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Lecture: The Problem of the Poet in Ancient Greece (Plato and Aristotle)

February 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: Plato’s Republic is a foundational text both for western philosophy and for literary theory. Along with providing the most well-known illustration of the philosophical journey—the Allegory of the Cave—the Republic is also (in)famous for the suggestion that poets and poetry not be allowed in the ideal city. This lecture will contextualize the argument against poetry as well as Aristotle’s response to Plato.

• • 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.

• • Class syllabus:

• • 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.

• • Guidelines for Participation:


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


ENSO Winery
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Portland, US
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