Poetics

( 9 )

Overview

"What is poetry, how many kinds of it are there, and what are their specific effects?"

Aristotle's Poetics is the most influential book on poetry ever written. A founding text of European aesthetics and literary criticism, it has shaped much of our modern understanding of the creation and impact of imaginative writing, including poetry, drama, and fiction. This brief volume brims with Aristotle's timeless insights into such topics as the nature of tragedy and plot-a veritable gold mine for writers and anyone with...

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Poetics

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Overview

"What is poetry, how many kinds of it are there, and what are their specific effects?"

Aristotle's Poetics is the most influential book on poetry ever written. A founding text of European aesthetics and literary criticism, it has shaped much of our modern understanding of the creation and impact of imaginative writing, including poetry, drama, and fiction. This brief volume brims with Aristotle's timeless insights into such topics as the nature of tragedy and plot-a veritable gold mine for writers and anyone with a serious interest in literature.

Moreover, this volume boasts a marvelous new translation by our greatest living historian of philosophy, Anthony Kenny, who also provides an illuminating introduction to this classic work. Kenny sheds light on the philosophical underpinnings of Aristotle's literary criticism and he illuminates the ideas about poetry, drama, and tragedy that have influenced writers and dramatists ever since. Kenny also includes excerpts from key responses to Aristotle, ranging from Sir Philip Sidney's Apology for Poetry and Shelley's Defense of Poetry, to Dorothy L. Sayers' Aristotle on Detective Fiction.

The book also features helpful notes, a glossary of key terms, an index, a useful bibliography, and a chronology of Aristotle's life.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Editorial Reviews

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
Booknews
Pivoting on the argument that at its heart lies a philosophical urge to work out a secularized understanding of Greek tragedy, Halliwell (Greek, U. of St. Andrews, Scotland) offers a sustained interpretation of the . He assumes no knowledge of Greek. The 1986 edition published by Gerald Duckworth and Company is here reprinted with a new introduction. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
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
Charles E. Butterworth
Joe Sachs, known and respected for his excellent translations of Aristotle, deserves great praise for this new translation of Plato's Republic. Based on the latest definitive edition of the Greek text and guided by a sense that Greek in English need not read like an old, foreign tongue, Sachs' translation captures the flow of the conversation in an English that reads smoothly, even when the ideas expressed force one to pause and look again. Fluid, yet accurate, Sachs' translation allows the thoughtful reader deeper entry into this all-important book. The editorial guides and typographical signs to remind the reader of who has joined the argument most recently are all highly helpful and most welcome. I look forward to reading this with students. (Charles E. Butterworth, University of Maryland)
Sabetai Unguru
I find the Introduction extremely convincing, lucid, learned, fair to past scholarship, and truly illuminating about the meaning of tragedy in general and about the very specific acceptions of hamartia, katharsis, ekplêxis, and thauma, in the context of an appropriate understanding of the Poetics. Another remarkable feature is the dexterity and ease with which it draws on all the relevant parts of the Aristotelian corpus to shed light on troublesome textual passages in the Poetics. Finally, the style of the Introduction is straightforward, free of unnecessary jargon, direct, and economical, the best interpretation of the Poetics I ever read. (Sabetai Unguru, Tel Aviv University)
Jerry L. Thompson
The translations of Joe Sachs are a great gift to Greekless amateurs like me. He uses simple, unambiguous words joined into sentences that are often complex, as they must be to be accurate, but always clear (after sufficient attention has been paid). A stylist may find some awkwardness in the hyphenated compound words and the noun clauses he prefers to the polysyllabic Latinate words often found in English versions of Aristotle. But these blunt locutions — along with Sachs' excellent notes — manage to convey both the richness of meaning and the clarity of thought of their Greek antecedents. The resulting translation may strike some as awkward in style, but it will strike the careful reader who cares about what is translated as elegant (in the way mathematicians use that word). (Jerry L. Thompson, Author, Truth and Photography)
From the Publisher

I find the Introduction extremely convincing, lucid, learned, fair to past scholarship, and truly illuminating about the meaning of tragedy in general and about the very specific acceptions of hamartia, katharsis, ekplêxis, and thauma, in the context of an appropriate understanding of the Poetics. Another remarkable feature is the dexterity and ease with which it draws on all the relevant parts of the Aristotelian corpus to shed light on troublesome textual passages in the Poetics. Finally, the style of the Introduction is straightforward, free of unnecessary jargon, direct, and economical, the best interpretation of the Poetics I ever read.

- Sabetai Unguru, Tel Aviv University

“The translations of Joe Sachs are a great gift to Greekless amateurs like me. He uses simple, unambiguous words joined into sentences that are often complex, as they must be to be accurate, but always clear (after sufficient attention has been paid). A stylist may find some awkwardness in the hyphenated compound words and the noun clauses he prefers to the polysyllabic Latinate words often found in English versions of Aristotle. But these blunt locutions — along with Sachs’ excellent notes — manage to convey both the richness of meaning and the clarity of thought of their Greek antecedents. The resulting translation may strike some as awkward in style, but it will strike the careful reader who cares about what is translated as elegant (in the way mathematicians use that word).”

—Jerry L. Thompson, Author, Truth and Photography

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199608362
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/20/2013
  • Series: Oxford World's Classics Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 364,887
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir Anthony Kenny is a distinguished philosopher whose books include The Aristotelian Ethics (1978), Aristotle's Theory of the Will (1979), and Aristotle on the Perfect Life (1992). His most recent book is A New History of Western Philosophy (2010). For Oxford World's Classics he has translated Aristotle's Eudemian Ethics.

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Read an Excerpt


Chapter 1

About the poetic art itself and the forms of it, what specific capacity each has, and how one ought to put together stories if the making of them is going to hold together beautifully, and also how many and what sort of parts stories are made of, and likewise about as many other things as belong to the inquiry into poetic art, let us speak once we have first started, in accord with nature, from the things that come first.

Now epic poetry and the making of tragedy, and also comedy and dithyrambic poetry, as well as most flute-playing and lyre-playing, are all as a whole just exactly imitations, but they are different from one another in three ways, for they differ either by making their imitations in different things, by imitating different things, or by imitating differently and not in the same way. For just as some people who make images imitate many things by means of both colors and shapes (some through art and others through habituation), and others by means of the voice, so too with the arts mentioned, all of them make imitations in rhythm, speech, and harmony, and with these either separate or mixed. For example, both flute-playing and lyre-playing, and any other arts there happen to be that are of that sort in their capacity, such as the art of the Pan-pipes, use only harmony and rhythm, while the art of dancers uses rhythm itself apart from harmony (for they too, through the rhythms of their gestures, imitate states of character, feelings, and actions). But the art that uses bare words and the one that uses meters, and the latter either mixing meters with one another or using one particular kind, happen to be nameless up to now. For we have nothing to use as a name in common for the mimes of Sophron and Xenarchus and the Socratic dialogues, even if someone were to make the imitation with [iambic] trimeters or elegiac [couplets] or anything else of that sort. Instead, people connect the poetic making with the meter and name “elegiac poets,” or others “epic poets,” calling them poets not as a result of the imitation but as a result of the meter as what is common to them, for even when they bring out something medical or about nature in meter, people are accustomed to speak of them in that way. But nothing is common to Homer and Empedocles except the meter, and hence, while it is just to call the former a poet, the latter is more a student of nature than a poet. By the same token, even if someone were to make an imitation by mixing all the meters, the very way Chaeremon made the Centaur as a patchwork mixture of all the meters, one would have to call him too a poet. As for these things, then, let them be distinguished in this way. And there are some arts that use all the things mentioned—I mean, for instance, rhythm and melody and meter—as do the making of both dithyrambs and nomes, and both tragedy and comedy.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Note on the Texts and Translation
Select Bibliography
Chronology of Aristotle
Outline of the Poetics from Plato's Republic, Books II, III, and X
Aristotle's Poetics from Sir Philip Sidney's Apology for Poetry from P. B. Shelley's Defence of Poetry from Dorothy L. Sayers's Aristotle on Detective Fiction
Explanatory Notes
Note on Metre
Glossary of Key Terms
Index

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 7, 2014

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....! 

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....! 

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  • Posted July 6, 2014

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    Knoxx

    I gtg sorry byw

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    Tori

    What the heck? Z she walks in and out

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2001

    It's a must!

    Aristotle's Poetics is hailed as the first systematic critical theory in the world. For centuries and centuries, it has inspired writers, critics, and philosophers alike. Aristotle, the father of critics, as many would exalt him, sets the rules for many key literary genres such as Tragedy, Comedy, and Epic. Through comparing and contrasting these classical genres, Aristotle convincingly argues for the highness and greatness of tragedy, as the most mimetic literary genre. Thanks to Aristotle, we are introduced to such eternally important critical terms such as mimesis(imitation), muthos(plot), anagnorisis(discovery), peripeteia(reversal),hamartia(misjudgment), catharsis(purgation). In other words, Aristotle's Poetics is the bible for critics, playwrights, and fans of tragic literature.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 4, 2009

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    Posted March 17, 2010

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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    Posted February 22, 2010

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