Talent, Craft, and Ecstasy: Poetic Forces in Horace and Plato

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Classical Studies



Publication Title

Enthousiasmos: Essays in Ancient Philosophy, History, and Literature, Festschrift for Eckart Schütrumpf on his 80th Birthday


When Horace asks, near the end of the Ars Poetica, whether nature or art is the source of literary success, he formulates the question in such a way that is almost bound to give an unsatisfactory answer (Horace AP 408-411):

Natura fieret laudabile carmen an arte
quaesitum est. ego nec studium sine divite vena,
nec rude quid prosit video ingenium: alterius sic
altera poscit opem res et coniurat amice.

It has been asked: does a poem become praiseworthy through art or na-
ture? I do not see what profit there is either in study without a rich
vein [of talent] or in uncultivated ability: each one demands the aid of
the other, and they band together as friends.

The answer, an apparently uncritical acceptance of the "bland Peripatetic compromise" between φύσις and τέχνη, seems almost a purposeful anticlimax that raises more questions than it settles.


For more information on the published version, visit beck-shop.de's Website.

Full text currently unavailable.