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Poetry And Morality Essay

"A Defence of Poetry" is an essay by the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, written in 1821 and first published posthumously in 1840 in Essays, Letters from Abroad, Translations and Fragments by Edward Moxon in London.[1] It contains Shelley's famous claim that "poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world".

poetry and morality essay

The essay was written in response to his friend Thomas Love Peacock's article "The Four Ages of Poetry", which had been published in 1820.[2] Shelley wrote to the publishers Charles and James Ollier (who were also his own publishers):

A Defence of Poetry was eventually published, with some edits by John Hunt, posthumously by Shelley's wife Mary Shelley in 1840 in Essays, Letters from Abroad, Translations and FragmentsShelly thus anticipates the term ,"Defamiliarization" later propounded by 20th century Russian Critics as Shelley says that poetry 'strip the veil of familiarity from the world..... it purges our inward film of familiarity..... it compels us to feel that which we perceive, and to imagine that which we know'

Poets introduce and maintain morality. The mores so created are codified into laws. The social function or utility of poets is that they create and maintain the norms and mores of a society. In English Romantic Writers, David Perkins wrote:[4]

In A Defence of Poetry, Shelley argued that the invention of language reveals a human impulse to reproduce the rhythmic and ordered, so that harmony and unity are delighted in wherever they are found and incorporated, instinctively, into creative activities: "Every man in the infancy of art, observes an order which approximates more or less closely to that from which highest delight results..." This "faculty of approximation" enables the observer to experience the beautiful, by establishing a "relation between the highest pleasure and its causes". Those who possess this faculty "in excess are poets" and their task is to communicate the "pleasure" of their experiences to the community. Shelley does not claim language is poetry on the grounds that language is the medium of poetry; rather he recognises in the creation of language an adherence to the poetic precepts of order, harmony, unity, and a desire to express delight in the beautiful. Aesthetic admiration of "the true and the beautiful" is provided with an important social aspect which extends beyond communication and precipitates self-awareness. Poetry and the various modes of art it incorporates are directly involved with the social activities of life. Shelley nominated unlikely figures such as Plato and Jesus in their excellent use of language to conceive the inconceivable.

Pope's Essay on Man and Moral Epistles were designed to be the parts of a system of ethics which he wanted to express in poetry. Moral Epistles has been known under various other names including Ethic Epistles and Moral Essays.

The essay, written in heroic couplets, comprises four epistles. Pope began work on it in 1729, and had finished the first three by 1731. They appeared in early 1733, with the fourth epistle published the following year. The poem was originally published anonymously; Pope did not admit authorship until 1735.

The four epistles which had already been published would have comprised the first book. The second book was to contain another set of epistles, which in contrast to the first book would focus on subjects such as human reason, the practical and impractical aspects of varied arts and sciences, human talent, the use of learning, the science of the world, and wit, together with "a satire against the misapplication" of those same disciplines. The third book would discuss politics and religion, while the fourth book was concerned with "private ethics" or "practical morality." The following passage, taken from the first two paragraphs of the opening verse of the second epistle, is often quoted by those familiar with Pope's work, as it neatly summarizes some of the religious and humanistic tenets of the poem:

Publishing by subscription was a standard practice for an unknown author in the 18th century, especially in the colonies. Boston printers made their living from steady sellers like primers, almanacs, newspapers, and pamphlets. Then as now, a book of poetry was unlikely to turn much of a profit, so an aspiring author would be required to finance the publication herself.

Phillis herself was well aware that her published volume of poetry was not just a reflection of her personal abilities. For Phillis, the rest of the Wheatleys, and their like-minded supporters, Poems on Various Subjects was a political and moral statement intended to incite controversy.

The poets are everywhere, according to their concept, the guardian of nature. Where they can no longer entirely be the latter and already experience in themselves the destructive influence of capricious and artificial forms, or indeed have had to struggle with the same, then will they appear as the witnesses and the avengers of nature. They will either be nature, or they will seek the lost nature. Therefrom arise two entirely different kinds of poetry, through which the entire province of poetry is exhausted and measured out. All poets, who are really such, will, according to the time in which they flourish, or as accidental circumstances have influence upon their general education and upon their passing dispositions of mind, belong either to the naive or to the sentimental.

Mary Kinzie, poet and critic, M.A. Johns Hopkins University, Writing Seminars (fiction), Ph.D. Johns Hopkins, English. Author of seven poetry collections, including Summers of Vietnam, Autumn Eros, and California Sorrow (Knopf). Two volumes of critical essays, The Cure of Poetry in an Age of Prose (Chicago) and The Judge Is Fury (University of Michigan "Poets on Poetry" series), were followed by A Poet's Guide to Poetry (Chicago), a critical handbook on poetry and prosody (2013). Mary was recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, and the Folger Shakespeare Library's O. B. Hardison Poetry Award. During her many years on faculty at Northwestern, she taught poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your readers to your point of view, to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. And the impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after they've finished the essay.

The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.

ing he adopts the opinions and thoughts of many Greek and Roman philosophers. He stresses how the Greeks and Romans understood and felt about poetry and their influence on the present day sciences and literature. How he pays attention to Greek and Roman thought displays humanistic tendencies. Sidney draws on many pieces of classical literature because of the Renaissance audience. Sidney also states that poetry can be used to assert a certain amount of control over human affairs and that poets are independent thinkers. This shows humanistic aspects because before humanism, people believed that God controlled every aspect of their life and their fate. However, Sidney rejects those tendencies throughout the writing. . . . Only the poet, disdaining to be tied to any such subjection, lifted up with the vigor of his own invention, doth grow in effect another nature, in making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature, as the Heroes, Demigods, Cyclops, Chimeras, Furies, and such like: so as he goeth hand in hand with nature, not enclosed within the narrow warrant of her gifts, but freely ranging only within the zodiac of his own wit (1049-50). Sidney states that poets are in control of themselves, they are not restricted by outwardly ideas. This sense of individualism was a popular tendency in Renaissance Humanism. Through these main points, it is clear that The Defense of Poesy is written with Humanistic values and ideals.

Definition and Classification of PoetrySidney references Aristotle, and the term he used, mimesis which means a representation, counterfeit, or metaphorically, a speaking picture. He writes that although it is possible to view poetry as a simply an unoriginal imitation, on the other hand poets are not limited by the rules of reality. This brings to the forefront the idea that the skill of an artist is based on the idea and not the art itself. For example when a painter uses a model, the end results value is not necessarily a reflection of how closely the piece resembles the original subject. Due to the lack of limitation, poetry has the ability to surpass the beauty of nature. Art is a teaching tool that is also used to delight and entertain. Poetry is divided into many subcategories such as: heroic, lyric, tragic, comic, satiric, iambic, elegiac, and pastoral. He goes on to discuss the importance of verse, however, he is quick to clarify that while verse can be an attribute it is not a necessity. There have been many great poets in history that were not versifiers. For example: Heliodorus in Theagenes and Chariclea which were both written in prose.

After these points Sidney continues on to attempt to prove that poets encompass the best traits of Philosophers and Historians. He condemns historians for relying only on the hearsay of others and being trapped in the past instead of looking towards the future. On the other side he complains that philosophers are so busy looking towards the future and pondering the what-ifs that they do not pay attention to the present. His claim is that poets have the ability to remember and paint the past while philosophizing about the future. However, they also have the ability to comprehend the world around them and offer explanations to those experiencing it and assist in making sense of what is happening in the present. Sidney does recognize the importance of both History and Philosophy but maintains that poetry represents an artistic perspective of both. 350c69d7ab


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