Aristotle's Poetics


An analysis of Aristotle's "Poetics", this work attempts a sustained interpretation of the text, contending that it states a challenging theory of poetic art. It hints at a theory of mimetic art, and represents Aristotle's philosophical urge to work out a secularized understanding of Greek tragedy.

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An analysis of Aristotle's "Poetics", this work attempts a sustained interpretation of the text, contending that it states a challenging theory of poetic art. It hints at a theory of mimetic art, and represents Aristotle's philosophical urge to work out a secularized understanding of Greek tragedy.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
‘Here is the essential guide for the student of the brief and puzzling Poetics, whether reading the Poetics on its own account as an Aristotelian treatise, or as the earliest work on those problems, about tragedy especially, that are still discussed in literary theory.’

‘A splendid work of scholarship and analysis ... in Halliwell’s book, the Poetics has acquired a brilliant new interpretation.’

‘Stephen Halliwell’s Aristotle’s Poetics is, quite simply, the best book available on that difficult work. With a rare combination of literary subtlety and philosophical insight, Halliwell demonstrates convincingly that the Poetics must be read in the context of Aristotle’s ethical and social thought. Again and again, he shows how this approach enriches our understanding of the text. ... This is a work of fundamental importance for anyone pursuing the study of ancient literature and literary theory.’

Library Journal
This useful book, an extended study of the Poetics , treats such subjects as Aristotle's general aesthetic views; mimesis; pity, fear, and katharsis; recognition, reversal, and hamartia; tragic misfortune; the nontragic genres; and the historical influence of the work. Aristotle emerges as holding a deeply cognitivist view of poetry and as rejecting the attempt to judge art primarily by external (e.g., moral, political) criteria; his call for the relative autonomy of art, however, neither commits him to an aestheticist view nor prevents him from attributing to art a significant moral dimension. Halliwell's attempts to keep Plato in close view and to keep the Poetics within the context of Aristotle's philosophy as a whole are illuminating. For academic collections. Richard Hogan, Philosophy Dept., Southeastern Massachusetts Univ., N. Dartmouth
B. R. Rees
A work which must become essential reading no only for all serious students of the Poetics, including those who, like [this] reviewer, have dabbled in it from time to time, but also for those (the great majority) who have prudenty fought shy of it altogether.
Classical Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780715628584
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 10/30/1998
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Halliwell is Professor of Greek at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of The Poetics of Aristotle: Translation and Commentary, also published by BCP, and Greek Laughter: A Study of Cultural Psychology from Homer to Early Christianity.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to 1998 edition
I The Setting of the Poetics 1
II Aristotle's Aesthetics 1: Art and its Pleasure 42
III Aristotle's Aesthetics 2: Craft, Nature and Unity in Art 82
IV Mimesis 109
V Action and Character 138
VI Tragedy and the Emotions 168
VII Fallibility & Misfortune: The Secularisation of the Tragic 202
VIII The Chorus of Tragedy 238
IX Epic, Comedy and Other Genres 253
X Influence & Status: the Nachleben of the Poetics 286
App. 1 The Date of the Poetics 324
App. 2 The Poetics and Plato 331
App. 3 Drama in the Theatre: Aristotle on Spectacle (opsis) 337
App. 4 Aristotle on Language (lexis) 344
App. 5 Interpretations of katharsis 350
Bibliography 357
Index 365
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