quote of the week

In a political science dissertation for which I was on the committee, I came across the following quote from Aristotle’s Poetics. I freely confess to never having read this or virtually any other of the Classical canon, so I had not seen it before. I liked it, and reproduce it here – more comment, perhaps, later.

And since music happens to be one of the pleasures, and virtue is a matter of enjoying, loving, and hating in the right way, it is clear that nothing is more important than that one should learn to judge correctly and get into the habit of enjoying decent characters and noble actions. But rhythms and melodies contain the greatest likenesses of the true natures of anger, gentleness, courage, temperance, and their opposites, and of all the other components of character as well. The facts make this clear. For when we listen to such representations are souls are changed. But getting into the habit of being pained or pleased by likenesses is close to being in the same condition where the real things are concerned (1340a15-28).

Author: andrewperrin

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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