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The Initiation Rites Of Style. Dionysius On Prose, Poetry, And Poetic Prose

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates some aspects of Dionysius? scansions of Demosthenes? poetic prose, in order to cast some light on the connection between these metrical analyses and his ideas on poetic prose. It focuses on Dionysius? theories on the styles of prose and poetry, and compares more closely with the views that were developed in the Aristotelian tradition. Dionysius? warnings about the mystical character of his subject at the end of On Composition make it clear that he expected some of his readers to ridicule his ideas on poetic prose. The difference between Aristotle and Dionysius becomes particularly evident in the final chapters of his work On Composition. It seems odd that Dionysius, who objects so frequently to the ?poetic? style of Gorgias and Plato, finally undertakes to show how prose can be made to resemble a beautiful poem.

Keywords: Aristotelian tradition; Demosthenes; Dionysius; Gorgias; On Composition; Plato; poetic prose



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