Chapter

Greeks and Romans

Gary Day

in Literary Criticism

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780748615636
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652099 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615636.003.0002
Greeks and Romans

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The phrase ‘criticism in crisis’ enjoyed considerable vogue in the late twentieth century. The change from monarchy to democracy was accompanied by a change in the conception of poetic language. The language of criticism is forged in the struggle between the economy and education, a struggle in which the former is usually, but never wholly, victorious. The spread of writing changes the nature of criticism. The process of secularisation meant that inspiration was no longer assumed to be the source of the poet's song. Horace has a more diffuse conception of poetry than either Plato or Aristotle. Longinus was worried about the fate of poetry. Quintilianus's division of masculine and feminine feeds into the conventional distinction between high culture and popular culture. Plutarch gives advice on how to read. Longinus's treatise on the sublime focuses on oratory but he is careful to show that it is closely related to poetry.

Keywords: language of criticism; poetic language; writing; secularisation; Horace; Plato; Aristotle; Quintilianus; Longinus; Plutarch

Chapter.  27777 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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