November 29, 2006: Lewis on Good Poetry and the Proper Usage of Rhetoric - 0 Comments

"Music means not the noises it is nice to make, but the noises it is nice to hear. Good poetry means not the poetry men like composing, but the poetry men like to listen to or to read."

"First, as to Manipulation. I do not think (and no great civilization has ever thought) that the art of the retorician is necessarily vile. It is in itself noble, though of course, like most arts, it can be wickedly used. . . Both [Poetry and Rhetoric] do it by using language to control what already exists in our minds. . . It is honestly practised when the orator honestly believes that the thing which he calls the passions to support is reason, and usefully practised when this belief of his is in fact correct. It is mischievously practised when that which he summons the passions to aid is, in fact, unreason, and dishonestly practised when he himself knows it is unreason. The proper use is lawful and necessary because, as Aristotle points out, the intellect of itself 'moves nothing': the transition from thinking to doing, in nearly all men at nearly all moments, needs to be assisted by appropriate states of feeling."


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