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By Harry Blamires (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0333517350

ISBN-13: 9780333517352

ISBN-10: 1349214957

ISBN-13: 9781349214952

ISBN-10: 3573603653

ISBN-13: 9783573603656

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Not that poets themselves were prepared to regard rhetoric as a sub-section of poetry. The first century poet Petronius protested against the idea that composing poetry was a suitable relaxation for an advocate after a period of hard work in the courts. l7 AD), in one of his Amores, replied with dignity to the charge that he had wasted years that might have been spent in military, legal or political pursuits. '6 Time can wear away rocks and ploughshares, but 'poetry is deathless'. Rhetoric of course was Cicero's stock-in-trade in his two roles as barrister and statesman.

9 What was in Quintilian's mind is made clear in an even earlier work, the surviving fragments of the novel Saryricon by Petronius, who committed suicide in 65 AD after a false accusation had been brought against him to the emperor Nero. In the first fragment of Saryricon he mocks the declaimer's posturing in an imaginary situation of pathos: 'These wounds I received for the freedom of all; this eye I forfeited for you. ' 10 Petronius's spokesman goes on to criticise educational practices which cut the young off from real life by concern with melodramatic fictions - 'pirates in chains on the beach, tyrants writing edicts instructing sons to cut off their fathers' heads, oracles ordering that three or more virgins should be sacrificed to remedy a plague, honeyed balls of words, everything that's done or said coated with poppy-seed and sesame'.

32 A HISTORY OF LITERARY CRITICISM Aquinas supplies a definition of what constitutes beauty: For in respect to beauty three things are essential: first of all, integrity or completeness, since beings deprived of wholeness are on this score ugly; secondly, a certain required design or patterned structure; and finally, a certain splendour, inasmuch as things are called beautiful which possess a pleasing colour. 6 This is the definition which Stephen Dedalus quotes in Joyce's Portrait of the Artist, using the terms 'wholeness', 'harmony' and 'radiance'.

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A History of Literary Criticism by Harry Blamires (auth.)


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