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By Harry Blamires (auth.)
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Extra info for A History of Literary Criticism
There was unceasing cosmic conflict between the powers of light and the powers of darkness. It was against such a pessimistic dualism that Plotinus reacted in formulating the doctrine which projected evil in terms of negation of the ultimate reality. St Augustine was the thinker who above all brought this kind of reasoning to bear on the Christian account of the human situation since the Fall. Augustine wrote at a time when civilisation was in a state of decay and collapse. The new Christian church was at war with paganism.
This was, of course, to be the pattern of change in other European countries too. Currents of new vitality gave an impulse to cultural productivity and development just when a source of fresh inspiration was being tapped in the rediscovery of the classics. Other currents of influence were brought to bear on this change in the cultural scene which we call the Renaissance. The rejection of the mediaeval synthesis involved puncturing the fabric of thought and practice which had tried to centre all human activity in the divine scheme of creation and redemption, and had made the future life of heavenly bliss the focus of obedient moral effort, and damnation the penalty for apostasy and disobedience.
The middle style has 'a minimum of muscle' and 'a maximum of sweetness'. 4 It is 'fuller than our concise type, more restrained than the ornate and copious style'. Stylistic ornaments are used to brighten the text, but the style 'flows gently and quietly'. The grand style is 'full, copious, weighty, and ornate'. 5 By its splendour and fullness it touches the emotions and influences opinions. But the exponent of the grand style, if he is not also master of the quieter, more restrained styles, will make a fool of himself.
A History of Literary Criticism by Harry Blamires (auth.)