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Latin Poetry and the Judgement of TasteAn Essay in Aesthetics$
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Charles Martindale

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199240401

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199240401.001.0001

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The Aesthetic Turn: Latin Poetry and Aesthetic Criticism

The Aesthetic Turn: Latin Poetry and Aesthetic Criticism

(p.167) 4 The Aesthetic Turn: Latin Poetry and Aesthetic Criticism
Latin Poetry and the Judgement of Taste

Charles Martindale (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks what an aesthetic criticism of Latin poetry in the 21st century may look like. There is a strong body of aesthetic criticism in English, which, while from a Kantian perspective should not be regarded as an object of imitation, can be construed as exemplary. For both theory and practice, the chapter turns to Pater whose writings sought to isolate the ‘virtue’, the unique aesthetic character of artworks. It offers three short essays in this mode (on Lucretius, Ovid, and Lucan), for which nothing is claimed except that they are gestures towards a revised practice. These authors have been chosen as offering the reader the experience of a unique kind of beauty that he or she will find nowhere else. For instance, the virtue of Lucretius is located in his combined love of things, words, and ideas, and an imaginatively realized vision of the universe grounded in nature and reason.

Keywords:   aesthetic criticism, Latin poetry, Pater, Lucretius, Ovid, Lucan

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