Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-ix

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Introduction to the 2013 Edition

Colin Burrow

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pp. xi-xx

In my first year as an undergraduate one of my lungs collapsed. This limited my future career options. Becoming a trumpeter or a professional footballer was clearly no longer on the cards—not that I was much good at kicking a ball or blowing a trumpet anyway...

Translator's Note

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p. xxi

Note of Acknowledgment

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p. xxii

Author's Foreword to the English Translation

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pp. xxiii-xxvi

Guiding Principles

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p. xxviii

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1. European Literature

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pp. 3-16

Man's knowledge of nature has made greater advances since the nineteenth century than in all preceding epochs. Indeed, compared with earlier advances, they may be called incommensurable. They have changed the forms of existence and they open new...

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2. The Latin Middle Ages

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pp. 17-35

As Dante, following in Virgil's footsteps, begins his journey through Limbo, there looms out of the darkness a region of light, in which dwell the poets and philosophers of the antique world. Four noble shades advance to meet Virgil, with the greeting...

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3. Literature and Education

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pp. 36-61

Literature forms a part of "education." Why and since when? Because the Greeks found their past, their essential nature, and their world of deities ideally reflected in a poet. They had no priestly books and no priestly caste. Horner, for them, was the "tradition." From...

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4. Rhetoric

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pp. 62-78

Rhetoric is the second of the seven liberal arts. It takes us deeper into the world of medieval culture than does grammar. To us, it has become unfamiliar. As an independent subject, it has long since vanished from the curriculum. Some scanty scraps of rhetoric were still...

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5. Topics

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pp. 79-105

Antique rhetoric is a forbidding subject. Where are there still readers who, like the young Goethe, would find "everything to do with poetry and rhetoric attractive and delightful"? Where a public to be fascinated by Curiosities of Literature and Amenities of...

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6. The Goddess Natura

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pp. 106-127

Ovid begins his cosmogony with a description of chaos (Met., I, 5 if.). Cold battles with hot, wet with dry, soft with hard, heavy with light. The conflict was composed by a god or milder Nature:
Hanc deus et melior litem natura diremit.
Ovid does not decide between Nature and the god...

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7. Metaphorics

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pp. 128-144

We have oriented our investigation upon the didascalium of Greek rhetoric. From its systematic concepts we have derived historical categories. This book, then, can be called a Nova Rhetorica. We had outlined the program of a historical topics; the method proved...

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8. Poetry and Rhetoric

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pp. 145-166

Dante's treatise on vernacular poetry bears the title De vulgari eloquentia. About 1300, then, it is still normal to conceive of poetry as a species of eloquence. There is no one generally available word for poetry. How is this to be understood historically...

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9. Heroes and Rulers

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pp. 167-182

Achilles, Siegfried, and Roland are presented to us in Greek, German, and French epic as "heroes." The "hero" is one of humanity's ideals, like the saint and the sage. To enumerate all these ideal types, to trace their descent, to determine their relative value, is a task...

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10. The Ideal Landscape

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pp. 183-202

The class ideals and human ideals of late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance were given expression in the schemata of panegyrical topics. Rhetoric conveys the picture of the ideal man. But for millenniums it also determines the ideal landscape of poetry...

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11. Poetry and Philosophy

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pp. 203-213

To the question as to the poet's significance in the world, Goethe has Wilhelm Meister answer: "Innate within his inmost heart, the beautiful flower of wisdom grows, and if other men dream awake and are terrified out of their wits by monstrous imaginings, he lives...

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12. Poetry and Theology

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pp. 214-227

In his last years Dante entered into relations with the Bolognese poet and university professor Giovanni del Virgilio--so named because of his admiration for Virgil. An exchange of poetical epistles in the form of Latin eclogues between Dante and Giovanni has come down to us...

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13. The Muses

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pp. 228-246

The starting point of our inquiry was the historical fact that the Mediterranean-Nordic West was culturally one. Our goal was to demonstrate the same unity in its literature. We had, therefore, to make manifest certain continuities which had hitherto been overlooked...

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14. Classicism

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pp. 247-272

Our discussion of the Muses may serve as an example of the tasks which lie before a science of European literature. What that discipline is, and what it is good for, Novalis has expressed in two sentences: "Philology in general is the science of literature," and...

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15. Mannerism

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pp. 273-301

We feel the Classicism of Raphael and of Phidias as Nature raised to the Ideal. To be sure, every conceptual attempt to circumscribe the essence of great art is a makeshift. Yet the above formula would to some extent apply to what affects us as "classical" in Sophocles, Virgil...

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16. The Book as Symbol

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pp. 302-347

Progressing spirally, our course has led us to a height which permits a retrospect and a new prospect. From thence let us turn once again to metaphorics, and let us consider one of its most illuminating domains (though literary science has given it hardly any consideration)...

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17. Dante

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pp. 348-379

We are accustomed to regarding Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe as the three peaks of modern poetry. But this evaluation first imposed itself only in the century after Goethe's death. In Germany it has become canonical through Stefan George and his school...

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18. Epilogue

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pp. 380-402

We have an arduous journey behind us and now we may relax. Looking back, we can see the stages of our road. How have we proceeded? "The strict method," says Novalis, "is merely for study, and should not be printed; one should write for the public only in a free...

Excursuses

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I. Misunderstandings of Antiquity in the Middle Ages

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pp. 405-406

Anyone who has visited Rome knows the antique Horsetamers (Dioscuri) on the Quirinal, which to this day bears the name Monte Cavallo after them. Adolph Goldschmidt reports what the Mirabilia Romae, a twelfth-century guide to Rome, has to say about them: "The marble horses-hearken to why they are naked...

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II. Devotional Formula and Humility

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pp. 407-413

"Devotional formula" is a technical term of medieval diploma tics, the study of written instruments. Part of the "protocol" of an instrument is the statement of the drawer's name and title (intitulatio). But this is "frequently connected with the devotional formula, which expresses the idea that the drawer owes his...

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III. Grammatical and Rhetorical Technical Terms as Metaphors

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pp. 414-416

It is to the schools of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages that we owe the metaphorical use of grammatical and rhetorical terms. The symbiosis of the pursuits of grammar and poetry begins to define itself under Nero. From the Neronian period comes Lucilius' epigram (AP, XI, 139) in which, for the first time, we find grammatical...

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IV. Jest and Earnest in Medieval Literature

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pp. 417-435

In the Homeric epic the base and the heroic (Thersites and Achilles) stand side by side. Nestor is treated with delicate humor. Hephaestus' surprising Ares and Aphrodite is a farce in which gods take part. The comic and the tragic enter the epic style. "It was tragedy which first attempted to carry out the idea...

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V. Late Antique Literary Studies

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pp. 436-445

Quintilian's influence during the Middle Ages is far greater than the notices make it appear.1 Inasmuch as the Institutio oratoria is a draft for the education of an ideal man, it can be compared with Castiglione's Cortegiano (1528). The "harmonious rounding-out of the intellectual life" which Burckhardt found characteristic of the...

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VI. Early Christian and Medieval Literary Studies

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pp. 446-467

The vast realm of patristics has not yet been explored in respect to the problems posed by European literary history and literary theory. Here, naturally enough, textbooks of patrology leave us in the lurch. For they treat the material from the points of view of theology and ecclesiastical history. In this state of the matter, what follows...

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VII. The Mode of Existence of the Medieval Poet

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pp. 468-473

Excursuses VII through XII are fragments toward a "History of the Theory of Poetry." By "theory of poetry" I mean the concept of the nature and function of the poet and of poetry, in distinction from poetics, which has to do with the technique of poetical composition. This distinction between the concepts...

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VIII. The Poet's Divine Frenzy

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pp. 474-475

The theory of the poet's divine frenzy1. is, of course, set forth in Plato's Phaedrus (which the Middle Ages did not know), but in diluted form it was to be found throughout late Antiquity and it passed to the Middle Ages as a commonplace, like other elements of antique mythology. Horace (Cann., III, 4, 5) once regards...

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IX. Poetry as Perpetuation

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pp. 476-477

Homer's heroes already know that poetry bestows eternal fame upon those whom it sings (Iliad, VI, 359). Poetry perpetuates. The poets like to impress this-Theog. nis (237 If.) upon his Cyrnus, for example; Theocritus (XVI) upon Hiero; Propertius upon his Cynthia (III, 2,17); likewise Horace (Carm., IV, 8, 28), though in...

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X. Poetry as Entertainment

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pp. 478-479

In ancient Greece poets and poetry were above all prized for their value as educators of the people. Even Plato, who thought quite otherwise, nevertheless reproduces the general view when he calls poets "fathers of wisdom and guides" (Lysis, 214 a). The Alexandrians, however, maintain an aesthetic-hedonistic view of poetry...

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XI. Poetry and Scholasticism

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pp. 480-484

One of the chief themes of this book is the position of poetry in the intellectual cosmos of the Middle Ages. We have investigated its relation to grammar, rhetoric, philosophy, and theology. With the scholastic disciplines (artes) of grammar and rhetoric poetry was connected by long usage. If it regarded itself as theology...

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XII. The Poet's Pride

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pp. 485-486

Hennig Brinkmann (Zu Wesen und Form mittelalterlicher Dichtung, 46 n. 1) pointed out in 1928 "that from the eleventh century onward an increasing self-assertion among writers is characteristic of the period." The concept of poetry as a "perpetuation" already shows this. We may also draw conclusions from the suppression...

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XIII. Brevity as an Ideal of Style

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pp. 487-494

What is behind this brevity-formula? This leads us back to the beginnings of Greek rhetoric. Isocrates demanded brevity for the narratio in judicial oratory (M. Sheehan, De fide artis rhetoricae Isocrati tributae [Bonn, 1901], p. 37). It was counted among the virtiltes narrationis...

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XIV. Etymology as a Category of Thought

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pp. 495-500

When Odysseus, after twenty years of separation, sees his old father again, he does not at once reveal himself but thinks it better to try him first by "sharp-cutting" words. He comes from "Souowfield" (Alybas), his name is "Strife" (Eperitos) , and he is the son of "Hardlife Vexation"1 (Apheidas Polypemonides)...

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XV. Numerical Composition

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pp. 501-509

Concerning composition, rhetorical theory (Quintilian, III, 3, 9; VII praef., 4; VII, 1, 1 f.) had little to say, and that little was misunderstood (e.g., Poetae, IV, 369, gloss on 229). Servius comments on Aeneid, I, 8: "In tres partes dividunt poetae carmen suum: proponunt, invocant, narrant. Plerumque tamen duas res...

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XVI. Numerical Apothegms

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pp. 510-514

Popular in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament is the "numerical apothegm," 1 which, for example, begins: "There are three things that are never satisfied, yea four things say not, It is enough" (Prov. 30: IS). This form of statement was elaborately developed in the East. E. W. Lane 2 gives an Arabic description of...

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XVII. Mention of the Author's Name in Medieval Literature

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pp. 515-518

Julius Schwietering began his study of "The Humility Formula in Middle High German Poets" (Die Demutsformel mittelhochcleutscher Dichter [1921]) with a section on "Veiled Expression of the Author's Name." Complete suppression of the author's name, which frequently occurs, he refers to the precepts of Salvian, Sulpicius Severus...

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XVIII. The "Chivalric System of the Virtues"

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pp. 519-537

Under date of November 13, 1874, Wilhelm Scherer wrote (ZfdA, XVIII [1875], 461): "I would rather read amusing things than boring ones, and I assume the same taste in my readers. So when I have succeeded in relieving serious and weighty discussions by a little unsought merriment, I have always thought that I should...

XIX. The Ape as Metaphor

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pp. 538-540

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XX. Spain's Cultural "Belatedness"

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pp. 541-543

Vernacular literature begins in Spain considerably later than in France. The Latin culture of the twelfth century reaches there quite belatedly too. Hence Spanish literature, down to the end of the seventeenth century, preserves medieval characteristics which give it a physiognomy of its own. There are yet other symptoms of...

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XXI. God as Maker

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pp. 544-546

In the Platonic mythopoeia of the Timaeus, God appears as demiurge, that is, as architect and maker of the cosmos. The Timaeus is, as we know, the only work of Plato's that the Middle Ages possessed. It exercised the strongest possible influence -by way of Cicero, of African Platonism, of Chalcidius, and of Boethius...

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XXII. Theological Art-Theory in the Spanish Literature of the Seventeenth Century

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pp. 547-558

In the year 1627 there appeared at Seville an anonymous Panegyrico por la poesia; a facsimile edition of 200 copies was published at Seville by E. Rasco in 1886. It seems hitherto to have aroused little interest. Menendez y Pelayo mentions it in a note among seventeenth-century works of literary theory which deserved mention...

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XXIII. Calderón's Theory of Art and the Artes Liberales

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pp. 559-570

The anonymous Panegyrico of 1627 was an exhumation. It permitted the reconstruction of a theory of poetry which, to my knowledge, has hitherto remained unknown. In what follows, I present another exhumation. The text is not by an anonymous writer but by "none less" than...

XXIV. Montesquieu, Ovid, and Virgil

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pp. 571-572

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XXV. Diderot and Horace

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pp. 573-586

Goethe's observation on Diderot is well known: "Diderot is Diderot, a unique individual; whoever carps at him or his output is a Philistine, and they are legion" (to Zeiter, March 9, 1831). What is the basis of the fascination that Diderot's writings exercise? He rises above his contemporaries not only in scope but also in vital...

Appendix: The Medieval Bases of Western Thought

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pp. 587-598

Bibliographical Note

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pp. 599-602

Index

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pp. 603-662