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On the Democritean concept of poetic inspiration

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Title: On the Democritean concept of poetic inspiration
Author(s): Wash, Leon
Advisor(s): Sanders, Kirk R.; Augoustakis, Antonios
Department / Program: Classics
Discipline: Classics
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Democritus enthousiasmos
Abstract: The concept of poetic inspiration as a species of madness has usually been traced back to Democritus of Abdera, who is believed to have been the first to use the vocabulary of ecstatic possession for the characteristic activity of the talented poet, in implicit contrast with that of the philosopher. This essay reconsiders the Democritean fragments on poets and poetry in light of those pertaining to divinity, mind, and perception, concluding that later suppositions about the irrational inspiration of poets cannot be applied to Democritus, who seems instead to have looked to the inspired poet as a paradigm for his own conception of the optimally perceptive mind.
Issue Date: 2012-05-22
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Leon Wash
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-05-22
Date Deposited: 2012-05

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