince the obstinate "Oedipus enters walking asleep in his shirt. and all the a Woman off the Stage. not the original play by justly be reproach't.

and at this rate. to take those Measures that at least to divert. that some have been pleas' d to find in the Interest for a' silly Sawcy fruitless Jest. but the wilfully blind? Town. because of my Sex. but that you will usurp all to your selves. Fools laugh. is the Priviledge for my Masculine Part so Criminal. for its further Justification to you. to the witty Few I speak. a Friend of mine at Wills Coffee House. me he never saw a prettier Comedy. So com. and received their most common Sense. Test of the censoring World. Other Ladys who saw it more than once. both the few both the Ancient and Modem Writers have set me. have this I cannot omit to tell you. a~d all the Degrees of good favourable Opinion. and those I hope will be so kind Age. not one charging it with the Manners. If I must not. to whom I am oblig'd for ungrateful World. and Women blush. My self all the while. However. but a Devil on't tbe Woman damns the Poet. as in him lay. I in the full Cry make his Noise too. insensible. and the Players who toil in vain and by which they have pleas'd the World so well: will be weary of their Trade. is this reasonable from scandalous. for endeavouring have so long thriv'd in. that must stand the was read by several Ladys of very great Quality.kindertomyBrothers of the Pen. that the first Copy of this Play much less practice it in a Play. I can retire from the will take no Offence. be addicted to the Indecencys alledged. cry'd it down as much we. for I plaisant one pestilent Wit will bdo another. if I had been guilty any thing they design to favour. Poets that are left. but since 'tis value Fame as much as if I had been born a Hero.it and assured because I will be. PREFACE TO THE LUCKY CHANCE 197 . were pleas'd to of this Crime charg'd to me. to make Acting. I lay down my Quill. who before had read. knowing my Conversation not at all Ladies. no not so much as to make Comparisons. that shall not be an the Poet in me. they found an Entertainment in it very far stupid. that a Wit of the Freedom. renouncing my Fame. And I must want and unquestioned Fame. I hope the better Judges and if you rob me of that. and am not content to write for a Third day only. Town. and you shall hear no more of the first Night of the Play. than they have been to a defenceless Woman. Is this likely. I found by my Receipts it was not thought All I ask. and for the Generality of the to be believ'd by any body. to me. as anyone Man that has writ in our better Judgments. that I would pleas'd to know. and wise Men whose Quality and Vertue can sufficiently justifie asham'd. and scorn its fickle Favours. all Modesty and Crime. (if any such you will allow me) to Incouragement to me to trouble the Criticks with tread in those successful Paths my Predecessors new Occasion of affronting me.Comedies. remaining the only say.

and the numbers came. drawn from a variety of classical and Renaissance sources . The central and recurring image of the Essay on Criticism is that of the eternal war between critics. who judge according to a rigid system of regulations. What has best survived. The Essay on Criticism. The critics come in for a lash- ing in Part IT. they set the poetic standard for the age. the Essay on Criticism isotig- inal only in that it is addressed to critics rather than to poets. "Art" can be opposed to "Nature" in any of the following senses: It can be the world ALEXANDER POPE . his Essay on Man (I733) became its optimistic and rationalistic creed. Pope's tendency to use his central terrus in a variety of related but distinct ways can be confusing.but these well-worn truths he imbues with a c1atity and brilliance of expression.from Horace and Quintilian to Boileau and Dryden . and in the sense that they take only a single aspect of a poem into account without understanding its end or how it relates to the chosen means. Pope's demonstrations of prosody and imagery here have become classic citations. and delicate of consti- tution. to make an original contribution to literary theory. which left him dwarfed. although Pope presents the poets' perspective. its laureate in all but name. published in I7 I I and written possibly as early as I707. when he "lisp'd in numbers. however learned. and in fact.Alexander Pope I688. Pope crafted himself into the prodigy and soon into the poet of eighteenth-century England. and end. Arbuthnot (1735) and the Dunciad (1728-43)." and admits that poets can through genius "snatch a grace beyond the reach of art. "Nature" is sometimes used to signify the objective world of creation and other times to mean human nature or the instinctual basis of our humanity. matter. But since Pope con- sidered it the critic's first duty to endeavor to comprehend fully and disinterestedly the poem's forru. how- ever. delicate fantasies like The Rape of the Lock (I714). with the private education provided by his father. By and large. hemmed in by such rules and longing to soar. Nevertheless. Alexander Pope was legally barred from a university education and from many careers." he also warns them that remorseless criticism will justly clip their wings should they depart from the precedeut of the rules and practices of the ancients. While he insists that "Some beauties yet no precepts can declare / For there's a happiness as well as care. and poets. or vitriolic diatribes like An Epistle to Dr. Pope's central ideas are the standard poetic notions of the Augustan Age. belongs to Pope's earliest years. a well-to-do merchant of London just retired to Windsor Forest. twisted. From his wet nurse he caught a severe case of spinal tuberculosis. where they are attacked for partial readings. he sides with the ctitics. partial both in the sense that their praise and blame depend on the congruence of their party politics with that of the poet.I744 Born into a Roman Catholic family in the year the last Catholic monarch of England." It would be astonishing for any nineteen-year-old. was forced to abdicate his throne. the Essay easily and often shifts its focus from qualities of criticism to qualities of poetry. are his satires. James IT. His translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey (I720 and I725) not only made him a fortune in royalties.

Epistles 6:1." Hudson Review 2 (1950): 559-77.of human invention. and end." Horace.or just an educated person in general. and an education based on the clas- sics to provide models for imitation. and test of Art. Dustin. the context is enhanced by Pope's tendency to repeat each of his ideas at least once before moving on to the next. impart them to me. N. To tire our patience than mislead our sense. Arthur. as opposed to creative instinct." Philological Quarterly 39 (19 60): 435-5 6. Selected Bibliography Empson. AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM 199 . Griffin. But art and nature. which are not announced." he may be using both Nature and Art in three different senses. "Wit" is even more ambiguous than "Art" and "Nature" and can partake of either realm: It may mean "sense" or "intelligence" or "verbal facility" or "genius" or "creative power." Hudson Review 2 (I950): 84-IOO. but Nature meth- odiz'd". E." or it may signify a person with any of these qualities . 1985. "'Wit' in the Essay On Criticism. New York: Garland. Like Sidney. Princeton: Princeton University Press. tum ont to be false dichotomies. Allen G. Boileau. Pope suggests that the poet requires natural genius. and Pope. "Pope on Wit: The Essay on Criticism. "The Unity of Pope's Essay on Criticism. can create an immense and bewildering compression of meaning. Frank. it can be technique and craft. Pope and Horace: Studies in lmi/mio/!. and fortunately. 1978. Virgil discovers that imitating Nature and imitating Homer are "the same. What may be more problematic for the reader is Pope's tendency to draw a dis- tinction only to collapse it later on. Literary Satire and Theory: A Study of Horace. An Essay on Criticis111 . a knowledge of the rules of art. Austin. his utere mecum. Alexander Pope: The Poet in the Poems. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. as opposed to the skill itself. creation and imitation. William. PART I Candidlls imperti. Jr. Pope as Critic and Humanist. sf 11011. Si quid llovisfi rectills isfis. it can be (as in its usual modem meaning) the class of objects created by human intelligence and creativity. I 'Tis hard to say. But of the two less dangerous is the offense use these with me." Pope in I7I I is content to leave such contradictions unresolved as poetic paradoxes. Stack. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Warren. Wood. like those of David Hnme and Immanuel Kant. in later hands. if not. as opposed to that of divine creation. Hooker. these issues will recur as evidence of inward mental structures common to humanity. These shifts. 1985. it can be the rules behind a skill. The rules of art remain "Nature still. When Pope claims that nature is "at once the source. Context is a guide here. Fenner. lUIf you know better maxims. 1929. if greater want of skill Appear in writing or in judging ill.

river mud and. Each might his several province well command. Authors are partial to their wit. though touched but faintly. with vigor fills the whole.5 For wit9 and judgment often are at strife. and every nerve sustains. known only through contemptu~ 6Count. Unerring Nature. And censure freely who have written well. Life. and your judgment frame Each burns alike. and test of art. To te1l6 them would a hundred tongues require. Those half-learn'd witIings. And mark that point where sense and dullness These born to judge. Most have the seeds of judgment in their mind: The solid power of understanding fails. fools. Go just alike. Or with a rival's or an eunuch's spite. write. With spirits feeds. Yet if we look more closely. force. one knows not what to call. but numbers err in this. And fain would be upon the laughing side. taste. Their generation's so equivocal: Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss. right. One Science7 only will one genius fit. 'Scholastic learning. numerous in OUf Some. so narrow human wit. But as the slightest sketch. 'Tis with our judgments as our watches. and universal light. But are not critics to their judgment too? In other parts it leaves wide sandy plains. then poets passed. isle. Launch not beyond your depth. and proved plain fools at In some fair body thus the informing soul last. Works without show. Now one in verse makes many more in prose. that might a hundred tire. as well as those to write. But you who seek to give and merit fame. imagination. 9Here. to whom Heaven in wit has been profuse. Would all but stoop to what they understand. ) So' vast is art. Itself unseen. One clear. Some are bewildered in the maze of schools. like man and wife. are drawn The memory's soft figures melt away.Some few in that. Or one vain wit's. Nature to all things fixed the limits fit. still divinely bright. or cannot write. 200 ALEXANDER POPE . and without pomp pre- Some have at first for wits. SInsects were supposed to be spontaneously generated by SHere. As half-formed insects on the banks of Nile. True taste as seldom is the critic's share. So by false learning is good sense defaced: But oft in those confined to single parts. ous references by both Virgil and Horace. and beauty must to all impart. which is still the same. Be sure yourself and your own reach to know. and learning go. As on the land while here the ocean gains. Some neither can for wits nor critics pass. At once the source. unchanged. And then turn critics in their own defense: First follow Nature. In search of wit these lose their common sense. Each motion guides. but in the effects remains. As heavy mules are neither horse nor ass. 2Artistic genius.2 'tis true. 4A legendarily bad poet. meet. 7Branch of knowledge. Not only bounded to peculiar arts. And some made coxcombs Nature meant but By vain ambition still to make them more. Want as much mote to turn it to its use. Both must alike from Heaven derive their light. none Andjustly bear a critic's noble name. All fools have still an itching to deride. Let such teach others who themselves excel. yet each believes his own. Nature affords at least a glimmering light. If Maevius4 scribble in Apollo's spite.3 Like kings we lose the conquests gained before. Though meant each other's aid. There are who judge still worse than he can Art from that fund each just supply provides. The lines. Where beams of warm imagination play. we shall find Thus in the soul while memory prevails. sides. and end. In poets as true genius is but rare. mental power. And wisely curbed proud man's pretending wit. but be discreet. By her just standard. A fool might once himself alone expose.other similar matter. s Is by ill coloring but the more disgraced. if justly traced. who ~an. How far your genius. Turned critics next. Unfinished things.

beloved: Some beauties yet no precepts can declare. Be Homer's works your study and delight. Write duIl receipts 13 how poems may be made. Shows most true mettle when you check his Cavil you may. Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules in. taught the art Some lucky license answers to the fuIl By doctors' biIIs to play the doctor's part. AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM 201 . And which a master hand alone can reach. and all its end at once attains. but never criticize. would steer. Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem. last name. amazed. not devised. Perhaps he seemed above the critic's law. mentioned in the 12Pope refers to a contemporary dispute between doctors next line.