Tuesday, March 19, 2013

News at Eleven: Epicurus didn't like poetry.

He thought it was unclear in comparison to prose, and in his own works used prose, often of a sparse and crabby variety. A wise man will be able to talk about poetry, Epicurus says--indeed, he will be the only one able to do so correctly--but he himself will not write it.

Lucretius, of course, liked Epicurus a very great deal. His master's attitude to verse has therefore often caused headaches for people reading his poem: why, runs the standard question (a favourite in university courses on the De Rerum Natura), write in verse about a philosophical system whose founder was anti-poetry?

from The Guardian: Lucretius, part 9: the calculating poet


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