[Milton-L] renaissance faculties psychology and literature

Butler, Todd Wayne butlert at wsu.edu
Tue Sep 1 12:15:49 EDT 2009


While the tendency is to assume that reason is the primary determinant
of analytical thought, I think you're right Greg in assuming that there
is more to it than that. In _De Anima_, for example, Aristotle allows
the imagination a key role in formulating thought, a role simply beyond
the production of images from raw sensory data. 

Though the discussion there is somewhat convoluted, Aristotle does
remark by way of summary that "[i]magination is also something different
from assertion and negation-for it is the combination of thoughts that
is true or false. What, then, distinguishes the primary thoughts from
being images? Is it not better to say that neither they nor the others
are images, but that they cannot occur without images?" (427b).

A small plug: faculty psychology, specifically the imagination and its
relationship to politics, is the focus of my book _Imagination and
Politics in Seventeenth-Century England_ (Ashgate 2008). There's a
chapter on Milton, though unlike Paul Stevens' work it focuses primarily
on the early works (A Maske, the prose) rather than Paradise Lost.

You are, of course, free to read whatever you like... ;-)

Todd Butler
Associate Professor and Buchanan Scholar
Vice Chair, Department of English
Washington State University
Pullman, WA  99164-5020
(509) 335-2639

-----Original Message-----
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
[mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Gregory
Machacek
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2009 7:07 AM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: [Milton-L] renaissance faculties psychology and literature

According to Renaissance faculties psychology (like that invoked by Adam
in
response to Eve's dream), what faculty or faculties would have been
involved in the *analysis* (not the production) of poetic artefacts?
What
faculty would Aristotle have been using, according to Renaissance
thought,
when he wrote the Poetics?  Just reason, as in any philosophical
undertaking?  Or was there some aesthetic sensibility sensibility
specifically?

Thanks for any help.

Greg Machacek
Professor of English
Marist College

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