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songs of the maniacs
Posted by: glenda (
Date: April 26, 2004 07:45PM

"Plato said: 'He who approaches the temple of the Muses without inspiration in the belief that craftsmanship alone suffices will remain a bungler and his presumptuous poetry will be obscured by the songs of the maniacs.' "

I ran across this quote in the novel DIARY by Chuck Palahniuk. I wondered who the "maniacs" are. Must a poet suffer disease or manic depression or tragedy, etc. for his "songs" to be inspired and remembered?

Re: songs of the maniacs
Posted by: lg (
Date: April 27, 2004 12:55AM

Glenda, I'm not sure to whom Plato referred with the term. But, here's one man's opinion:

My translation of the above:

"Either know the form and stucture of the artistry that is poetry, or you will be compared to those lunatics who rant and rave, and call that poetry."


Post Edited (04-26-04 23:59)

Re: songs of the maniacs
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: April 27, 2004 10:07AM

Sounds different to me. Craftmanship (form and structure) alone will NOT suffice. One needs inspiration as well. Sadly, he does not mention how inspiration is to be obtained. Some swear two fingers of brandy is a nice invitation to the muse. Others prefer laudanum, sure.

Re: songs of the maniacs
Posted by: glenda (
Date: April 27, 2004 11:23AM

One of the themes of the novel ( I wouldn't recommed it) is that suffering opens doors to inspiration. Several famous painters are used as examples. It got me thinking (painful at first) about famous writers, especially poets.

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