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Why does poetry need a defense? Bryce Martinson David Oh Katrin Olzak Yusuke Sano Tyler Weirauch.

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Presentation on theme: "Why does poetry need a defense? Bryce Martinson David Oh Katrin Olzak Yusuke Sano Tyler Weirauch."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why does poetry need a defense? Bryce Martinson David Oh Katrin Olzak Yusuke Sano Tyler Weirauch

2 What is censorship? Censorship is the editing, removing, or otherwise changing speech and other forms of human expression. 'Censor' derives from the Latin censere, meaning to tax or rate. Five main types of censorship: moral, military, political, religious, and corporate. The enforcement of censorship after the invention of printing.

3 Beginning of censorship The creation of the Office of Censor in Roman Republic in 443 BC Plato’s idea about the position of literature in The Republic: “The poet shall compose nothing contrary to the ideas of the lawful, just, or beautiful or good, which are allowed in the State; nor shall he be permitted to show his compositions to any private individual, until he shall have shown them to the appointed censors and the guardians of the law, and they are satisfied with them.” The banishment of poet Ovid from Rome after publishing Ars Amatoria (“The Art of Love”) in 17 AD

4 Why did Plato censor poetry? The critical view of poetry and art: just examples of mimesis (imitation) Contempt toward Gods seen in Iliad and the Odyssey Bad influence on children

5 Modern Day Censorship The FCC's indecency rules define indecent speech as "language that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory activities or organs.“ Federal Communications Commission fined Clear Channel Communications $27,500 last year for each of eighteen incidents of "indecent material"

6 FCC Guidelines Obscene material Broadcast restrictions Profane restrictions Enforcement procedure

7 Timeline 1953- 6 counties in SC outlaw jukebox near church 1965- Cleveland mayor bans rock music after Rolling stones performance 1970- Movement to Restore Democracy calls for banning rock music 1985- PMRC begins the PA sticker on Sept. 19 th 1991- Wal-Mart won't sell ‘stickered’ albums 2001- FTC calls for enforcement on ‘stickered’ albums

8 Effect on authors (past) Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder 1530, Wyatt to his son “thousand dangers and hazards, enmities, hatreds, prisonments, despites, and indignations”. Aftermath – came close to execution in 1536 when he was locked up in the Tower of London under the accusation of having committed adultery with the Queen because of his poem ‘Who list his wealth and ease retain’. Almost none of his works were published during his lifetime

9 Issues of censorship (past) Artist rights? What artist rights? Many poets or illustrators could not even publish their work because ‘some people’ would get really mad.

10 Effects on authors (present) Eminem His second album Marshall Mather’s LP was considered as ‘the most offensive recording ever recorded’ by GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) due to homophobic and misogynistic lyrics. While album wasn’t officially censored by media, many organizations demanded to boycott his album. ‘Boycotting’ only fueled public to buy his album just to hear how ‘offensive’ it actually was. The result, Eminem sold 1.7 million copies in first week.

11 Issues of censorship (present) Reasons behind censorship hasn’t changed much from days of Plato. However, censoring Artists’ works have been enforced voluntarily by media, public businesses and the government themselves. – MTV: Jay-Z’s ‘99 Problems’ and Neil Young’s ‘This Note’s For You’ – Laura Bush at Poetry and the American voice conference

12 The Role of Poetry in Medieval Society Christianity Sacred book -Despite being written in Latin, there were many volumes of commentary relating to the bible Poetry offered a way to impart the biblical teachings Examples of Christian values like Charity in Piers Plowman


14 Status -Sonnets: Men of certain standing were expected to write sonnets (Wyatt, Howard) -Upper class and educated people “Bureaucrats and household clerks, lawyers and merchants became increasingly dependent upon written records and written instruments; even those who had no immediate practical need to do so began to take more interest in books” -Medieval Writers and Their Work

15 Audience -Literary works in the early middle ages were performed, much like musical scores of today -Even if one was reading by themselves, they often read aloud. -The book was to the people of the middle ages what a movie is to us, it drew people together to have an experience -Audiences changed as literature changed

16 Morality - Examples of exemplary people like the parson in the General Prologue -He was devoted to his work and didn’t wish for worldly things, but simply wanted to stay and serve his church. He was also contrasted against the other pilgrims who are not morally rigorous.

17 Court Poetry - Court poetry often espoused values directly opposed to those of the Church, like courtly love - Sir Gawain and The Green Knight -Court poetry was made to entertain noble patrons -Canterbury tales -Conflict between moral poetry and poetry for entertainment

18 Sir Philip Sydney “The Defense of Poesy” Probably written around 1579, but not published until 1595 One of the first written works of literary criticism in English literature. Written after attacks against literature published in a book by Stephen Gosson

19 “The School of Abuse” Written by Stephen Gosson, published in 1579 Charged literature as corrupt and immoral Gosson dedicated the book to Sidney....we who have both sense, reason, wit and understanding are ever overlashing, passing our bounds, going beyond our limits, never keeping ourselves within compass nor once looking after the place from which we came...Let us but shut our eyes to poets, pipers, and players, pull our feet back from resort to theaters, and turn away from the be- holding of vanity greatest storm of abuse will be overblown.

20 What was the Defense of Poesy? Sidney defends poetry against its attackers and in the process, greatly exalts the role of the poet, the freedom of the imagination and the moral value of fiction. Poetry, as defined by Sidney, contains all imaginative literature.

21 Outline of the Defense 1. Poetry to be defended as it has come under attack 2. Poetry has been man’s first source of inspiration 3. All other subjects follow nature, but poetry essentially creates its own nature. 4. The poet as a creator. 5. Poetry defined. 6. Poetry has a moral purpose. 7. Superiority of poetry over history and philosophy. 8. More Superiority 9. The poet moves men.

22 Style of Writing His arguments, in and of themselves, are not particularly strong. It is his writing style that makes us feel like we should believe him. One Writer says that we believe him, paradoxically, because he only partly believes himself.

23 Why does this matter? Poetry not a noble profession at this point The role of the poet was suspect What Sidney’s work was trying to do was redefine poetry in a way that it was acceptable for him to pursue it. Sidney’s approach to censorship is through his use of rhetorical devices.

24 “Poetry, in a general sense, may be defined to be “the expression of the imagination”: and poetry is connate with the origin of man.” -Percy Bysshe Shelley On A Defense of Poetry

25 Questions  Is poetry truly being appreciated as a ‘literature’?  How have views of censorship changed over the times? Have censorship changed into a marketing tool?

26 Bibliography Berry, Edward. "The poet as warrior in Sidney's Defence of Poetry." Studies in English Literature 29(1989): 21-34. Griswold, Charles. “Plato on Rhetoric and Poetry,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 23 November 2006. Naddaff, Ramona. Exiling the poets: the production of censorship in Plato’s Republic Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. Robertson, Jean. "Philip Sidney." In The Spenser Encyclopedia. eds. A.C. Hamilton et al. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990. Shelley, Percy Bysshe. “A Defence of Poetry”. English Essays: Sidney to Macaulay. Vol. XXVII. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909–14;, 2001. “Sir Philip Sidney."Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8 th ed. 2006. “Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder”. Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8 th ed. 2006 Wikipedia. 23 November 2006. Wikipedia. 24 November 2006. FCC regulations. Federal Communications Commission Music Censorship of America. Kate D'Imperio - © 2002 Pagewise

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