A History of Literary Criticism by Harry Blamires (auth.)

By Harry Blamires (auth.)

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6 Time can wear away rocks and ploughshares, but 'poetry is deathless'. Rhetoric of course was Cicero's stock-in-trade in his two roles as barrister and statesman. 95 AD), then he too worked in the law-courts and rose to be consul under the emperor Domitian and tutor ofhis grandnephews. He retired about the year 90 AD and composed his Institutio Oratoria, a treatise in 12 books dealing with the education of the orator. Quintilian works through the early and later phases of THE CLASSICAL AGE 21 schooling (books I-II), then turns to technicalities of oratory, categorising subject-matter and examining the proper organisation of material (books III-VII).

Donatus's work on Virgil was a considerable influence on the fourth-century grammarian and editor Servius, who wrote his own commentary on Virgil with his eye on educational use. Servius was concerned with matters of substance as well as of style, being anxious to establish Virgil as a poet of great learning as well as ofmasterly technique. He was liberal with quotations from other Latin writers, and he was ready to balance opposing views against each other; but the information he has to offer is of antiquarian rather than critical interest.

Aquinas was able to rescue the insights THE MIDDLE AGES 31 of pre-Christian philosophy by his clear demarcation of the realm of reason and the realm of faith. 'Demarcation' is not the best word if it suggests contiguous but separate areas of human activity. The fundamental doctrines of Creation and the Fall, Incarnation and Redemption, are presented through the revelation recorded in Scripture. As such, within the province of faith, they make their call to the human will for obedient acceptance.

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