Stay tuned to our new posts and updates! Click to join us on WhatsApp L&C-Whatsapp & Telegram telegram Channel
L&C-Silhouette Subscribe
The L&C-Silhouette Basket
L&C-Silhouette Basket
A hand-picked basket of cherries from the world of most talked about books and popular posts on creative literature, reviews and interviews, movies and music, critiques and retrospectives ...
to enjoy, ponder, wonder & relish!
 
Support LnC-Silhouette. Great reading for everyone, supported by readers. SUPPORT

Classical Criticism – A Peek into Roman Criticism

April 15, 2016 | By and

Roman criticism and poetry influenced great writers like James Joyce and Ezra Pound and although not as reputed as the critiques of Plato and Aristotle, continues to be a beacon for most masters of literature who look up to these critics for their precision of thought.

The pen is the tongue of the mind. – Horace

Roman literature and criticism was largely influenced by the views of Aristotle, particularly his views on the unities of time, place, and action. Roman writers agreed with the Aristotelian view that the epic should be characterised by a lofty theme and epic poems like The Aeneid are illustrations of the extent to which Roman writers adhered to the tenets of the Greek masterminds. This is why it is called the Augustan age of neo-clasicism, as Virgil wrote during the time of Augustus Caesar and produced his masterpiece epic. Its influence was not only on Dante but even in the twentieth century on a writer like Broch from Germany.

Regarding the use of dramatic devices like the deux ex machina (using a crane or propeller to lower gods or supernatural elements onto the stage), there were mixed views. While Greek playwrights like Aeschylus and Euripides used this device in their tragedies and Aristophanes (considered the father of comedy) used it in his comedies, Aristotle disapproved of this device stating that it displays a certain lack of creativity on the part of the dramatist. There is less evidence regarding the use of this device by Roman playwrights like Seneca, Plautus, or Terence. This apparently shows the effect of criticism on literature.

These busts of the Ancient Greek theatrical writers Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles are in front of the National Garden and were moved from Kotzia square in Athens. (Pic: Wikimedia CC0)

These busts of the Ancient Greek theatrical writers Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles are in front of the National Garden and were moved from Kotzia square in Athens.
(Pic: Wikimedia CC0)

Another significant aspect of Roman drama that owes its influence to the views of Aristotle is the role of the chorus. The use of masks and the ritualistic movement from right to left (strophe), left to right (antistrophe), and standing still in the centre (epode) have their roots in the ideas expressed in Poetics. Like Greek comedies, Roman comedies also satirised the follies and foibles prevalent in society. There was no mixing of the tragic and the comic and the tragic-comedy made its entry into the world of drama quite late.

Greek Tragedy by Aeschylus and Euripides

Greek Tragedy by Aeschylus and Euripides

Drama, in short, had its golden age in Greece. But in Rome, playwrights like Seneca were believed to have experimented with the form of drama. For instance, the five-act division, which most playwrights including the Bard of Avon adopted, is attributed to Seneca. It is also believed that Seneca wrote plays that were believed to be for recitation more than performance (the beginnings of closet drama), but there seem to be mixed opinions about this. Some critics say that his plays were performed and even the emperor Nero had performed in some of his plays.

In short, drama did have its popularity in Rome, but poetry ultimately proved the most popular and predominant genre. The two renowned Roman critics whose critical works are based on poetic creation are Horace and Longinus. Horace is known for his Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry) and Longinus is known for his work On the Sublime.

The Roman literary period was also the age of patronage where patrons or rich and affluent people gave money to poets to write about them. So, being a poet not only meant literary prosperity but also material prosperity. Nature poems and poems dealing with love and sex were much sought after.

Longinus stated that poetry should instil in the reader a sense of awe –the sublime -, which leads the reader to ecstasy and creates a feeling of exultation. He felt that one can achieve a sense of sublimity while reading poetry mainly due to the language and the thought it conveys. By language, he refers to diction, imagery, and figures of speech.

According to Horace, poetry is an art that needs to be perfected or rather a subject that needs to be learned. In Ars Poetica, he lifts poetry to a higher realm. According to him, the aim of the poet is not to do what was done before but to experiment on something new. He emphasised on consistency in metre. What is interesting to note is that while Plato focused more on literature as a medium of instruction that appeals socially, and Aristotle focused on literature as a medium of delight that appeals psychologically, Horace brought about a harmony of the two by affirming that the aim of poetry is to teach and delight.

Roman criticism and poetry influenced great writers like James Joyce and Ezra Pound and although not as reputed as the critiques of Plato and Aristotle, continues to be a beacon for most masters of literature who look up to these critics for their precision of thought.

While talking of Roman literature one also has to mention Ovid and his Metamorphosis as a seminal work as the idea of metamorphosis haunted even writers like Beckett and Kafka.

More to read

Notes On Literary Criticism by Dr A V Koshy

Notes on Literary Criticism – Part II

Notes on Literary Criticism – Part III

Writing, Theory and the Making of Verse

Dr Koshy A. V. is presently an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Jazan University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He has written, co-written and co-edited many books of criticism, fiction and poetry to his credit with authors like A.V. Varghese, Gorakhnath Gangane, Angel Meredith, Madhumita Ghosh, Zeenath Ibrahim, Rukhaya MK and Bina Biswas, among others, and one of them, a solo effort and pamphlet, 'A Treatise on Poetry for Beginners' was reprinted once as 'Art of Poetry.' He is a Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee (2012), and four times Best Poem winner in Destiny Poets UK ICOP (2013, 2014, 2018, 2019) and he was thrice featured in Camel Saloon’s The Hump for best poem/editor’s pick. Even as a child he won the Shankar's International Award for writing, at the age of six or seven. He is a reputed critic and expert on Samuel Beckett, having done his Ph.D on him as well as having written a book on him, "Samuel Beckett's English Poetry", besides being a literary theoretician. His other books include "Wake Up, India: Essays for Our Times", co-authored with Dr Bina Biswas, and "Mahesh Dattani's Plays: Staging the Invisibles," research essays by many collected and co-edited with Bina Biswas, "The Significant Anthology" that he edited with Reena Prasad and Michele Baron, a collection of his stories "Scream and Other Urbane Legends" published by Lifi, and an anthology or collection of poetry "Igniting Key," with Bina Biswas and Pramila Khadun. He has edited or co-edited many books including A Man Outside History by Naseer Ahmed Nasir and Inklinks: An Anthology by PoetsCorner and Umbilical Chords with Dr Madan Gandhi, Dr Santosh Bakaya , Himali Narang and Vineetha Mekkoth. He instituted the Reuel International Literary Prize in 2014 for excellence in writing and runs an Autism NPO with his wife Anna Gabriel. The first Reuel prize was given to Dr Santosh Bakaya. He administers with the help of others the literary group Rejected Stuff on Facebook, also known as THE SIGNIFICANT LEAGUE. His poems have been studied in a research paper by Dr Zeenath Ibrahim and by Kiriti Sengupta in The Dazzling Bards and translated into Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, German, Bengali, Tamil, Spanish, Arabic and Malayalam. He won World Bank’s Urgent Evoke and participated in European Union’s Edgeryders. He has been interviewed extensively by people like Gina McKnight. He has other degrees like a Dip.Ed, diplomas, certificates and awards or prizes to his credit including best researcher and academic 2018 in Jazan University, besides his UGC and doctorate on Beckett. He attributes everything to God’s grace and the prayers and good wishes of his loved ones and friends. His latest books are "Allusions to Simplicity" and "Birds of Different Feathers", both collections of poetry like his first one "Figs". He is working on ten books now, one being on Bob Dylan. He has a certificate in Masters of World Literature from HarvardX, USA, earned in 2019, and a certificate from Nanowrimo USA in 2018, besides completing 2019 NAPOWRIMO, USA. He also co-edited with Reena Prasad, Michele Baron and Anna Gabriel "Silhouette I and II featuring Eternal Links", and contributed to "Eyes Bloodshot: Hallowe'en Tales" edited by Firdaus Parvez, both short story anthologies. His other book is "Wrighteings: In Media Res", a collection of essays, and he has contributed to international magazines, both online and print, and poetry and short story anthologies aplenty. He was a columnist for Niamh Clune's Plum Tree, Ireland, and has been published by Barry Mowles, Brian Wrixon, Bezine, Madswirl, Spillwords, Wagon, Oddball magazine, Setu, Tuck magazine, the Pangolin Review, OPA ,Metaworker, Atunis Galaktike, Nothing, No one, Nowhere, Episteme, Virogray etc. He also has many research papers to his credit in places like Langlit, uncollected as yet. He has had retrospectives of his work done by Duane Vorhees and Glory Sasikala in duanesnewpoetree.blogspot.com and Glomag respectively. He recently achieved ten thousand reads on Research Gate for his research articles on display there.
All Posts of Dr Ampat Varghese Koshy

Hope you enjoyed reading...

... we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting our creative, informative and analytical posts than ever before. And yes, we are firmly set on the path we chose when we started... our twin magazines Learning and Creativity and Silhouette Magazine (LnC-Silhouette) will be accessible to all, across the world.

We are editorially independent, not funded, supported or influenced by investors or agencies. We try to keep our content easily readable in an undisturbed interface, not swamped by advertisements and pop-ups. Our mission is to provide a platform you can call your own creative outlet and everyone from renowned authors and critics to budding bloggers, artists, teen writers and kids love to build their own space here and share with the world.

When readers like you contribute, big or small, it goes directly into funding our initiative. Your support helps us to keep striving towards making our content better. And yes, we need to build on this year after year. Support LnC-Silhouette with a little amount - and it only takes a minute. Thank you

Support LnC-Silhouette

Suja Menon has been teaching for the past two decades. She is a storyteller and a 'myth freak.' Her chief interests include literary theory, mythic feminism, narratology, and traumatives (rape narratives), and drama and narrative in language teaching on which her doctoral research was based.. She has published over 12 articles in various journal and anthologies.At present, she is a Language Instructor in Jazan University.
All Posts of Dr Suja Menon

Hope you enjoyed reading...

... we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting our creative, informative and analytical posts than ever before. And yes, we are firmly set on the path we chose when we started... our twin magazines Learning and Creativity and Silhouette Magazine (LnC-Silhouette) will be accessible to all, across the world.

We are editorially independent, not funded, supported or influenced by investors or agencies. We try to keep our content easily readable in an undisturbed interface, not swamped by advertisements and pop-ups. Our mission is to provide a platform you can call your own creative outlet and everyone from renowned authors and critics to budding bloggers, artists, teen writers and kids love to build their own space here and share with the world.

When readers like you contribute, big or small, it goes directly into funding our initiative. Your support helps us to keep striving towards making our content better. And yes, we need to build on this year after year. Support LnC-Silhouette with a little amount - and it only takes a minute. Thank you

Support LnC-Silhouette

Creative Writing

Got a poem, story, musing or painting you would like to share with the world? Send your creative writings and expressions to editor@learningandcreativity.com

Learning and Creativity publishes articles, stories, poems, reviews, and other literary works, artworks, photographs and other publishable material contributed by writers, artists and photographers as a friendly gesture. The opinions shared by the writers, artists and photographers are their personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Learning and Creativity- emagazine. Images used in the posts (not including those from Learning and Creativity's own photo archives) have been procured from the contributors themselves, public forums, social networking sites, publicity releases, free photo sites such as Pixabay, Pexels, Morguefile, etc and Wikimedia Creative Commons. Please inform us if any of the images used here are copyrighted, we will pull those images down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Today’s Motivation

<div class=at-above-post addthis_tool data-url=https://learningandcreativity.com/great-minds-discuss-ideas/></div>What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
~ Napolean Hill
<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><div class=at-below-post addthis_tool data-url=https://learningandcreativity.com/great-minds-discuss-ideas/></div><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->
What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. ~ Napolean Hill