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February 25, 2007

EL312: Beyond the mockingbird

The artist's vision can penetrate to the ideal realm, and the artist's skill can translate that vision into the artistic symbol that it is, if not quote the idea itself, something that can lead us to conceive the idea (Keesey 207).

To me, this passage sums up the connections between Plato's and Aristotle's arguments on the value of poetry (art) and its reason for coming into being. Plato wants to banish the poets for directing the polis away from the forms--Aristotle just as badly wants to keep the poets for the forms they create (formal criticism).

Since Aristotle was one of Plato's students, it's natural for him to reject some of what his teacher philosophized. However, I think the way the Keesey explains the quote he uses from Percy Bysshe Shelley (a romantic poet) really sums up a useful way to think of both Plato's and Aristotle's arguments for (or against) poetry.

[The artist's symbol] allows us to contemplate that realm beyond appearances where beauty and truth are indeed one and the same. This realm is the reality that art imitates and that only art can imitate.

So beyond the mockingbird is where poetry lies--past the base ideas of seeing art as the negation of forms and past the concept that poetry brings nothing to the polis; past the mere compare-and-contrast between the poetry and the real object of the poetry. That's where poetry is useful as an imitation of reality.

Ooo, I loved this stuff in my Philosophy of Art class last year. Mimesis got our class in a frenzy about Plato's forms, which Dr. Atherton explains using "chairness," haha. I really had a great time in that class...

I think I will like mimetic criticism, especially since Keesey says that it seems difficult to separate from formalism (212). I am sad I will not be in class on Thursday to discuss it. :(

Keesey, Ch 4 (Introduction) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by KarissaKilgore at February 25, 2007 10:46 AM


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