Plato and the English Romantics: Dialogoi

By E. Douka Kabitoglou | Go to book overview

4

ΠAΘHMA AND ΠOIHMA

Being in the Romantic Texts

THE PRELUDE

The difference between transcendental experience as portrayed in the Platonic myth of Socrates and in its Romantic counterparts, the mythic 'heroes' of the Wordsworthian Poet, Coleridgean Mariner, Shelleyan Prometheus, and Keatsian Apollo, would be the distinction which is best expressed (quite unexpectedly, or perhaps justifiably so) by Keats, the poet of 'sensations rather than thoughts', in a letter to Reynolds:

An extensive knowledge is needful to thinking people-it takes away the heat and fever; and helps, by widening speculation, to ease the Burden of the Mystery: a thing I begin to understand a little, and which weighed upon you in the most gloomy and true sentence in your Letter. The difference of high Sensations with and without knowledge appears to me this-in the latter case we are falling continually ten thousand fathoms deep and being blown up again without wings and with all [the] horror of a bare shoulderd Creature-in the former case, our shoulders are fledge, and we go thro' the same air and space without fear.

(1958:I, 277)

Keats' implicit recognition of Wordsworth's contribution to the 'en-light-enment' of the 'burden' of the mystery which is life, is repeated more explicitly by many modern critics, among them M. Sherwood, whose voice I choose to incorporate precisely because it very conveniently bridges the gap between the two poles of the present investigation-Platonic philosophy and Romantic poetry:

-188-

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Plato and the English Romantics: Dialogoi
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • 1 - The Dialogue Form 1
  • 2 - Eros in Logos 72
  • 3 - Trans-Form-Ation 136
  • 4 - ΠaΘhma and Πoihma 188
  • 5 - On Re-Collection 274
  • Notes 296
  • Bibliography 309
  • Index 318
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