Surreality Check

A Savage Writer's Journal

…since we have reverted to the subject of poetry, let this our defence serve to show the reasonableness of our former judgment in sending away out of our State an art having the tendencies which we have described; for reason constrained us. But that she may not impute to us any harshness or want of politeness, let us tell her that there is an ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry; of which there are many proofs, such as the saying of 'the yelping hound howling at her lord,' or of one 'mighty in the vain talk of fools,' and 'the mob of sages circumventing Zeus,' and the 'subtle thinkers who are beggars after all'; and there are innumerable other signs of ancient enmity between them. Notwithstanding this, let us assure our sweet friend and the sister arts of imitation, that if she will only prove her title to exist in a well-ordered State we shall be delighted to receive her--we are very conscious of her charms; but we may not on that account betray the truth. I dare say, Glaucon, that you are as much charmed by her as I am, especially when she appears in Homer?

Yes, indeed, I am greatly charmed.

Shall I propose, then, that she be allowed to return from exile, but upon this condition only--that she make a defence of herself in lyrical or some other metre?

Certainly.

And we may further grant to those of her defenders who are lovers of poetry and yet not poets the permission to speak in prose on her behalf: let them show not only that she is pleasant but also useful to States and to human life, and we will listen in a kindly spirit; for if this can be proved we shall surely be the gainers--I mean, if there is a use in poetry as well as a delight?

Certainly, he said, we shall be the gainers.

——Plato, The Republic (trans. Jowett)

Past Headquotes

Not a Webring includes many other writers' journals.

Temporarily Out to Lunch

Surreality Check will reappear in early September 2004, after my return from WorldCon. (You may keep your comments that "out to lunch" is the normal state of Surreality Check to yourselves!) A variety of circumstances are conspiring to limit the time I have available for Surreality Check before school is fully back in session this fall.

I18 (violence to sacred cows, harsh language, and adult sensibilities) The intellectually challenged are strongly cautioned.
You can also find me on The Rumor Mill in general, and especially in Ask Jarndyce, my topic on legal questions for writers.

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