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The Other Poetics

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the ancient construction and evaluation of Hesiod's 'poetics', i.e. the more or less coherent theory of poetry that the Greeks ascribed to him. On poetic veracity, Hesiod's devotion to truth is contrasted with Homer's love for fiction. The chapter considers the possibility that Hesiod himself may have been the first to articulate this contrast; furthermore, a precarious attempt is made to connect early philosophical interpretations of Homer with his reputation as a 'liar'. It examines how Hesiod and Homer were believed to have composed their poems; more strictly speaking, it deals with the age-old opposition of ars and ingenium. The chapter opposes the intent ascribed to the Hesiodic and Homeric poems in antiquity. Finally, it deals with matters of style. Homer becomes the foremost representative of the grand style, while Hesiod is slowly turned into a 'slender poet'.

Keywords: devotion to truth; Hesiodic poems; Homeric poems; love for fiction



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