I had rather be esteemed a foolish and dull writer, while my faults please myself, or at least escape my notice, than be wise and smart for it. (2.II: To Julius Florus)
When I first started this overlong series on Horace, I said that one of the main draws of reading ancient literature is to see how literature first developed as an art. You can almost see the mechanics of Greek, Latin, Old English, Middle English, all developing not only their own cultural tastes and literary styles, but the very evolution of storytelling and writing conventions that we take for granted today. Philosophers like Aristotle question “What is poetry, what makes an epic and epic, or constitutes a love song?” and even though these questions may be old hat now to our world, saturated with books and literary criticism, it’s important to remember that these questions weren’t always old hat. Someone, after all, had to be the first to question and characterize the different types of literature, to divide the prose from the poetry.