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Horace's Ars PoeticaFamily, Friendship, and the Art of Living$
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Jennifer Ferriss-Hill

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195025

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195025.001.0001

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Receiving the Ars Poetica

Receiving the Ars Poetica

(p.244) Epilogue Receiving the Ars Poetica
Horace's Ars Poetica

Jennifer Ferriss-Hill

Princeton University Press

This epilogue traces the themes and concerns of the previous chapters throughout the Ars Poetica's considerable reception history. If the Ars Poetica's poetic qualities have not always been clear to scholars of literature, they seem to have been more evident to the practicing writers who, inspired by Horace's poem, wrote artes poeticae of their own. Indeed, practicing poets have long discerned what many literary scholars have not: that the poem's value lies not so much in its stated contents as in its fine-spun internal unity; in its interest in human nature and the onward march of time; in the importance of criticism—both giving and receiving it—to the artistic process; and in the essential sameness of writing, of making art, and of living, loving, being, and even dying. The argument made in this study for reading the Ars Poetica as a literary achievement in its own right may therefore be viewed as a return to the complex, nuanced ways in which it was already read in the Middle Ages, through the sixteenth century, and into the twenty-first. The authors of the later works examined in this chapter read the Ars Poetica as exemplifying and instantiating the sort of artistry that it opaquely commands, and they reflected this in turn through their own verses.

Keywords:   Ars Poetica, Horace, practicing poets, literary scholars, poem, human nature, criticism, writing, artistry, artistic process

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