Download Classical and Christian Ideas in English Renaissance Poetry by Isabel Rivers PDF

By Isabel Rivers

A brand new creation and an absolutely up-to-date bibliography make the second one variation of this demonstrated textual content an imperative source for college students and lecturers of English poetry.

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Sample text

And as on angels’ heads their glories shine, His burning locks adorn his face divine. But when in his immortal mind he felt His altering form and soldered limbs to melt, Down on the deck he laid himself and died, With his dear sword reposing by his side: And on the flaming plank so rests his head As one that hugs himself in a warm bed. The ship burns down and with his relics sinks. And the sad stream beneath his ashes drinks. e. Hercules] are forgot Our English youth shall sing the valiant Scot.

As knowledge of Greek was lost in the West, so the original writings of Plato, Plotinus and other Neoplatonists became inaccessible. There were very few Latin translations of Plato: Timaeus, Phaedo and Meno were the only texts available in the medieval period. In order for a revival of Platonism in the Renaissance to be possible, therefore, the texts had first to be translated into Latin. The late fifteenth-century Florentine Neoplatonists, in particular Ficino, were responsible for the dissemination of Platonic and Neoplatonic texts.

But every Christian schoolboy in the Roman empire was brought up on classical Latin literature, and hence on the pagan myths. It was impossible for Christianity to ignore pagan culture and pagan educational methods, largely because it could not as yet provide a substitute. Hence some kind of accommodation was necessary. The traditional argument, repeated by Augustine in Christian Instruction II 40 but much older, was that the Christians were entitled to appropriate what was valuable in pagan culture, just as the Israelites had robbed the Egyptians (Exodus 12:35–6).

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