A History of Literary Criticism and Theory: From Plato to by M. A. R. Habib

By M. A. R. Habib

This complete consultant to the background of literary feedback from antiquity to the current day presents an authoritative review of the main events, figures, and texts of literary feedback, in addition to surveying their cultural, historic, and philosophical contexts.Supplies the cultural, ancient and philosophical history to the literary feedback of every period permits scholars to determine the advance of literary feedback in contextOrganised chronologically, from classical literary feedback via to deconstruction Considers a variety of thinkers and occasions from the French Revolution to Freud’s perspectives on civilization can be utilized along any anthology of literary feedback or as a coherent stand-alone advent

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Ironically, while Plato’s “ideal” account of the evolution from monarchy and aristocracy to democracy and tyranny has little basis in the actual history of Greek society, it might be read as a valuable idealization of the historical transitions in Europe from petty kingdoms through the vast edifice of feudalism to the hegemony of capitalism, each of these emerging, as Marx would have it, from internal discord within the previous system. In virtue of the “internal dissension” of the oligarchic man, whose control over his ebbing appetites is motivated by fear for his possessions, Plato characterizes him as not a unity but a “double man” (VIII, 554d–e).

Moreover, it is the goal of unity which dictates a strict division of labor, based on Plato’s view that individuals exercising a variety of functions would lead to the state’s ruin (IV, 434b). Plato actually makes explicit his assumption that unity is intrinsically a positive value while multiplicity is associated with disorder, indulgence, and evil. He states, for example, that excellence is “one” while the varieties of evil are infinite (IV, 445c). ” In like manner, Plato sees reason itself as a unity while emotion is variable (X, 604e– 605c).

1 Since the men are facing the wall of the cave with their backs to the opening, they can see only shadows, cast by the fire on that wall, of the people and objects which are passing behind them. When these people speak, they will hear the echo from the wall, imagining the passing shadows to be the speakers. Plato’s point is that people who have known only these shadows will take them for realities: if they were forced to stand up and turn around, they would, at first dazzled by the light coming into the entrance of the cave, be unable to see the objects whose shadows they had previously seen.

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