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    Aune, David E. 2010. The Blackwell Companion to the New Testament.


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    The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism
    • Online ISBN: 9781139055338
    • Book DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063
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Book description

Surveying the beginnings of critical consciousness in Greece and proceeding to the writings of Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle, and Hellenistic and Roman authors, this volume is not only for classicists but for those with no Greek or Latin who are interested in the origins of literary history, theory, and criticism.

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‘Literary criticism matters because ... it is concerned not simply with the narrow issue of how we should read specific texts, but with larger and more fundamental questions about the nature and function of literature. The new Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, which aims to provide a comprehensive and authoritative treatment of the subject from classical antiquity to the present day, is therefore a welcome prospect. Volume One, the first of a projected nine volumes, covers the whole field of ancient criticism up to the early fourth century AD and provides the sort of thorough and judicious account that we would expect from a standard work of reference.’

Source: The Times Higher Education Supplement

'It is impossible to overemphasize the importance and usefulness of this volume as a vademecum for all serious students of medieval textual production in its multiform evaluation and its complex, ever-changing relationship to larger intellectual, social and cultural norms.'

Source: Journal of English and Germanic Philology

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  • 1 - Early Greek views of poets and poetry
    pp 1-77
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063.002
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Histories of criticism in early Greece are based on surveys of those relatively few passages where the Greek poets speak about themselves and their poetry. This chapter describes the social function of early Greek poetry and presents a picture of the traditional thought-patterns that shape the very concept of poet and poetry. It explores how the language of poetry is distinct from everyday language. The distinction can be comprehended in terms of the qualifications marked and unmarked as formulated by Roman Jakobson. The pan-Hellenic tradition of myth-making is like a least common denominator, where convergent features of diverse traditions are highlighted and divergent features are shaded over. Myth can express the relationship between the Cycle and the Homeric epics in terms of the genealogy of Homer and the Homeridae. The performance-traditions of the Classics, as an extension of the pan-Hellenisation of oral traditions in poetry and song, were preserved in the social context of what the Greeks called paideia, education.
  • 2 - Language and meaning in archaic and classical Greece
    pp 78-91
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Inherent in any literary criticism are assumptions about the nature of language and about what constitutes valid interpretation. This chapter provides a substratum of thinking which lies beneath the literary criticism of Aristophanes, Plato, and Aristotle. The sophists of the fifth century, namely Protagoras, Gorgias, Prodicus, Hippias, and others, were itinerant lecturers who created a lucrative profession by teaching, chiefly through example and imitation, modes of discourse useful in civic life or in dialectical discussion. Gorgias' discussion of logos is a valuable background for Plato's criticism of rhetoric and poetry and may have anticipated Aristotle's theory of katharsis. The significance of the treatise for literary criticism lies in its provision of an orderly system of analysis. Its identification of topoi, literally 'places', here meaning strategies of argument, provides the logical basis for rhetorical proof, both in theory and in practice, and some of its categories are adapted to rhetoric as well.
  • 3 - Plato and poetry
    pp 92-148
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The great challenge for any interpreter of Plato's views on poetry is to appreciate why he is so uncompromisingly hostile towards it. This chapter first examines his most important treatment of poetry prior to the Republic, the Ion. In the Ion Plato seizes upon the traditional inference from the poet's status as an inspired performer to his ability to teach and inform his listeners, and how he disables this inference by contrasting inspiration with understanding and verbal performance with genuine communication. According to Plato, a poet is not a moralist manque, is not trying and failing to come up to the standards that the Dionysian chorus imposes; and for that very reason he imposes the Dionysian chorus upon the poet. The chapter also looks at the recommendations for training the new generation of Guardians; a training in which poetry plays a considerable role.
  • 4 - Aristotle's poetics
    pp 149-183
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter presents an analysis Aristotle's three works: On Poets, Homeric Problems and Poetics. The three books of On Poets, and the six or more books of Homeric Problems, were the two chief works in which Aristotle's ideas on poetry were disseminated in the ancient critical tradition. Between Poetics and Homeric Problems, the important differences were more a matter of detail than of principle. If Poetics has a compressed and somewhat rebarbative character, that is because it offers a concise summary of critical standards and criteria which were applied in Homeric Problems to a multitude of individual passages and interpretative issues. A deeper reason for seeing the Poetics as a work of theoretical or philosophical criticism is its steady focus on a conception of genres and their intrinsic nature. The chapter also presents an assessment of Aristotle's treatment of tragedy, epic and comedy.
  • 5 - The evolution of a theory of artistic prose
    pp 184-199
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Aristotle claims that prose became artistic in the first instance by borrowing stylistic features from poetry. The development of artistic prose came to be regarded as analogous to the historical development of style in painting and sculpture. This was noted by Aristotle in the case of poetry, and Demetrius of Phaleron says that the early prose style had polish and neatness, 'like old statues whose art seems to have a plain spareness, whereas the later style resembles the statues of Pheidias with their combination of splendour and precision'. The topos was further developed by Cicero, Dionysius, Quintilian, and others. An important feature of rhetorical theory in the Hellenistic period relates to invention. This is the elaborate system of determining and describing the stasis of a speech, attributed to Hermagoras of Temnos around 150 BC.
  • 6 - Hellenistic literary and philosophical scholarship
    pp 200-219
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The emergence of the Hellenistic monarchies had an effect on literary life in that the focus of writers' attention was often drawn to the royal courts. For the history of criticism, the two developments, scholarship and Alexandrianism, are closely interconnected, and were sometimes affected by teachings of rhetoricians and philosophers who dominated secondary and advanced education respectively. A picture of the literary scholarship of the Museum and Library can be given by summarising briefly some of what is known about the work of four of the greatest Alexandrian scholars who worked there: Zenodotus of Ephesus, Eratosthenes of Cyrene, Aristophanes of Byzantium, and Aristarchus of Samothrace. Their research, and that of other scholars, is known to us chiefly from excerpts and citations found in Byzantine scholia and commentaries, such as that on the Homeric poems by Eustathius in the twelfth century.
  • 7 - The growth of literature and criticism at Rome
    pp 220-244
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Romans were the first cultural community to inherit literary models, and they practised literary criticism, before they practised literature. This chapter begins by discussing Rome's three earliest poets: Livius Andronicus, and his successors, Naevius and Ennius. Livius' first compositions in Latin were translations, and his professional livelihood the teaching of Greek poetry, adds the reading and explanation of Latin poetry which he or his associates had composed. Next, the chapter examines the works of Plautus and Terence. Early Latin poetry, was intended to be heard, not read. The dramatic scripts of Plautus survived as property of theatre companies; Ennius and Terence were the first poets whose texts were preserved for study. In Cicero's modification of the formula in On the Orator, the substitution of the art of pleasing for die art of winning over reflects his growing interest in the aesthetic aspects of discourse.
  • 8 - Augustan Critics
    pp 245-273
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Augustan period includes two major critics, Horace and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, both important in themselves but also in part conveniently complementary and typical. Horace is both poet and critic, a Roman deeply conscious of Rome's literary debt to Greece, yet also a champion of new Roman poetry. The historian and rhetorician Dionysius is also practitioner as well as critic, but he is primarily concerned with prose, especially oratory, though poetry has an important place in his most original work, On Composition. In poetic criticism, the most striking development is Horace's unique combination of traditional precepts, personal experience, and sensitive judgement; in prose it is the phenomenon of Atticism and Dionysius' efforts at a more subtle description of style. Atticism and the identification of qualities of style will remain major concerns of Greek critics of the Empire and also of the Byzantine period.
  • 9 - Latin Criticism of the Early Empire
    pp 274-296
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter talks about the literature of the first century of the Christian era, which is generally understood to imply its inferiority to the Golden Age of the late Republic and Augustan era. It discusses the works of several writers namely, Velleius Paterculus and Seneca the Elder, Seneca the Younger, Petronius, Tacitus, Quintilian, Pliny the Younger, Juvenal, Fronto, and Gellius. Two writers speak for the Romans of the immediate post-Augustan period: Velleius Paterculus and Seneca the Elder; both illustrate characteristic shifts of literary interest in the new generation. It is evident from Tacitus' Dialogue on the Oratus that men thwarted from political expression transferred to the safer vehicle of historical or mythical poetry both the techniques and ideals of public oratory. Critics of the early Roman period like Quintilian measured a work by its conformity to the characteristics of its genre and defined those characteristics by a canon.
  • 10 - Greek Criticism of the Empire
    pp 297-329
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Greek criticism of the first four or five Christian centuries presents a rich and diverse picture. The great elaborations of the rhetorical theories of types of issue and types of style in Hermogenes and his commentators, are firmly grounded in what was inherited from Hermagoras and Theophrastus. Dio of Prusa, 'the golden-mouthed', was an accomplished mimic of Plato and a facile and amusing orator. He often takes the philosophic stance of a Socrates, sometimes even a Cynic pose. Lucian's sense of the absurdity of his 'Thucydideans' is parallel to his satirical treatment of the rhetors and grammarians. While Lucian was involved in the sophistic world as a practitioner, Philostratus became its historian and biographer. Plutarch, the Platonist moral teacher, seeks to use the tools of grammatike to justify a literary education. The skills displayed by the Greek critics of the Empire were propagated in the Byzantine world, in the Latin West, and among the Arabs.
  • 11 - Christianity and Criticism
    pp 330-346
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521300063.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter surveys a variety of intellectual movements in the time of the Roman Empire which are related to criticism. Greek intellectuals of the Roman Empire discussed epistemology and adumbrated semiotic and hermeneutic theories of interpretation. The spiritual meaning, the universal message of Christianity, provides a check against misinterpretation: what is to become the rule of love to Augustine. Every possible attitude toward secular literature can be found among early Christians. While St Antony rejected every aspect of human society and culture, Epiphanius of Ephesus in Panarion, or Breadbasket, opposes any compromise with Classical culture. Secular literary criticism existed in the schools of grammar and rhetoric. The literary revival of the middle of the fourth century produced criticism, chiefly in the form of learned commentaries on major Classical Latin authors. The greatest bequest of Classical criticism to later centuries has been its three seminal texts: Poetics, Arspoetica, and On Subli.

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