Utile et Dulce

Utile et Dulce

Utile et Dulce :  The significance of the Horatian concept of “utile et dulce” to the development of literary criticism was the way people to rethink about literature. Horace believes that literature, especially poetry, should have great values, utile et dulce, useful and beautiful. It means both teaching and delighting the readers should also exist in poetry.

Utile et Dulce

Horace wrote in his Ars Poetica that poetry must be dulce et utile (pleasant and profitable) both enjoyable and instructive. Horace surely influenced by previous philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle in his ideas.

This concept in personally is attempting, since it makes people need to redefine the term of beautiful and useful. These terms may have different definitions for each person, so that we cannot generalise them. A beauty for a person may be plain for others, and in contrary. As well with usefulness, a person may call it useful but not to others. So that, in my opinion the standard of beauty and usefulness is not equal for each person.

There are four major periods of Greek literature:

  1. Pre classical,
  2. Classical,
  3. Hellenistic-Roman
  4. Byzantine

Of these the most significant works were produced during the pre classical and classical eras. All of them are influencing the literary thought both on Renaissance and Augustan literature and criticism. All philosophy is footnoted to Plato, which is a similar point can be made regarding Greek literature as a whole. So that Renaissance age was marked by an intense interest in the visible world and in the knowledge derived from concrete sensory experience. It turned away from the abstract speculations and interest in life after death that characterized the middle ages.

Although Christianity was not abandoned, the otherworldliness and monastic ideology of the middle ages were largely discarded. The focus during the Renaissance turned from abstract discussions of religious issues to the morality of human actions. Augustan Age was the period after the Restoration era to the death of Alexander Pope. The literature of this period conforming to Pope’s aesthetic principles is distinguished by its striving for harmony and precision, its urbanity, and its imitation of classical models such as Homer, Cicero, Virgil, and Horace.

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