MURRAY, P., (ed.),
Plato on Poetry. Ion; Republic 376e-398b9; Republic 595-608b10.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996. VIII,250p. Paperback. 'This very useful compilation contains the Ion in full and selections from the Republic (Books II and III, 376e-398b; Book X, 595-608b) with commentary, a bibliography, short indices in English and Greek, and an appendix of important Platonic passages on poetic inspiration. There is also a helpful yet concise introduction, which includes sections on several topics important to Plato's discussions of poetry. (...) The strength of this volume, however, lies elsewhere, as a convenient collection of Plato's main writings on poetry, and summary of scholarship on these writings. This very strength, however, could create the false impression that Plato had a system of aesthetics, which can be extracted and compiled from the Platonic corpus. Murray does her best to counter this impression right away, pointing out that aesthetics as a field did not exist until the 18th century, while claiming Plato as the starting point for many questions that continue to be asked in aesthetics. She also remarks that "we cannot speak of a Platonic theory of poetry, but rather a collection of texts in which various attitudes, images and myths about poetry are expressed"; and that "his discussions of poetry are always embedded in some wider context" (2). This wider context is necessarily sacrificed in such a collection. (...) She (Murray - ND) has distilled from the great morass of Platonic scholarship a concise and useful guide to Plato's main writings on poetry. This book will be valuable both for specialists in ancient aesthetics, and for those teaching advanced undergraduate or graduate courses in Greek, who wish to focus on a particular theme in Plato rather than on a single dialogue.' (VELVET YATES in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 97.4.3). From the library of Professor Carl Deroux.