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Poetics (Penguin Classics) Paperback – March 1, 1997

4.5 out of 5 stars 523 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Aristotle's Poetics is one of the most powerful, perceptive and influential works of criticism in Western literary history. A penetrating, near-contemporary account of Greek tragedy, it demonstrates how the elements of plot, character and spectacle combine to produce 'pity and fear' - and why we derive pleasure from this apparently painful process. It introduces the crucial concepts of mimesis ('imitation'), hamartia ('error') and katharsis, which have informed serious thinking about drama ever since. It examines the mythological heroes, idealized yet true to life, whom Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides brought on to the stage. And it explains how the most effective plays rely on complication and resolution, recognitions and reversals. Essential reading for all students of Greek literature and of the many Renaissance and post-Renaissance writers who consciously adopted Aristotle as a model, the Poetics is equally stimulating for anyone interested in theatre today.

About the Author

Aristotle was born in 384BC. For twenty years he studied at Athens at the Academy of Plato, on whose death in 347 he left, and some time later became tutor to Alexander the Great. On Alexander's succession to the throne of Macedonia in 336, Aristotle returned to Athens and established his school and research institute, the Lyceum. After Alexander's death he was driven out of Athens and fled to Chalcis in Euboea where he died in 322. His writings profoundly affected the whole course of ancient and medieval philosophy.

Malcolm Heath has been Reader in Greek Language and Literature at Leeds University since 1991.
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Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 0140446362
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (March 1, 1997)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 144 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780140446364
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0140446364
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 18 years and up
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 1410L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 3.95 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7.92 x 5.04 x 0.36 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 523 ratings

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Aristotle (/ˈærɪˌstɒtəl/; Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης [aristotélɛːs], Aristotélēs; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and scientist born in the city of Stagira, Chalkidice, on the northern periphery of Classical Greece. His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, whereafter Proxenus of Atarneus became his guardian. At eighteen, he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (c. 347 BC). His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government – and constitute the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great starting from 343 BC. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "Aristotle was the first genuine scientist in history ... [and] every scientist is in his debt."

Teaching Alexander the Great gave Aristotle many opportunities and an abundance of supplies. He established a library in the Lyceum which aided in the production of many of his hundreds of books. The fact that Aristotle was a pupil of Plato contributed to his former views of Platonism, but, following Plato's death, Aristotle immersed himself in empirical studies and shifted from Platonism to empiricism. He believed all peoples' concepts and all of their knowledge was ultimately based on perception. Aristotle's views on natural sciences represent the groundwork underlying many of his works.

Aristotle's views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship. Their influence extended into the Renaissance and were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics. Some of Aristotle's zoological observations, such as on the hectocotyl (reproductive) arm of the octopus, were not confirmed or refuted until the 19th century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into modern formal logic.

In metaphysics, Aristotelianism profoundly influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as "The First Teacher" (Arabic: المعلم الأول‎).

His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle's philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues – Cicero described his literary style as "a river of gold" – it is thought that only around a third of his original output has survived.

Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Copy of Lysippus (Jastrow (2006)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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