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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In order for them to come alive , an imaginative recreation of them on the part of the reader has to take place . ... upon readers of those classics : for , although the mediation required will be slightly different for every reader and ...
( 31 ) Byron , Don Juan ( 1819–24 ) , I , 42–3 [ These stanzas express , in a humorous and characteristically Byronic way , observations which had been made by readers of the classics from St Augustine to Samuel Johnson . ] ...
This , now interpreted or misread as a lament for human sorrows in general ( instead of the specific sorrows of the Trojans , as previous generations of readers had understood the line , in context , to mean ) becomes the oftenest ...