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apology

apology [Gr., = defense], literary work that defends, justifies, or clarifies an author's ideas or point of view. Unlike the ordinary use of the word, the literary use neither implies that wrong has been done nor expresses regret. The most famous ancient example, Plato's Apology (3d cent. B.C.), presents Socrates' defense of himself at his trial before the Athenian government. Sir Philip Sidney's Apologie for Poetrie and Defense of Poesie (both: 1580), which examine the art of poetry and its condition in England, apparently were written to justify the poets' craft after it had been attacked by critics. A third famous example, Cardinal Newman's spiritual autobiography Apologia pro Vita sua (1864), was written to clarify the Cardinal's views after they had been misrepresented in an essay by Charles Kingsley.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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