The Poets on the Classics: An Anthology of English Poets' Writings on the Classical Poets and Dramatists from Chaucer to the Present
Routledge, 1988 - Classical literature - 273 pages
Ernst Cassirer occupies a unique space in Twentieth-century philosophy. A great liberal humanist, his multi-faceted work spans the history of philosophy, the philosophy of science, intellectual history, aesthetics, epistemology, the study of language and myth, and more.
The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms is Cassirer's most important work. It was first published in German in 1923, the third and final volume appearing in 1929. In it Cassirer presents a radical new philosophical worldview - at once rich, creative and controversial - of human beings as fundamentally "symbolic animals", placing signs and systems of expression between themselves and the world.
This major new translation, the first for over fifty years, brings Cassirer's magnum opus to a new generation of students and scholars.
Volume 2: Mythical Thought considers the role of myth in human thought and expression. Cassirer examines the main features of morphology of myth before tackling the relationship between myth and self-consciousness. He argues that human beings' experience of the world around them is charged with affective and emotional significance, as desirable or hateful, comforting or threatening. It is this type of meaning which underlies mythical consciousness and explains its disregard for the distinction between appearance and reality. From mythical thought religion and art develop, Cassirer argues, making the mythical view of the world the earliest form of philosophical expression.
Correcting important errors in previous English editions, this translation reflects the contributions of significant advances in Cassirer scholarship over the last twenty to thirty years. Each volume includes a new introduction and translator's notes by S. G. Lofts, a foreword by Peter Gordon, a glossary of key terms, and a thorough index.
From inside the book
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... Spenser's only explicit discussion of his classical sources in the Faerie Queene ( or any other poem ) reflects the standard Renaissance reading of the Homeric and Virgilian epics as works of moral instruction .
To infer the moral dispositions of a poet from the tone of sentiment which pervades his works , is sometimes a very ... diffusing the seductive charm of sentiment over passions and propensities at which rigid morality must frown .
... the comprehensive moral satirist . ... based on Satire III , was followed in 1749 by his The Vanity of Human Wishes , from Satire X. In both , the savagery of Juvenal is modified by Johnson's own grand and dignified moral tone .