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Lecture: The Defense of the Poet in Ancient Rome (Horace and Longinus)

March 19 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

This class is part of a course titled "LITERARY THEORY IN ANTIQUITY AND EARLY MODERN EUROPE"
It's taught by Dr. Bryan Berry, PhD.

• Class introduction: In this lecture, we turn to two thinkers from later antiquity, Horace and Longinus, who defend the usefulness of poetry and offer guidance for the composition and evaluation of great poetry. In his somewhat ironic epistle, Ars Poetica, Horace puts forth rules for poetry that will both please and instruct readers. Also taking a prescriptive approach to poetry, Longinus claims that great poetry creates a sense of sublimity, specifically for an audience that is prepared to receive it.

• Course introduction: The purpose of Literary Theory in Antiquity and Early Modern Europe is to prime the question, “Why does literature matter?” This sequence will focus on how some of the major thinkers in the western tradition approach literature, and how it helps us think about human action (i.e. the relationship between aesthetics and ethics). How does literature relate to the true, the beautiful, and the good? Does it help or hinder human life on a personal and societal level? Each lecture topic stands alone, but is also in dialogue with the previous lectures.

• About Brian. Growing up in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, Brian first gained interest in the humanities through an involvement with theater in his youth. The sense of community cultivated during a theatrical production served to counterbalance a proclivity toward solitary philosophical reflection. He went to pursue a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago, with a dissertation on Samuel Beckett and the philosopher Stanley Cavell.

• Class syllabus:

• Guidelines for Participation:


March 19
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


ENSO Winery
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Portland, US
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