By Harry Blamires (auth.)
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Extra info for A History of Literary Criticism
When Cicero comes down to more technical matters over the choice of words, the use of metaphor and figures of speech, his illustrations imply that what applies to rhetoric applies to poetry. Not that poets themselves were prepared to regard rhetoric as a sub-section of poetry. The first century poet Petronius protested against the idea that composing poetry was a suitable relaxation for an advocate after a period of hard work in the courts. l7 AD), in one of his Amores, replied with dignity to the charge that he had wasted years that might have been spent in military, legal or political pursuits.
As such, within the province of faith, they make their call to the human will for obedient acceptance. This is a matter of moral choice, not of intellectual discovery. But in no sense does this primacy of faith produce a collision with the demand of the human reason. There are many truths about the existence of God as creator and sustainer of the world which the human reason can arrive at without recourse to revelation. And the revealed truths, to which the human reason could never have attained without the gift of revelation, are never offensive to reason.
King Alfred (849-99) did much to rescue the remnants of culture and learning from obliteration. When he translated Pope Gregory's Cura Pastoralis into English in 894, he described the sorry state of education in the country, in particular the lack in the clergy of the necessary ability to translate Latin into English. Alfred has a special importance because of his emphasis on the need to make Latin scholarship accessible in English translation. But, in spite of the fact that Anglo-Saxon England produced some fine examples of vernacular literature in both poetry and prose, the English language was doomed to lose its status after the Norman conquest of 1066, and more than two centuries were to pass before a revived English literature throve alongside a revived Latin scholarship.