Birth of the Symbol: Ancient Readers at the Limits of Their by Peter T. Struck

By Peter T. Struck

Publish 12 months note: First released in 2004

Nearly we all have studied poetry and been taught to seem for the symbolic in addition to literal which means of the textual content. is that this the way in which the ancients observed poetry? In Birth of the Symbol, Peter Struck explores the traditional Greek literary critics and theorists who invented the belief of the poetic "symbol."

The booklet notes that Aristotle and his fans didn't talk about using poetic symbolism. relatively, a special team of Greek thinkers--the allegorists--were the 1st to advance the inspiration. Struck commonly revisits the paintings of the good allegorists, which has been underappreciated. He hyperlinks their curiosity in symbolism to the significance of divination and magic in precedent days, and he demonstrates how very important symbolism grew to become after they considered faith and philosophy. "They see the full of significant poetic language as deeply figurative," he writes, "with the aptitude regularly, even within the so much mundane info, to be freighted with hidden messages."
Birth of the Symbol bargains a brand new realizing of the function of poetry within the lifetime of principles in historic Greece. in addition, it demonstrates a connection among the best way we comprehend poetry and how it was once understood through very important thinkers in precedent days.

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Extra info for Birth of the Symbol: Ancient Readers at the Limits of Their Texts

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3 James I. ” “Hermeneutic Lines and Circles: Aristarchus and Crates on the Exegesis of Homer,” in Robert Lamberton and John J. , Homer’s Ancient Readers (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 70. ” SYMBOLS AND RIDDLES 23 unclear or obscure and that appear to run counter to our common sense. The strange elements in Homer’s narrative are proof not that he was indulging in a flight of fancy but that he wished to convey some hidden significance. Therefore, these passages will repay the efforts of a diligent and careful interpreter.

And he introduces his commentary proper this way: “Given that the description is full of such obscurities, it is not, in fact, a random fiction created for our amusement” [ υ Ϋ ? Ϋ ? Ν ζ? θυ ? θ Ν ] (Antr. 4). In sharp and, I will argue, self-conscious contrast to Aristarchus, Porphyry takes a strange description in Homer’s poem as a place to initiate critical activity. For Porphyry here and, as we will see, for a long tradition of reading different from the one to which Aristarchus belongs, the critic should pay attention precisely to those places in the poem that are 2 One can see this famous position also in Eratosthenes.

4 5 24 CHAPTER 1 Ν [Poet. 1458a18]—on which more below), he is arguing against something else at the same time. The extant evidence for “poetics” before Aristotle attests beyond doubt to the rather widespread currency of an opinion in stark contrast to his. 7 Such a predisposition, which sees poetry as enigmatic and defines the reader chiefly as a decipherer, is part and parcel of allegorical reading, not only in this early period but throughout its whole history. , the notion of the symbol steps in as a synonym for enigma and begins to take its place within the vocabulary of ancient allegorism—a position that grows and expands until it reaches exalted status among the later Neoplatonists such as Porphyry.

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