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2 - Moving in …Garcilaso de la Vega's ‘Dulces prendas por mi mal halladas’

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2014

Isabel Torres
Affiliation:
Queen's University
Jean Andrews
Affiliation:
Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, University of Nottingham
Isabel Torres
Affiliation:
Professor of Spanish Golden Age Literature at Queen's University, Belfast
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Summary

A reader runs through it

If poetry plays to the most volatile and malleable part of our nature, then Plato, the philosopher, played poetry beautifully, and at its own game. The exploratory nature of Plato's writings, as well as their apparent inconsistencies, are well documented. His contradictory attitude, for instance, to poetry's relationship to the polity has not only dogged disciplinary discourse in terms of a centuries-long quarrel between philosophy and literature, but has also given rise to a provocative paradigm that connects order within the self to the construction of a utopian state. Individual selfhood is symbolically politicised in this process, while the construction of the social state risks deconstruction at the level of the resisting individual, the citizen who refuses to recognise reason as dominant in the ‘city’ within. But if, in the Republic, the rule of reason demands the expulsion of poets from a commonwealth of rationally self-determined citizens, how do we reconcile this attitude with the apotheosis of poetic madness (among other divinely-gifted madnesses) in the Phaedrus, a stance that taken even at its most ironic seems to revel in reason's dethronement? The answer is very simple – we cannot, and any attempt to extract an overarching philosophical system that suppresses the more aesthetic dimensions of Platonic discourse will be inevitably flawed. Plato's allusive self-consciousness is a hallmark of his writing. He may ban imitative poetry that flaunts deceptive appearance over reality, but he never tires of citing the poets himself throughout works where circumstances of context determine procedure.

Type
Chapter
Information
Spanish Golden Age Poetry in Motion
The Dynamics of Creation and Conversation
, pp. 41 - 58
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2014

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