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Poetics before Plato : Interpretation and Authority in Early Greek Theories of Poetry - Grace M Ledbetter

Poetics before Plato

Interpretation and Authority in Early Greek Theories of Poetry

Hardcover Published: 10th November 2002
ISBN: 9780691096094
Number Of Pages: 144
For Ages: 22+ years old

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Combining literary and philosophical analysis, this study defends an utterly innovative reading of the early history of poetics. It is the first to argue that there is a distinctively Socratic view of poetry and the first to connect the Socratic view of poetry with earlier literary tradition.

Literary theory is usually said to begin with Plato's famous critique of poetry in the Republic. Grace Ledbetter challenges this entrenched assumption by arguing that Plato's earlier dialogues Ion, Protagoras, and Apology introduce a distinctively Socratic theory of poetry that responds polemically to traditional poets as rival theorists. Ledbetter tracks the sources of this Socratic response by introducing separate readings of the poetics implicit in the poetry of Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar. Examining these poets' theories from a new angle that uncovers their literary, rhetorical, and political aims, she demonstrates their decisive influence on Socratic thinking about poetry.

The Socratic poetics Ledbetter elucidates focuses not on censorship, but on the interpretation of poetry as a source of moral wisdom. This philosophical approach to interpreting poetry stands at odds with the poets' own theories--and with the Sophists' treatment of poetry. Unlike the Republic's focus on exposing and banishing poetry's irrational and unavoidably corrupting influence, Socrates' theory includes poetry as subject matter for philosophical inquiry within an examined life.

Reaching back into what has too long been considered literary theory's prehistory, Ledbetter advances arguments that will redefine how classicists, philosophers, and literary theorists think about Plato's poetics.

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"Ledbetter's argument is original and will excite discussion."--Choice

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Abbreviationsp. xi
Introduction: Poetry, Knowledge, and Interpretationp. 1
Supernatural Knowledge in Homeric Poeticsp. 9
Poetry and Knowledgep. 15
The Object of Knowledgep. 19
The Poetp. 22
The Audiencep. 26
The Sirensp. 27
Does the Theory Apply to the Poem?p. 34
Hesiod's Naturalismp. 40
Poetry and Skepticismp. 42
Poetic Therapy as Mimesisp. 48
Personality in Hesiodp. 54
Pindar: The Poet as Interpreterp. 62
Poetry, Truth, and Deceptionp. 68
Poetry and Its Effectp. 74
Socratic Poeticsp. 78
A Rhapsode's Knowledgep. 79
Ion's Virtuosityp. 84
Poetic Inspiration and Socratic Interpretation (533d-536d)p. 87
The Rhapsode's Speech (536d-542b)p. 95
Toward a Model of Socratic Interpretationp. 99
Protagoras as Criticp. 101
Socrates as Sophistic Interpreterp. 104
The Puzzlep. 108
Socrates against the Sophistsp. 111
The Oracle, a Socratic Interpretationp. 114
Bibliographic Referencesp. 119
Indexp. 125
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691096094
ISBN-10: 0691096090
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 144
Published: 10th November 2002
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.81 x 17.83  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.37