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Read e-book online A History of Literary Criticism PDF

By Harry Blamires (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0333517350

ISBN-13: 9780333517352

ISBN-10: 1349214957

ISBN-13: 9781349214952

ISBN-10: 3573603653

ISBN-13: 9783573603656

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The beautiful is something we delight in recognising and appreciating. The good is the object of our desire. 32 A HISTORY OF LITERARY CRITICISM Aquinas supplies a definition of what constitutes beauty: For in respect to beauty three things are essential: first of all, integrity or completeness, since beings deprived of wholeness are on this score ugly; secondly, a certain required design or patterned structure; and finally, a certain splendour, inasmuch as things are called beautiful which possess a pleasing colour.

But the coming of Christianity to Britain and the establishment of monastic houses produced such a vast and swift cultural development that England, like Ireland, became by the end of the seventh century one of the strongholds of Latin learning in Europe. Nor was this flowering of scholarship centred chiefly in the south. A Benedictine abbey was founded at Wearmouth in 674 and a twin abbey at ]arrow in 682. Both foundations were the work of St Benedict Biscop, a man full of zeal for scholarship who visited Rome on several occasions and collected books for the monastic library at ]arrow.

Later he tells us how stage plays carried him away 'full of images of my miseries, and of fuel to my fire'. It is sheer wastefulness of grief over the fictional that he stresses. That is what we mean when we say that the birth of the Christian era so transformed the sense of proportion that there was scarcely room for the luxury of aesthetics. Everything, but everything became a moral and therefore a theological issue. Yet there are no puritanical aridities in Augustine's address to God: 'Too late loved I Thee, 0 Thou Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new!

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


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