Saturday, January 28, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - "INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE MIND: THE GREEK POETICS OF INSPIRATION": English-poetics Digest, Vol 4, Issue 3

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Date: 28 January 2017 at 14:29
Subject: English-poetics Digest, Vol 4, Issue 3

Today's Topics:

   1. PBM#4 / Stephen Halliwell / 7 Feb (Vladimir Brljak)


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Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2017 13:29:47 -0000
From: "Vladimir Brljak" <>
Subject: PBM#4 / Stephen Halliwell / 7 Feb
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Dear all,

We are delighted to announce the next talk in the series will feature Prof.
Stephen Halliwell, speaking on "Inside and Outside the Mind: The Greek
Poetics of Inspiration". For further details, please see the abstract and
biographical note below. The talk will take place on Tuesday, 7 February, at
the usual time and venue-Old Combination Room, Trinity College, 5.15pm.

We will be taking Prof. Halliwell to dinner at La Margherita (14 Magdalene
St), and you are most welcome to join us. However, numbers are limited, so
please let us know if you wish to attend by 5pm on Sunday, 5 February, and
please note that we will be paying for ourselves, and will also all chip in
to cover Prof. Halliwell's dinner.

All best,

Micha and Vladimir

Stephen Halliwell (University of St Andrews)


The family of ideas usually grouped together under the heading of
'inspiration' forms a remarkably long-lasting component of Western poetics.
But such ideas constitute a far from harmonious family; their tangled
relationships are too often simplified by historians of poetics. This paper
will offer some selective and revisionist thoughts on versions of poetic
inspiration found in three different ancient Greek contexts: the treatment
of the Muses in the earliest surviving Greek poetry (Homer and Hesiod); the
notorious series of challenges to poetic authority voiced in several
Platonic dialogues; and the treatise On the Sublime by (pseudo-)Longinus.
Three main theses will be advanced: first, that an excessively literalist
and primitivist tradition of interpretation has obscured the important sense
in which the Muses were never a source external to poetry but a symbolic
self-image of poetry's own powers; second, that the scattered remarks on
poetic inspiration in Plato accompany a perception of poetry's resistance to
a philosophical demand (which Nietzsche calls 'aesthetic Socratism') for
cognitive transparency; third, that On the Sublime makes inspiration
internal to the self-perpetuating traditions of literature, but thereby
imposes on writers a responsibility which Longinus himself recognises as a
potential burden of anxiety. If an adequate history of the concept of
inspiration were ever (improbably) to be written, it would need to recognise
far more complexity in the ancient roots of this concept than current
orthodoxies allow for.

Stephen Halliwell is Professor of Greek and Wardlaw Professor at the
University of St Andrews. He has published widely on ancient poetics and
aesthetics, especially in relation to the intersection between literary and
philosophical traditions of thought. In addition to his monograph
Aristotle's Poetics (1986/1998), he has produced two separate translations
of Aristotle's treatise (one for the Loeb Library, 1995). His other books
include Plato Republic Book 10 (1988), The Aesthetics of Mimesis: Ancient
Texts and Modern Problems (2002), Greek Laughter: a Study of Cultural
Psychology from Homer to Early Christianity (2008), and Between Ecstasy and
Truth: Interpretations of Greek Poetics from Homer to Longinus (2011). He is
currently working on a commentary on Longinus, On the Sublime, for the
Fondazione Lorenzo Valla series, 'Scrittori greci e latini'.


Convenors: Dr Vladimir Brljak ( <> )
and Dr Micha Lazarus ( <> )


Mailing list:


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End of English-poetics Digest, Vol 4, Issue 3

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