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English 2200 Lecture on Horace and Philip Sidney

Course Code
English 2200F/G
Mary- Helen Mc Murran

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Horace and Philip Sidney
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Horace “Ars Poetica”
65-8 BC
-Ars in Lain translates to techni (technical, technique) in Greek
-In this poem Horace is giving practical writing advice.
-p.123: Choose a subject that is equal to your talent, don’t put things together that don’t go
together, say the right thing at the right time, no great violent spectacles on stage, plays should
be five acts
-Give characters qualities that would be appropriate for their age and station in life.
-Concerned with a practical writing style
-Principles of Ars Poetica: decorum; literary appropriateness (don’t mix genres, eg.)
-unity, cohesion, consistency
-Feels like reading an instruction manual.
-p.125 “Let me tell… pray clap your hands” seems to be concerned about success in the theater
-He’s thinking about the audience, he wants the audience to be engaged.
-Not that interested in leading people to virtue, just concerned with how audience will react
-Aristotle was about grounding the foundation of arts; giving definitions for terms.
-Horace was about giving rules - how to be a successful writer.
-As time goes on there’s more of an emphasis on technique.
-Social value (130): “Poets aim… serviceable for life” Isn’t interested in the ‘higher good’ like
Plato. “Whatever you invent for pleasure… let it be near the truth” Don’t use wild leaps of
imagination, he means. Make fiction that is plausible even though it didn’t happen.
-He doesn’t say you must write the truth like Plato does.
-Overall: Horace is concerned with making writing pleasing and realistic.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Sir Philip Sidney “A Defense of Poesie”
-Apology = Defense
-He is defending poetry
-responding to Plato through centuries of Christianity
-Platonic suspicion of poets was revived through the Catholic Church
-Socraticism: logic and rhetoric are at the top of what you should study, poetry is
-Dante says that poetry comes from “the busom of God”
-Sidney organizes his essay into 3 parts:
-Defends dignity of poet
-Answers objections against poetry
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