Catalogue


The origins of criticism : literary culture and poetic theory in classical Greece /
Andrew Ford.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2002.
description
xiv, 356 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0691074852 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2002.
isbn
0691074852 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4675003
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [297]-330) and indexes.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Andrew Ford is Professor of Classics at Princeton University.
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"This is an original, ambitious book on an important theme. Earlier scholars have adumbrated in one way another its major theses--but never have these been argued with so much care, thoroughness, or bibliographical completeness. Ford's synthesis is an impressive one that merits close attention from every scholar interested in the history of the Western literary tradition."-- Thomas Cole, Yale University "The topic is right at the cutting edge of contemporary concerns and will be of wide interest not only to classicists but also to cultural theorists and literary critics. Ford's argument constitutes a substantial reevaluation of the development of criticism and (more particularly) a significant reframing of the contributions of Plato and Aristotle . The whole book is very well written: clear, punchy, and convincingly handled. It will be widely discussed."-- Simon Goldhill, University of Cambridge
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-01-01:
Ford (Princeton Univ.) collects in this volume much useful information about classical literary criticism from Homer to Aristotle. He focuses on three aspects of ancient criticism that continue to play a significant role in modern criticism. The first, what Ford calls the "public act of praise or blame upon a performance of song," is exemplified in ancient criticism by Aristophanes' Frogs, a work Ford discusses in several passages. Modern examples of such criticism of course abound. A second phase of literary criticism subordinates literary aesthetics to social, political, and philosophical/theological forces. As is to be expected, Ford deals at some length with Plato's moral censorship of literature in this regard and notes the potent modern and postmodern movements, which are equally hostile to aesthetic affirmations of the principle of art for art's sake. The jewel of classical literary criticism is without doubt Aristotle's Poetics, which established a theoretical framework for literature that has as much or more contemporary resonance as any competing structure. In this important volume, Ford objectively describes highly significant unresolved issues but does not attempt to resolve them; instead he leaves them to vigorous ongoing debate in other venues. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. L. Golden Florida State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
One of Choice 's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2003
"Ford collects in this volume much useful information about classica literary criticism from Homer to Aristotle. . . . [An] important volume."-- Choice
"Andrew Ford has taken on the enormous task of tracing the historical background of critical language and the establishment of criticism as a distinct discilpine. He has executed this task with precision, poignancy, and insightful erudition. . . . [T]his eloquent book will be an instant complement to any study of the history of criticism."-- Eustratios Papaioannou, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
"Andrew Ford has written lively and sophisticated account of the evolution of criticism as an autonomous activity, and illuminated the origins of the modern-day equivalent of those antique experts in literature--the professional academic. . . . [W]hat distinguishes Ford's work from previous studies is the breadth of his scholarship, the detail of his analysis, and above all his historicist approach."-- Penelope Murray, Times Literary Supplement
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 2003
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Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
"This is an original, ambitious book on an important theme. Earlier scholars have adumbrated in one way another its major theses--but never have these been argued with so much care, thoroughness, or bibliographical completeness. Ford's synthesis is an impressive one that merits close attention from every scholar interested in the history of the Western literary tradition."--Thomas Cole, Yale University "The topic is right at the cutting edge of contemporary concerns and will be of wide interest not only to classicists but also to cultural theorists and literary critics. Ford's argument constitutes a substantial reevaluation of the development of criticism and (more particularly) a significant reframing of the contributions of Plato and Aristotle. The whole book is very well written: clear, punchy, and convincingly handled. It will be widely discussed."--Simon Goldhill, University of Cambridge
Main Description
By "literary criticism" we usually mean a self-conscious act involving the technical and aesthetic appraisal, by individuals, of autonomous works of art. Aristotle and Plato come to mind. The word "social" does not. Yet, as this book shows, it should--if, that is, we wish to understand where literary criticism as we think of it today came from. Andrew Ford offers a new understanding of the development of criticism, demonstrating that its roots stretch back long before the sophists to public commentary on the performance of songs and poems in the preliterary era of ancient Greece. He pinpoints when and how, later in the Greek tradition than is usually assumed, poetry was studied as a discipline with its own principles and methods. The Origins of Criticism complements the usual, history-of-ideas approach to the topic precisely by treating criticism as a social as well as a theoretical activity. With unprecedented and penetrating detail, Ford considers varying scholarly interpretations of the key texts discussed. Examining Greek discussions of poetry from the late sixth century B.C. through the rise of poetics in the late fourth, he asks when we first can recognize anything like the modern notions of literature as imaginative writing and of literary criticism as a special knowledge of such writing. Serving as a monumental preface to Aristotle's Poetics , this book allows readers to discern the emergence, within the manifold activities that might be called criticism, of the historically specific discourse on poetry that has shaped subsequent Western approaches to literature.
Bowker Data Service Summary
If any of our intellectual disciplines can be said to have been founded in ancient Greece, it is criticism - a Greek word at its root, as are poetry, metaphor, meter and theory. This book traces that story.
Main Description
By "literary criticism" we usually mean a self-conscious act involving the technical and aesthetic appraisal, by individuals, of autonomous works of art. Aristotle and Plato come to mind. The word "social" does not. Yet, as this book shows, it should--if, that is, we wish to understand where literary criticism as we think of it today came from. Andrew Ford offers a new understanding of the development of criticism, demonstrating that its roots stretch back long before the sophists to public commentary on the performance of songs and poems in the preliterary era of ancient Greece. He pinpoints when and how, later in the Greek tradition than is usually assumed, poetry was studied as a discipline with its own principles and methods. The Origins of Criticismcomplements the usual, history-of-ideas approach to the topic precisely by treating criticism as a social as well as a theoretical activity. With unprecedented and penetrating detail, Ford considers varying scholarly interpretations of the key texts discussed. Examining Greek discussions of poetry from the late sixth century B.C. through the rise of poetics in the late fourth, he asks when we first can recognize anything like the modern notions of literature as imaginative writing and of literary criticism as a special knowledge of such writing. Serving as a monumental preface to Aristotle'sPoetics, this book allows readers to discern the emergence, within the manifold activities that might be called criticism, of the historically specific discourse on poetry that has shaped subsequent Western approaches to literature.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Introduction
Defining Criticism from Homer to Aristotlep. 1
Archaic Roots of Classical Aestheticsp. 23
Table Talkand Symposiump. 25
Xenophanes and the "Ancient Quarrel"p. 46
Allegory and the Traditions of Epic Interpretationp. 67
The Invention of Poetryp. 91
Song and Artifact: Simonidean Monumentsp. 93
Singer and Craftsman in Pindar and Bacchylidesp. 113
The Origin of the Word "Poet"p. 131
Toward a Theory of Poetryp. 159
Materialist Poetics: Democritus and Gorgiasp. 161
Literary Culture and Democracy: Poets and Teachers in Classical Athensp. 188
Literary Culture in Plato's Republic :The Sound of Ideologyp. 209
Literary Theory In The Fourth Centuryp. 227
The Invention of Literature: Theories of Prose and the Theory of Poetryp. 229
Laws of Poetry: Genre and the Literary Systemp. 250
The Rise of the Critic: Poetic Contests from Homer to Aristotlep. 272
Epiloguep. 294
Bibliographyp. 297
Index of Passages Iscussedp. 331
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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