Inspiration and Technique

Ancient to Modern Views on Beauty and Art

by John Roe (Volume editor) Michele Stanco (Volume editor)
©2007 Conference proceedings 360 Pages


While Plato extols inspired poetry (as opposed to poetry produced by means of technique), Aristotle conceives of poetry only in terms of technê. Underlying the opposition between inspiration and technique are two different approaches to ‘form’: inspiration is concerned with the impression of ideas or forms within the poet’s psyche (the author’s forma mentis), whereas technique deals with the transposition of the artist’s idea into the material form of the work (the forma operis). This dual view of form, and of its complex relation to matter, may be said to lie at the basis of a dual approach to aesthetic issues – a psychological and a textual one. Taking their cue from this opposition, the essays gathered here explore some of the most momentous phases in the history of aesthetics, from Graeco-Roman philosophy and oratory to Renaissance poetry and literary criticism, from neoclassical poetics to Romantic and Victorian views on inspired visions, to recent issues in neuroaesthetics, philosophy of art and literary linguistics. In so doing, they collectively point to the irremediable and continuing dualism of a critical tradition that has alternately emphasized the ideal elements of beauty and the material constituents of art.


ISBN (Softcover)
Idea of Poetry Creation Ästhetik Aufsatzsammlung Aristotle Canon constraint Aesthetic form
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. 360 pp.

Biographical notes

John Roe (Volume editor) Michele Stanco (Volume editor)

The Editors: John Roe is Reader in English and Related Literature at the University of York (UK). His interests are Shakespeare and Italian Renaissance influence, particularly Petrarch and Machiavelli on whom he has written. He has also produced an edition of the poems of Shakespeare and is currently writing a short monograph on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Michele Stanco is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Naples, ‘Federico II’ (Italy). His publications are mainly on Renaissance literature and culture – more particularly on Shakespeare, dramatic genres, the history play, the sonnet sequence, George Puttenham, Elizabethan criticism and aesthetics. He is currently working on the ‘reformation’ of the self in the Renaissance as related to the classical notion of ‘form’.


Title: Inspiration and Technique