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ars poetica

Ars Poetica, or "The Art of Poetry," is a poem written by Horace c. 19 BCE, in which he advises poets on the art of writing poetry and drama. The Ars Poetica has "exercised a great influence in later ages on European literature, notably on French drama..."and has inspired poets and writers through the ages

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-HORACE
ARS POETICA
HORACE
Horace was one of the great poets of Roman
Augustan Age.
This golden age lasted from 27 BC to AD 14 and
included Virgil, Ovid ,Propertius andTibullus.
Horace was a master of the short lyric and the
very embodiment of wit.
Horace became a model of the courtly poet who
could move around in high society without
prostituting his talents or his art
INTRODUCTION
 Though generally translated into prose the ‘Art of poetry’ is
actually a verse epistle addressed to the Pisco family.This
family was Horace’s patron.
 In the letter ,Horace is purportedly giving advice to the two
Pisco boys on how to write great poetry.
 The letter is really a none-to-subtle appeal to the two boys
to give up poetry .
 With much irony and wit ,Horace advices the boys to put
their poetry in a closet for nine years before showing it to
the public.
 Horace, a master of the ironic prose, expresses contempt in
his letter for critics who flatter their patrons instead of
telling them the truth.
Horace offers an influential view of the proper
role of the critic.
 A critic is a whet stone against which poets can
sharpen their work.
 The purpose of the whetstone is not itself to
write great poetry ,but to teach the proper duty
and office of the poet.
 This includes censuring and editing poetry that
either uses the wrong material or handles that
material in an appropriate way.
 The laws that dictate what is not appropriate for
poetry constitute the central and foundational
notion of all neoclassical art: decorum.
KEY POINTS TO THE TEXT
 Horace illustrates this rule by scornfully lampooning the image
of the mermaid; such images ,he declares , are the work of
feverish minds.
 More specifically ,Horace attacks poets who mix genres, who
use comic subjects as the basis of a tragedy or vice versa.
 Each genre should have its own style that is natural to it.There
should be an unbroken ,clearly defined unity of action ,
character and mood.
 Indeed each given genre should have its own specific meter , a
meter with rhythmic sounds that closely mimic to the sense of
the poem.
 When writing on a traditional subject , modern poets must be
faithful to the literary precedents set by their poetic forebears.
HORACE AND THE RULES OF DECORUM
At the heart of decorum is the stipulation not to mix unlike
things.
What is fit or proper to be shown publically?
 Gory , explicit scenes must be kept off the stage :such scenes
of suffering should be related by a messenger.
 This rule was not followed in the theatre of Shakespeare.
 Related to decorum Horace’s comparison of poetry
and painting.
 As with painting ,some poems are best viewed close up ,while
others are better when seen from a distance : some best I n
shadows , others in light.
 In later neoclassical theory , this notion took on greater
significance.
 Other rules laid by Horace.
 The proper end of poetry is to please and teach.
 Poetry should be both concise and realistic.

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ars poetica

  • 2. HORACE Horace was one of the great poets of Roman Augustan Age. This golden age lasted from 27 BC to AD 14 and included Virgil, Ovid ,Propertius andTibullus. Horace was a master of the short lyric and the very embodiment of wit. Horace became a model of the courtly poet who could move around in high society without prostituting his talents or his art
  • 3. INTRODUCTION  Though generally translated into prose the ‘Art of poetry’ is actually a verse epistle addressed to the Pisco family.This family was Horace’s patron.  In the letter ,Horace is purportedly giving advice to the two Pisco boys on how to write great poetry.  The letter is really a none-to-subtle appeal to the two boys to give up poetry .  With much irony and wit ,Horace advices the boys to put their poetry in a closet for nine years before showing it to the public.  Horace, a master of the ironic prose, expresses contempt in his letter for critics who flatter their patrons instead of telling them the truth.
  • 4. Horace offers an influential view of the proper role of the critic.  A critic is a whet stone against which poets can sharpen their work.  The purpose of the whetstone is not itself to write great poetry ,but to teach the proper duty and office of the poet.  This includes censuring and editing poetry that either uses the wrong material or handles that material in an appropriate way.  The laws that dictate what is not appropriate for poetry constitute the central and foundational notion of all neoclassical art: decorum. KEY POINTS TO THE TEXT
  • 5.  Horace illustrates this rule by scornfully lampooning the image of the mermaid; such images ,he declares , are the work of feverish minds.  More specifically ,Horace attacks poets who mix genres, who use comic subjects as the basis of a tragedy or vice versa.  Each genre should have its own style that is natural to it.There should be an unbroken ,clearly defined unity of action , character and mood.  Indeed each given genre should have its own specific meter , a meter with rhythmic sounds that closely mimic to the sense of the poem.  When writing on a traditional subject , modern poets must be faithful to the literary precedents set by their poetic forebears. HORACE AND THE RULES OF DECORUM At the heart of decorum is the stipulation not to mix unlike things.
  • 6. What is fit or proper to be shown publically?  Gory , explicit scenes must be kept off the stage :such scenes of suffering should be related by a messenger.  This rule was not followed in the theatre of Shakespeare.  Related to decorum Horace’s comparison of poetry and painting.  As with painting ,some poems are best viewed close up ,while others are better when seen from a distance : some best I n shadows , others in light.  In later neoclassical theory , this notion took on greater significance.  Other rules laid by Horace.  The proper end of poetry is to please and teach.  Poetry should be both concise and realistic.
  • 7.  Horace’s rules for drama  Plays should not begin at the beginning but should plunge in medias res (in the middle of things).  Plays should consists of five acts.  They should not end with deus -ex machina.  The chorus and choral songs should serve an integral function .  These four criteria all express an organic view of drama.  Like Aristotle ,Horace insisted that each part of a play be directly and intimately related with all other parts and with the work as a whole.  Nature and duties of the poet.  The true poets combines genius and art; he is an inspired craftsman.  Like an athlete ,he needs both native ability and rigorous training.  The artisan poet must labor never to be mediocre.  The best poets make it look easy; their works are so perfect and unified.
  • 8. Theroleofthepoet  He must please an often vulgar crowd while staying true to his art.  He must make a living without letting the love of money taint his soul.  The poet is the great civilizer to humanity; he tamed the best within and established cities , laws and moral rules of conduct.  He is a divine oracle to whom honor and fame are due.
  • 9. 1. Grant Showerman , Horace and His Influence. 2. G. M. A. Grube , The Greek andThe Roman Critics. Chapter14. 3. Horace , Ars Poetica , in Adams. BIBLIOGRAPHY