An abortive Chinese enlightenment The Cultural Revolution by Lin, Weiran PDF

By Lin, Weiran

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But Plato rejects this move on the grounds that the young especially ‘can’t distinguish the allegorical from the non-allegorical’ (Russell and Winterbottom 1972: 53). If poetry must exist, Plato seems to say, then it should be of some benefit to the community. In that respect he is in agreement with Aristophanes. But they differ on how it achieves its effect. Aristophanes believes poetry works by offering advice while Plato believes that it works by offering models for imitation. Plato’s discusses poetry in The Republic (360 bc), whose main subject is whether it is best to be just or unjust, particularly as the latter seem to profit more than the former.

These, like the dithyrambs, represented a unified view of mind and body which fractured as tragedy and comedy were gradually differentiated. According to Aristotle, this was due to the personalities of poets themselves. The more serious poet represents noble actions of noble men while the less serious represents those of ‘low-class people’ (Russell and Winterbottom 1972: 94). : 94). The growing difference between tragedy and comedy can be seen as an early expression of the division between mind and body.

In times of crisis, citizens turn not to their politicians, but to their playwrights. Different sorts of literature are used for different purposes and this a dramatic – in all senses of the word – example of that principle. Literature is functional. It has a variety of roles to play in the life of the polity and is therefore integral to civil life. It is valued according to the purpose it serves. We see this in the competition between Aeschylus and Euripides. The one provides models of heroes, the other of citizens.

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An abortive Chinese enlightenment The Cultural Revolution and class theory by Lin, Weiran


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