The Ineffable Effect

Larry F. Norman

in The Shock of the Ancient

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780226591483
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226591506 | DOI:
The Ineffable Effect

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The key to the Ancients' defiant response to the new rationalist aesthetics is to be found in Boileau's translation of the then largely neglected Greek treatise, On the Sublime. The translation, which included a highly original critical preface to the work, returns us to that crucial year in the prologue to the quarrel, 1674. As the polemics over Euripides' Alcestis were pitting Perrault against Racine, Boileau entered the fray by publishing the Traité du sublime alongside his Art poétique. Each of Boileau's two critical works performed important yet distinct missions. The Art poétique rehearsed the basic principles of poetics inherited from Horace and Aristotle and digested by Renaissance humanists. Aimed at winning over the common sense of the leisured reading public, the poem offered an elegantly modulated form of classicism: it counterbalanced the needs of method and regularity with a forceful defense of instinct, inspiration, and genius.

Keywords: rationalist aesthetics; Boileau; On the Sublime; poetics; Renaissance humanists; classicism

Chapter.  12521 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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