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‘The plot is the source and the soul of tragedy’ In his near-contemporary account of Greek tragedy, Aristotle examines the dramatic elements of plot, character, language and spectacle that combine to produce pity and fear in the audience, and asks why we derive pleasure from this apparently painful process. Taking examples from the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripide ‘The plot is the source and the soul of tragedy’ In his near-contemporary account of Greek tragedy, Aristotle examines the dramatic elements of plot, character, language and spectacle that combine to produce pity and fear in the audience, and asks why we derive pleasure from this apparently painful process. Taking examples from the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, The Poetics introduces into literary criticism such central concepts as mimesis (‘imitation’), hamartia (‘error’), and katharsis (‘purification’). Aristotle explains how the most effective tragedies rely on complication and resolution, recognition and reversals, centring on characters of heroic stature, idealized yet true to life. One of the most powerful, perceptive and influential works of criticism in Western literary history, the Poetics has informed serious thinking about drama ever since. Malcolm Heath’s lucid English translation makes the Poetics fully accessible to the modern reader. It is accompanied by an extended introduction, which discusses the key concepts in detail and includes suggestions for further reading.


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‘The plot is the source and the soul of tragedy’ In his near-contemporary account of Greek tragedy, Aristotle examines the dramatic elements of plot, character, language and spectacle that combine to produce pity and fear in the audience, and asks why we derive pleasure from this apparently painful process. Taking examples from the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripide ‘The plot is the source and the soul of tragedy’ In his near-contemporary account of Greek tragedy, Aristotle examines the dramatic elements of plot, character, language and spectacle that combine to produce pity and fear in the audience, and asks why we derive pleasure from this apparently painful process. Taking examples from the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, The Poetics introduces into literary criticism such central concepts as mimesis (‘imitation’), hamartia (‘error’), and katharsis (‘purification’). Aristotle explains how the most effective tragedies rely on complication and resolution, recognition and reversals, centring on characters of heroic stature, idealized yet true to life. One of the most powerful, perceptive and influential works of criticism in Western literary history, the Poetics has informed serious thinking about drama ever since. Malcolm Heath’s lucid English translation makes the Poetics fully accessible to the modern reader. It is accompanied by an extended introduction, which discusses the key concepts in detail and includes suggestions for further reading.

30 review for On the Art of Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    During the golden age of ancient Greece bards roamed the countryside mesmerizing crowds by reciting the epics of Homer. Thousands of men and women gathered and were moved to tears by tragedies performed outside in amphitheaters during sacred festivals. Such an amazingly powerful and profound experience for an entire population. What was going on here; why were people so deeply affected? Well, one of the sharpest, most analytic minds in the history of the West set himself the task of answering ju During the golden age of ancient Greece bards roamed the countryside mesmerizing crowds by reciting the epics of Homer. Thousands of men and women gathered and were moved to tears by tragedies performed outside in amphitheaters during sacred festivals. Such an amazingly powerful and profound experience for an entire population. What was going on here; why were people so deeply affected? Well, one of the sharpest, most analytic minds in the history of the West set himself the task of answering just this question - his name was Aristotle. Indeed, Aristotle's Poetics is one of the greatest philosophical works ever written. For over two thousand years, philosophers, scholars and thinkers have been pouring over each phrase and sentence of the master's words as if they were nuggets of gold. There are enough commentaries to fill several thick volumes in a university library. Quite something since the entire Poetics is a mere twenty pages. But what coverage! To list several: plot, character, language and two concepts supercharged with meaning: mimesis (imitation) and catharsis (inspiring pity or fear). Of course, in our contemporary world we don't listen to bards recite epics or go to amphitheaters to watch tragedies, but we have abundant experience of these dramatic elements since we, among other things, read novels and watch films. So, to provide a taste of Aristotle's work, I offer my modest comments along with quotes from the text. Please take this as an invitation to explore the Poetics on your own. Below is a link to a fine translation and a second link to an extraordinarily clear, brief, easy-to follow commentary. "Poetry in general seems to have sprung from two causes, each of them lying deep in our nature. First, the instinct of imitation is implanted in man from childhood, one difference between him and other animals being that he is the most imitative of living creatures, and through imitation learns his earliest lessons; and no less universal is the pleasure felt in things imitated. . . . to learn gives the liveliest pleasure, not only to philosophers but to men in general" ---------- Ah, pleasure! And pleasure in learning about life through imitation/fiction. Even if the story involves a Siberian prison camp or an insane chase of a white whale, there is a kind of pleasure in identifying with a character and living through the character's plight. Our humanness is enriched. "Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude." ---------- The Maltese Falcon begins with very serious action: a murder. And the story is complete since at the end the case is solved and the criminals answer for their crimes. How many novels and films follow this formula? Round to the nearest million. "Now as tragic imitation implies persons acting, it necessarily follows in the first place, that Spectacular equipment will be a part of Tragedy." ---------- Even back in ancient Greece, Aristotle acknowledge how special effects can really juice the action. "The most powerful elements of emotional interest in Tragedy- Peripeteia or Reversal of the Situation, and Recognition scenes- are parts of the plot." ---------- I don't know about you, but I recall with the film Gone Girl my interest would ratchet up a few notches with every reversal and recognition. I can just imagine Gillian Flynn pouring over her Aristotle. "The greater the length, the more beautiful will the piece be by reason of its size, provided that the whole be perspicuous." ---------- When I go to a three hour movie or pick up a nine hundred page novel, my first thought: this had better be good. And when it is good, a great pay-off for time spent. "Tragedy is an imitation not only of a complete action, but of events inspiring fear or pity." ---------- Admit it, we remember most those times when we are emotionally wrenched. Poetics, on line: http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poe... Commentary: http://www.english.hawaii.edu/critica...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bookdragon Sean

    It’s odd that the most ancient essay on literary criticism is one of the easiest to understand. It is so accessible. If you compare this to works by Nietzsche, Hegel and Freud the extremities of this can easily be seen. Aristotle explains his theory in the most basic language possible with no artful language that distances the reader from it. It is completely comprehensive and virtually impossible not to understand. Aristotle was an advocate of presenting his arguments in the most simplest of la It’s odd that the most ancient essay on literary criticism is one of the easiest to understand. It is so accessible. If you compare this to works by Nietzsche, Hegel and Freud the extremities of this can easily be seen. Aristotle explains his theory in the most basic language possible with no artful language that distances the reader from it. It is completely comprehensive and virtually impossible not to understand. Aristotle was an advocate of presenting his arguments in the most simplest of languages. And I thank him for it. Without this book I don’t think I would have been able to fully comprehend exactly what a Tragedy is or how they work, and I most certainly wouldn’t have been able to pass my Tragedy module of my degree. The Poetics is essentially a guide, or rulebook, for what makes the perfect tragic play. Aristotle argues, well teaches us, that it is achieved through a Cathartic moment that arouses pity and fear at the same time. This occurs only if the plot is sufficiently complex, which brings forth the tragic action. The plot’s complexity should be achieved through the use of recognition, a reversal and heaps of suffering for everybody. The reversal is usually something like the revenger becoming the revenged and this can be achieved through recognition. The recognition is the true knowledge acquired about one’s circumstance, which will always bring about suffering for the tragic character. In addition, the tragic characters should have a hamartia, which is to say they should have a tragic flaw. This could be something like extreme loyalty or ignorance. If you believe the Hegel model of tragedy then this is also the thing that makes the character “better than ourselves.” The best illustration of a hamartia, and the one Aristotle uses, is Oedipus. His lack of knowledge causes him to murder his farther and marry his mother, but at the same time leads him to become a mighty King. This is a work that every literature student is encouraged to read, and there’s a reason for it. Aristotle’s theory enlightens the reader to the devices behind tragic art. Once you’ve read this you’ll never be able to read a Tragedy again without this in mind; it forms almost a mental checklist in your head.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    If you want to learn about tragedy--or narrative in general--this is still the best place to start.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    This is perhaps my favourite philosopher of the Ancient world chatting about literary criticism – it doesn’t really get too much better than this. Plato, of course, wanted to banish all of the artists from his ideal republic. He wanted to do this because the world we live in is a poor copy of the ‘real’ world and so art is but a copy of a copy. Rather than bring us closer to the truth, Plato believed that art took us further away. It can’t have been easy for Aristotle, Plato’s student, to disagre This is perhaps my favourite philosopher of the Ancient world chatting about literary criticism – it doesn’t really get too much better than this. Plato, of course, wanted to banish all of the artists from his ideal republic. He wanted to do this because the world we live in is a poor copy of the ‘real’ world and so art is but a copy of a copy. Rather than bring us closer to the truth, Plato believed that art took us further away. It can’t have been easy for Aristotle, Plato’s student, to disagree with the views of the master – but disagree he clearly did. He begins this by agreeing with Plato that art is imitation of the world, but rather than this being a bad thing, he says that the advantage of art is that it cuts out the dross of existence and concentrates what is important. By doing this art allows us to look beyond the particulars of our everyday existence and see the universals. The lessons we learn from art are thereby clearer and easier to assimilate. Life is always lived in the particular, but art, to Aristotle, allows us to see deeper truths because it moves us towards universals. Characters may have individual names, but we find it harder to distance ourselves from characters in fiction than we are able to do with characters in history. It would be hard to discuss this book without mentioning catharsis. It is a Greek word meaning purgative, and to Aristotle the appeal of tragedies was that they act like a purgative on our emotions. It is a fascinating idea and one that I think still holds. It would be otherwise hard to see why we enjoy tragedies. The notion that ‘there but for the grace of God’ and the recognition that bad things happen even to the best of men are ideas that do have a cathartic effect on our emotions. Shit happens, but it happens to the best of us as well as to the worst of us. There is always something nice about watching Aristotle slice up the world – he is a remarkably logical person and someone who is able to not only divide the world into its logical components, but to then say incredibly interesting things about these slices. I first read this twenty years ago, it is well worth reading and re-reading.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    This is the best commentary I could find on The Poetics. Bywater's is a much better translation and immensely readable, except for the places where he employs the Greek without transliteration. A good strategy could be to keep to Bywater for a first read, and then use Whalley's idiosyncratic and 'deliberately clumsy' translation while studying his notes. We can even supplement it with the Lucas notes. The best essay length criticism can be had from Lucas and Else, both of which are referred to of This is the best commentary I could find on The Poetics. Bywater's is a much better translation and immensely readable, except for the places where he employs the Greek without transliteration. A good strategy could be to keep to Bywater for a first read, and then use Whalley's idiosyncratic and 'deliberately clumsy' translation while studying his notes. We can even supplement it with the Lucas notes. The best essay length criticism can be had from Lucas and Else, both of which are referred to often by Whalley. I am planning to read at least one of them soon. Whalley's comparisons with Coleridge is particularly useful if the reader is interested in learning to think about how Aristotle's percepts can be made to fit modern literary works. Also his approach is no to treat every word A. uses as a technical term, which is an unfortunate tendency of most academic works. So we usually end up talking very particularly about terms which Aristotle probably wanted to give a wider ambit to. This is when it becomes easy to lapse into thinking that Aristotle is too formalistic and hence dismissing him. That would be poor form for a student.

  6. 5 out of 5

    peiman-mir5 rezakhani

    دوستانِ گرانقدر، این کتابِ کهن، از 26 بخشِ گوناگون تشکیل شده است که در هر بخش، ارسطو به توضیح و شرحِ انواعِ شعر و داستان سرایی در آن دوران پرداخته است به انتخاب در زیر بخش هایی از این کتاب را برایِ شما ادب دوستانِ گرامی مینویسم --------------------------------------------- شکی نیست که اثرِ شاعر از آن چیزی که اتفاق افتاده است، بحث نمیکند.. بلکه از آن چیزی سخن میگوید که وقوعِ آن بر حسبِ ضرورت یا حقیقت نمایی، امکان دارد... یعنی فرقِ شاعر و مورخ در این نیست که اولی گفته اش منظوم باشد و دومی منثور.. بلک ‎دوستانِ گرانقدر، این کتابِ کهن، از 26 بخشِ گوناگون تشکیل شده است که در هر بخش، ارسطو به توضیح و شرحِ انواعِ شعر و داستان سرایی در آن دوران پرداخته است ‎به انتخاب در زیر بخش هایی از این کتاب را برایِ شما ادب دوستانِ گرامی مینویسم --------------------------------------------- ‎شکی نیست که اثرِ شاعر از آن چیزی که اتفاق افتاده است، بحث نمیکند.. بلکه از آن چیزی سخن میگوید که وقوعِ آن بر حسبِ ضرورت یا حقیقت نمایی، امکان دارد... یعنی فرقِ شاعر و مورخ در این نیست که اولی گفته اش منظوم باشد و دومی منثور.. بلکه فرقِ اصلی آنها این است که مورخ از آنچه اتفاق افتاده است بحث میکند و شاعر از آنچه میتوانست اتفاق بیفتد، سخن میگوید... شعر پیوسته از کلیات بحث میکند و تاریخ از جزئیات سخن میگوید.. کلّی آن چیزی است که هرکسی مطابقِ مشخصاتِ روانِ خود و بر حسبِ ضروریات یا حقیقت نمایی میتواند آن را بگوید و یا انجام دهد.. شعر بر رویِ این زمینه، نامی خاص میگذارد.. و حالتِ جزئیِ آن چیزی است که مثلاً " آلکیبیاد" انجام داده است، یا نسبت به او اعمال کرده اند *************************** ‎تفاوتِ مردم، همه در نیکوکاری و بدکاری است.. ولی کسانی را که شاعران وصف میکنند، یا از حیثِ سیرت، آنها را برتر از آنچه هستند، توصیف میکنند، یا فروتر از آنچه هستند و یا آنها را به حدِ میانه وصف میکنند و در این باب، شاعران همچون نقاشها هستند و این موارد است که مثلاً تراژدی را از کمدی جدا میسازد *************************** ‎وحدتِ موضوع به هیچ وجه با انتخابِ یک تن به عنوانِ قهرمانِ داستان به وجود نمی آید، زیرا در زندگیِ یک شخص، ممکن است چندین حادثهٔ گوناگون روی دهد.. از سویِ دیگر، افسانه فقط باید یک حادثه و موضوعِ کامل را بیان کند.. همهٔ قسمتهایِ این موضوع آنچنان باید در کنارِ یکدیگر چیده شوند و چنان وحدتی تشکیل دهد که کوچکترین قسمتی از آن را نتوان تغییر داد و یا حذف کرد، زیرا آن مضمونی که هم بتوان در مطلبی وارد کرد و هم بدونِ لطمه خوردن به مطلب از آن حذف کرد، جزوِ آن مطلب نیست *************************** ‎تراژدی عبارت است از تقلیدِ یک حادثهٔ جدی و کامل و دارایِ وسعتِ معین، با بیانی زیبا که زیباییِ آن در تمامِ بخشها به یک اندازه باشد و دارایِ شکلِ نمایش بوده و به صورتِ داستان و حکایت بیان نشود و با استفاده از وحشت و ترحم، عواطفِ مردم را پاک سازد *************************** ‎تراژدی میکوشد تا جایی که امکان دارد، خود را در یک شبانه روز محصور کند و یا حداقل از این حدود تجاوز نکند *************************** ‎قهرمانِ تراژدی نباید جنایتکار باشد، درضمن لازم نیست بسیار پرهیزکار و درستکار باشد.. باید از خوشبختی به تیره روزی افتاده باشد، ولی نه بر اثرِ جنایت، بلکه در نتیجهٔ یک اشتباه باید ایجادِ ترس و ترحم کند... قهرمانِ تراژدی باید با اشخاصی که قطبِ مقابلِ او را در تراژدی تشکیل میدهند، رابطهٔ خانوادگی و یا احساسی، داشته باشد *************************** ‎سبکِ کمدی، تقلیدی از گفتار و رفتارِ زشت است.. نه اینکه توصیف و تقلید از بدترین صفاتِ انسان باشد، بلکه فقط تقلید و توصیفِ اعمال و اخلاقِ شرم آوری است که موجبِ ریشخندِ دیگران میشود.. آنچه موجبِ ریشخند میشود، امری است که در آن عیب و زشتی میباشد، ولی آزار و گزندی از آن عیب و زشتی به کسی نمیرسد --------------------------------------------- ‎امیدوارم این ریویو در جهتِ شناختِ این کتاب، کافی و مفید بوده باشه ‎<پیروز باشید و ایرانی>

  7. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Introduction Note on the Texts and Translations Select Bibliography A Chronology of Aristotle Outline of the 'Poetics' --From Plato, Republic, Books 2, 3, and 10 --Aristotle, Poetics --From Sir Philip Sidney, An Apology for Poetry --From P. B. Shelley, A Defence of Poetry --From D. L. Sayers, 'Aristotle on Detective Fiction' A Note on Metre Explanatory Notes Glossary of Key Terms Index

  8. 4 out of 5

    Davide

    Letto analiticamente, prendendo fitti appunti, nell'estate del 2004 (vaghi ricordi di una terrazza non lontana dal mare e altri ricordi che non voglio ricordare), poi riletto continuamente. Ne derivano sempre suggerimenti e curiosità. Come tutti voi sapete, la poesia [oggi leggi: letteratura] è più filosofica della storia. Perché la storia tratta del vero, la poesia del verosimile. E quindi la poesia si occupa dell’universale, mentre la storia racconta i particolari. Appartiene all’universale il f Letto analiticamente, prendendo fitti appunti, nell'estate del 2004 (vaghi ricordi di una terrazza non lontana dal mare e altri ricordi che non voglio ricordare), poi riletto continuamente. Ne derivano sempre suggerimenti e curiosità. Come tutti voi sapete, la poesia [oggi leggi: letteratura] è più filosofica della storia. Perché la storia tratta del vero, la poesia del verosimile. E quindi la poesia si occupa dell’universale, mentre la storia racconta i particolari. Appartiene all’universale il fatto che qualcuno, un personaggio, dica o faccia certe cose secondo verosimiglianza o necessità, e a questo mira la poesia, aggiungendo successivamente i nomi; appartiene invece al particolare dire cosa ha fatto o cosa è capitato ad Alcibiade. Appunto, siamo lettori, lo sappiamo tutti, anche senza averlo letto in Aristotele. L'opera del poeta non è registrazione di tutto quanto, ma è selezione, riadattamento degli eventi, dosaggio sapiente di che cosa scartare e che cosa includere, continuo pensiero di come connettere e come riequilibrare le parti in modo da reinventare il mondo in un ordine pieno di significato. E l'universale cui mira il poeta può naturalmente essere qualcosa di molto diverso da ciò che poteva avere in mente l'antico filosofo. Però è sempre stupefacente quando il ragionamento di Aristotele diventa vertiginoso: come quando arriva a dire che, alla fin fine, non è sempre obbligatorio che lo scrittore inventi con verosimiglianza dei fatti fittizi, può persino rappresentare fatti realmente avvenuti, basta che siano verosimili: «niente impedisce infatti che tra i fatti avvenuti ce ne siano alcuni che è verosimile avvengano» E, secondo tale verosimiglianza, è il poeta il creatore di questi fatti realmente avvenuti.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jo (An Unexpected Book Hoarder)

    Poetics is the earliest known work of literary criticism. This copy was laid out in lecture note form. Aristotle gives his views on tragedy, the plot, the characters and the content, and then it is compared to epic poetry. Content wise, I think this book is great, but it was just so very boring! I found the parts with the ancient Greek language particularly difficult to read and analyse.

  10. 5 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    There's something terribly edifying when, having created your own rubric for how books should be judged, you happen to pick up the work from which all literary criticism arose and find that you and Aristotle have independently produced the same system for judgment. I know it probably just trickled down to me through cultural osmosis, but it does give me hope that I'm putting the pieces together properly.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mahdi Lotfabadi

    تنها چیزی که بهش فکر میکنم اینه که ارسطو 2 هزار و پونصد سال پیش به چه گفتمانهایی رسیده بوده... واقعاً جالبه! تنها چیزی که بهش فکر می‌کنم اینه که ارسطو 2 هزار و پونصد سال پیش به چه گفتمان‌هایی رسیده بوده... واقعاً جالبه!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Baran باران

    Edebi eleştiri geleneğinin en erken ürünlerinden biri olan Poetika'da Aristoteles tragedya ve destan türlerini biçimsel ve içerik açısından incelerken, ayrıca tüm edebiyat eleştiri dünyasının mihenk taşlarından biri olan "mimesis/temsiliyet" kavramını da ele alıyor... Dili sade, çevirisi sadık (dipnotlardan, kaynakça ve son kısımdaki açıklamalardan da belli oluyor çevirmenlerin hassasiyeti), anlaşılması kolay olsa bile ağır ağır okunması gereken bir çalışma...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    Here is a rudimentary tablet of knowledge by one of the greats. First off, it is somewhat incredible to concede the year that this was written, and that almost 2,400 years later we are still eager to explore poetics that are in this aged article so clearly defined. Aristotle exalts the poet and holds him in the highest esteem. Similarly, I have come to the conclusion that the novelist of literature is the truest of artists, imitating what he sees and ‘painting’ things as how they are, telling it Here is a rudimentary tablet of knowledge by one of the greats. First off, it is somewhat incredible to concede the year that this was written, and that almost 2,400 years later we are still eager to explore poetics that are in this aged article so clearly defined. Aristotle exalts the poet and holds him in the highest esteem. Similarly, I have come to the conclusion that the novelist of literature is the truest of artists, imitating what he sees and ‘painting’ things as how they are, telling it as other people tell it and so is said to be, or constructing a world in its most ideal, illustrious state. This is but one of the many core concepts Aristotle pries open. Yes, as readers we have been conscious of the literary elements and the mixture of these comprise contemporary fiction, certainly, but here is a very significant work for the writer and not just the poet. Always pitting the Epic poem versus the Tragedy, Aristotle maintains that although a Tragedy has all the same elements as an Epic the Epic poem does not always include elements of Tragedy. Here is the contemporary distinction between epic novels (Gone with the Wind, The Thorn Birds) and tragic family dramas (see: Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller). But the spirit of drama must flow through both, though the parameters & scales differ. Indeed some of the dogmas have been explained over and over the years by countless English teachers. So it was a relief to find some of the writer’s personal touches in this informative essay, such as his constant distinction between philosophers and mere men, his fanboy affinity to Homer, his fondness for markedly-clear beginnings and endings, how Epic poetry is the “highest” art form (one would imagine that in the modern world Aristotle would have preferred ‘Titanic’ over ‘American Beauty’), and that poetry “is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history.” (Seemingly rudimentary, this is a must for novelists, even though Epic poems and stage Tragedies are long gone. Sadly the later chapters in Aristotle’s “Poetics” are like trips to elementary school English (letters àwords àsentences). That something from 350 BC is still employed in something so vast and, sometimes if we are lucky, so avant garde as literature is both frightening and encouraging.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Proença

    Como obra de estudo é preciosa; como entretenimento não é muito indicada. Porque já estou numa idade em que me interessa mais a diversão que o conhecimento, não me esforcei para a compreender; a partir de metade desisti de ler as abundantes notas de rodapé e desperdicei a oportunidade de apreciar um livro que se mantém vivo há mais de dois mil anos.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rakhi Dalal

    Been reading this again. Aristotle's take on woman Even a woman may be good, and also a slave; though the woman may be said to be an inferior being, and the slave quite worthless, reminds me of something similar being said by Krishna in the Bhagwadgita.. I am inclined to reduce the rating here, but will probably do that with a full review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    bup

    Well, I tell you what. Did you ever see "Dead Poet's Society"? You know that scene where it's the first day of school and Robin Williams has them read that essay out loud, with all sorts of formulae and things for analyzing poetry - where Robin Williams graphs a formula on the board: PxI=G ? Remember that? That's the feeling I got with this. It seems to miss the forest for the trees. OK, it's an analysis of drama and epic poetry. But to what end? Aristotle apparently felt it would be prescriptive to Well, I tell you what. Did you ever see "Dead Poet's Society"? You know that scene where it's the first day of school and Robin Williams has them read that essay out loud, with all sorts of formulae and things for analyzing poetry - where Robin Williams graphs a formula on the board: PxI=G ? Remember that? That's the feeling I got with this. It seems to miss the forest for the trees. OK, it's an analysis of drama and epic poetry. But to what end? Aristotle apparently felt it would be prescriptive to writers, so that they could produce better work. Maybe to a small degree it does. But if something works, it works. The success of any form of art is nothing more nor less than its gestalt effect - any checklist of qualities to determine its worth is necessarily bound to failure.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alina Cătărău

    Poetica (Περὶ ποιητικῆς) face parte din categoria operelor aristotelice care se adresează în principal celor care studiază literatură și teatru. Se presupune că această lucrare ar fi fost scrisă în jurul anului 335 Î. Hr. și corespunde primilor ani ai învățământului atenian, dar și perioadei în care tragedia greacă nu mai era jucată, fiind înlocuită de comedie. Faimosul tratat este alcătuit din două cărți: Cartea I este închinată „ramurii nobile a poeziei”, adică epopeii și tragediei, iar Cartea Poetica (Περὶ ποιητικῆς) face parte din categoria operelor aristotelice care se adresează în principal celor care studiază literatură și teatru. Se presupune că această lucrare ar fi fost scrisă în jurul anului 335 Î. Hr. și corespunde primilor ani ai învățământului atenian, dar și perioadei în care tragedia greacă nu mai era jucată, fiind înlocuită de comedie. Faimosul tratat este alcătuit din două cărți: Cartea I este închinată „ramurii nobile a poeziei”, adică epopeii și tragediei, iar Cartea a II-a „ramurii grosolane a poeziei”, comedia, însă această parte, precum multe alte scrieri valoroase din Antichitate, s-a pierdut. Găsiți recenzia completă pe: http://www.alinasbookishhideout.com/r...

  18. 4 out of 5

    João Fernandes

    Despite the importance this book holds as the first attempt at a guide to art and dramatic critic, I think most of Aristotle's points aren't particularly accurate in the current age. Fortunately for all of us, Art has evolved past form. The passing of time has allowed artists, from dramatists to writers, to break the conventions of past eras. So no, Aristotle, comedy is no longer about "inferior people" and tragedy about "great people". Nor is Art very logically constructed. By all means, read th Despite the importance this book holds as the first attempt at a guide to art and dramatic critic, I think most of Aristotle's points aren't particularly accurate in the current age. Fortunately for all of us, Art has evolved past form. The passing of time has allowed artists, from dramatists to writers, to break the conventions of past eras. So no, Aristotle, comedy is no longer about "inferior people" and tragedy about "great people". Nor is Art very logically constructed. By all means, read the "Poetics", in particular the 7th section, on tragedy, which I think may be the most accurate and interesting one. Luckily everything else has somehow been allowed to change.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Aristotle examines specific story forms like an ancient doctor analyzing the construction of the human body. He has great advice, and the relevancy to the modern works I've read surprised me.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    Vonnegut said that this little essay was all any novelist needed to know and I won't argue with Kurt.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Genni

    Whew. I made it through my first work by Aristotle. If all of his works are written like this, then I don't think it's going to be that bad. My perception was that he was extremely difficult. But just from this work alone, it seems he is just very thorough. A very precise thinker. So if he deals with difficult material, he will do so in such a way that is very clear, and not convoluted. At least, that is the impression so far... The following example stuck out to me. Let it not be said that Arist Whew. I made it through my first work by Aristotle. If all of his works are written like this, then I don't think it's going to be that bad. My perception was that he was extremely difficult. But just from this work alone, it seems he is just very thorough. A very precise thinker. So if he deals with difficult material, he will do so in such a way that is very clear, and not convoluted. At least, that is the impression so far... The following example stuck out to me. Let it not be said that Aristotle never defines his terms. "A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A beginning is that which does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but after which something naturally is or comes to be. An end, on the contrary, is that which itself naturally follows some other thing, either by necessity, or as a rule, but has nothing following it. A middle is that which follows something as some otherr thing follows it." Well, I should have taken all of this for granted had he not explained it to me. I thought this was almost....cute? Can I say Aristotle was cute? No, that's strange. Anyway, that unity is a continuous point of importance for him. In the end, he argues that lack of unity is the reason that Epic poetry is a lesser art form than Tragic plays, contrary to the popular opinion of his day. Aristotle mostly deals with the tragic form of poetry. And it is fascinating alone for it's insights into what the famous tragedians actually did in their writing. I walked away with a greater appreciation for Oedipus. And while tearing the form apart into minute detail and explaining what it is that makes a great tragedy, he does allow for the mysterious "artistic freedom" poets require. But I don't think reading this work is for gaining a greater appreciation for Greek tragedy alone. He throws out thoughts for why we enjoy watching theatrical forms in general. And his descriptions of different aspects of poetry, such as plot and character, are relevant today.

  22. 5 out of 5

    zeynab

    It's hard to believe that this formalist approach to literature was actually written in ancient times. also most of his ideas are not accepted in modern literary criticism but nobody can deny the role which Aristotle played in history of literature and criticism. He really tries to define form and structure of literature, different genres, the laws which literary pieces should be written based on. and though it has not been mentioned in the book but it is clearly a critical response to Plato's a It's hard to believe that this formalist approach to literature was actually written in ancient times. also most of his ideas are not accepted in modern literary criticism but nobody can deny the role which Aristotle played in history of literature and criticism. He really tries to define form and structure of literature, different genres, the laws which literary pieces should be written based on. and though it has not been mentioned in the book but it is clearly a critical response to Plato's antagonistic ideas about literature. though I admire him as a philosopher, I just can not forget the sexist expressions in the book. in one page he says with a manner of astonishment "even a woman may be good." well of course I understand that it was common for the period which he lived but I have to criticize it anyway.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alina Cătărău

    I'm glad that I have finally read Aristotle's Poetics because it is an important essay on writing and performing - actually it's one of the earliest works on literary theory, creative writing and theatre - which shouldn't be read only by actors and those who study literature, but by anyone who considers oneself to be an artist. Besides the wide space dedicated to tragedy and the epic poetry, the Greek philosopher also inserts elements belonging to other arts, such as music and painting. I'm very I'm glad that I have finally read Aristotle's Poetics because it is an important essay on writing and performing - actually it's one of the earliest works on literary theory, creative writing and theatre - which shouldn't be read only by actors and those who study literature, but by anyone who considers oneself to be an artist. Besides the wide space dedicated to tragedy and the epic poetry, the Greek philosopher also inserts elements belonging to other arts, such as music and painting. I'm very sorry that the second part of the book tackling comedy is lost, but fortunately, the other part of the essay survived to give us a glimpse of Greek theatre and its famous tragedies.

  24. 4 out of 5

    John Hughes

    Aristotle’s Poetics had a distinct effect on 16th and 17th century poetry and drama, whose views slowly grew into a rigid framework around his “unities” which led to the restrictive element to the tragedies of Louis XIV’s court. It is also likely that it influenced Dante in calling his work a “comedy”. If you have read Nicomachean Ethics, you will have no problem with the Poetics. I believe the perceived difficulty of the work must come from the myriad of Greek phrases that do not have a direct m Aristotle’s Poetics had a distinct effect on 16th and 17th century poetry and drama, whose views slowly grew into a rigid framework around his “unities” which led to the restrictive element to the tragedies of Louis XIV’s court. It is also likely that it influenced Dante in calling his work a “comedy”. If you have read Nicomachean Ethics, you will have no problem with the Poetics. I believe the perceived difficulty of the work must come from the myriad of Greek phrases that do not have a direct modern equivalent that gives the translator difficulty. Anthony Kenny’s translation (Oxford world classics 2013) was easy to follow and clearly structured, with added excerpts from Plato’s Republic, Sidney’s Apology for Poetry, and Shelley’s Defence of Poetry to help place Aristotle’s opinions in a wider framework.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael Kress

    Aristotle is considered to be one of the most important philosophers of all time, and just about all the philosophy books that I've read have mentioned him, so I felt it was necessary to check out his writings in order to have a deeper understanding of those books as well as developing my own philosophy. But this was a tough read. Although he was Plato's student, there is a huge contrast between their two styles. Plato is more entertaining, while Aristotle is more rigid, devoid of any wit or hum Aristotle is considered to be one of the most important philosophers of all time, and just about all the philosophy books that I've read have mentioned him, so I felt it was necessary to check out his writings in order to have a deeper understanding of those books as well as developing my own philosophy. But this was a tough read. Although he was Plato's student, there is a huge contrast between their two styles. Plato is more entertaining, while Aristotle is more rigid, devoid of any wit or humor. What I do appreciate about Aristotle is that he leaves no stone unturned, approaching each topic from every possible angle. "Poetics" describes the basic elements of comedy, tragedy, and epic poetry, as well as the qualities that make these art forms good or bad. It also critiques many of the poets of that time, including Homer, so I was glad that I had read "Iliad" and "Odyssey" beforehand. However, I felt that if I had been more well-read in all forms of Greek poetry, I would have gotten more out of it. I had previously read "Nicomachean Ethics" by Aristotle and found it more interesting. I would recommend that you read that instead, unless you are familiar with Greek poetry and find the subject matter of "Poetics" more appealing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mohamad Yoosofi

    ظاهراً ارسطو نخستین نظریهپرداز شعر بوده است. البته پیش از او افلاطون دیدگاههایی درباب ادبیات مطرح کرده بوده؛ اما رسالهای مستقل دراینباره ننوشته و از آن رو که رویکرد او به ادبیات، رویکردی نفیکننده بوده است، نمیتوان او را نظریهپرداز این مقوله خواند. ارسطو برپایهی آنچه از ادبیات و شاعری در زمانهی خودش برداشت میکرده، انواع شعر را در سه دسته میگنجاند: حماسه و تراژدی و کمدی. از این سه دسته، کمدی را فرودستترین و تراژدی را متعالیترین گونهی شعری میشمارد؛ چراکه کمدی غالباً برمبنای مسخرگی است و اندیشهی عمی ظاهراً ارسطو نخستین نظریه‌پرداز شعر بوده است. البته پیش از او افلاطون دیدگاه‌هایی درباب ادبیات مطرح کرده بوده؛ اما رساله‌ای مستقل دراین‌باره ننوشته و از آن رو که روی‌کرد او به ادبیات، روی‌کردی نفی‌کننده بوده است، نمی‌توان او را نظریه‌پرداز این مقوله خواند. ارسطو برپایه‌ی آن‌چه از ادبیات و شاعری در زمانه‌ی خودش برداشت می‌کرده، انواع شعر را در سه دسته می‌گنجاند: حماسه و تراژدی و کمدی. از این سه دسته، کمدی را فرودست‌ترین و تراژدی را متعالی‌ترین گونه‌ی شعری می‌شمارد؛ چراکه کمدی غالباً برمبنای مسخرگی است و اندیشه‌ی عمیقی در پس آن ننهفته، اما تراژدی باتوجه‌به مختصربودنش نسبت‌به حماسه و والاتربودن درون‌مایه‌هایش، تأثیرگذاری بیش‌تری درجهت پالایش اخلاق آدمی دارد. در گفتار ارسطو، این اثربخشی ادبیات به «کاثارسیس» تعبیر می‌شود. اساساً ازنظرگاه ارسطو، آن‌چه ادبیات را می‌سازد، «تقلید» یا «محاکات» است. وی تقلید را به سه گونه بخش‌بندی می‌کند: ۱. تقلید از اشیا چنان‌که بوده‌اند و هستند؛ ۲. تقلید از اشیا چنان‌که مردم می‌گویند یا به نظرِ شاعر می‌آید؛ ۳. تقلید از اشیا چنان‌که باید باشند. تفاوت انگاره‌ی افلاطون و ارسطو از ادبیات، به تفاوت دید فلسفی آن‌ها برمی‌گردد. البته این هر دو، ادبیات را گونه‌ای تقلید می‌دانند. افلاطون حقیقت جهان را در دنیایی خیالین و ماورایی می‌پندارد و ادبیات را تقلید از این جهانِ عینی که خود، تقلید و انعکاسی است از مُثُلِ برین. درواقع، ادبیات تقلید از تقلید است. به‌این‌گونه، ادبیات تقلیدی ثانویه و دست‌دوم به‌شمار می‌آید و از اهمیتش سخت کاسته می‌شود. برخلاف افلاطون، ارسطو اصالت را به همین جهان عینی و محسوس می‌دهد و ادبیات را تقلید از همین دنیای دیدنی و ملموس می‌پندارد. برهمین‌پایه، ادبیات در نگاه ارسطو کاملاً عینی است و با آن‌چه پذیرفته‌ی همگان است، مطابق است. در تعریف ارسطو از ادبیات، عالم بالا و ماورا جایی ندارد. گونه‌های دوم و سوم تقلید از دید ارسطو هم به‌نوعی با این واقعیت‌مداری سازگار است. به‌دیگرسخن، آن چیزی مناسب شعر و ادبیات است که یا بازتاب واقعیت پذیرفته‌شده باشد یا چنان با واقعیت‌ها و عرف‌های شناخته‌شده دم‌ساز باشد که «باورپذیر» بنماید و مخاطب در برخورد با آن، احساس غرابت نکند؛ هرچند این امور در وهله‌ی نخست، چندان عینی به‌نظر نیاید. بسیاری از اصول داستان‌پردازی که امروزه مطرح است، لابه‌لای این اثر ارسطو یافت می‌شود. از آن جمله است باورپذیری و واقعیت‌مانندی، لحن‌های گونه‌گون شخصیت‌ها، گره‌افکنی و گره‌گشایی و طول و اندازه‌ی اثر ادبی. البته ارسطو در تعریف این سه گونه‌ی ادبی، شکل مکتوب آن را با آن‌چه از اثر ادبی در قالب نمایش اجرا می‌شده، درآمیخته است و نظرهایش اغلب ترکیبی است از مسائل ادبی و نمایشی. وی میان این دو گونه، تفکیکی درخور قائل نشده است. زرین‌کوب با فهم ژرف و همه‌سویه‌ی خود از اندیشه‌ی ارسطو و دیدگاه‌هایش در این کتاب، این اثر را ترجمه کرده است. چند فصل آغازین این کتاب اطلاعاتی فراگیر درباره‌ی زندگی و آثار ارسطو، اندیشه‌های وی و شیوعش در دنیای شرق و غرب و نیز حال‌وهوای یونان در روزگار او به‌دست می‌دهد. مترجم در جای‌جای کتاب دیدگاه‌های ارسطو را منتقدانه بررسی می‌کند. البته زبان زرین‌کوب را به‌سبب درازگویی‌ها و جمله‌های تودرتویش شخصاً هیچ نمی‌پسندم؛ اما اذعان‌کردنی است که او در واکاوی مطلب‌های این کتاب سنگِ‌تمام گذاشته و حق مطلب را به‌غایت ادا کرده است.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Aristotelis de arte poetica liber, Aristotle نخستین بار کتاب با عنوانهای «فن شعر» و «هنر شاعری بوطیقا»؛ در سال 1335 با ترجمه فتح الله مجتبایی، توسط انتشارات اندیشه، و در سال 1337 با عنوان «نامه ارسطاطالیس در باره هنر شعر» با ترجمه حسین افنان منتشر شده است عنوان: فن شعر؛ اثر: ارسطو؛ مترجم: عبدالحسین زرین کوب؛ تهران، بنگاه نشر و ترجمه، چاپ دوم 1343، در 245 ص؛ کتابنامه دارد؛ چاپ سوم 1353؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، امیرکبیر، 1369، در 220 ص، چاپ سوم 1381، چاپ چهارم 1382، چاپ پنجم 1385، چاپ ششم 1387؛ چاپ هفتم و Aristotelis de arte poetica liber, Aristotle نخستین بار کتاب با عنوانهای «فن شعر» و «هنر شاعری بوطیقا»؛ در سال 1335 با ترجمه فتح الله مجتبایی، توسط انتشارات اندیشه، و در سال 1337 با عنوان «نامه ارسطاطالیس در باره هنر شعر» با ترجمه حسین افنان منتشر شده است عنوان: فن شعر؛ اثر: ارسطو؛ مترجم: عبدالحسین زرین کوب؛ تهران، بنگاه نشر و ترجمه، چاپ دوم 1343، در 245 ص؛ کتابنامه دارد؛ چاپ سوم 1353؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، امیرکبیر، 1369، در 220 ص، چاپ سوم 1381، چاپ چهارم 1382، چاپ پنجم 1385، چاپ ششم 1387؛ چاپ هفتم و هشتم، 1392، شابک: 9789640007860؛ موضوع: نقد ادبی، تراژدی، فن شعر؛ قرن 4 پیش از میلاد

  28. 4 out of 5

    M.L. Rio

    Every writer should read this, because a lot Aristotle's rules for good writing are still on point after 2,300 years.

  29. 5 out of 5

    AGamarra

    Poética es una crítica literaria relativamente incipiente (obviamente considerando el año en que fue realizada y con los pocos ejemplos que se valió el autor, digamos en la producción literaria hasta el momento) sobre las composiciones poéticas. Fundamentalmente sobre la Tragedia y la Epopeya. Es un resumen fundamentalmente teórico en el cual se explican conceptos como la poética, fábula (entendido como argumento), ritmo, métrica, virtudes y defectos y una gran lista de ejemplos que desde luego m Poética es una crítica literaria relativamente incipiente (obviamente considerando el año en que fue realizada y con los pocos ejemplos que se valió el autor, digamos en la producción literaria hasta el momento) sobre las composiciones poéticas. Fundamentalmente sobre la Tragedia y la Epopeya. Es un resumen fundamentalmente teórico en el cual se explican conceptos como la poética, fábula (entendido como argumento), ritmo, métrica, virtudes y defectos y una gran lista de ejemplos que desde luego me gustaron pues de esta manera tenemos información de muchos autores griegos que hoy en día no conocemos casi nada, por lo menos Aristóteles nombra sus obras o algunos aspectos. Algunos aspectos que me gustaron fueron la admiración que siente por Homero a quien lo califica como el mejor de todos, algunos apuntes históricos del teatro, una comparación entre la epopeya y la historia (considera mejor a la epopeya), los consejos que da sobre cómo escribir tragedias y epopeyas (que era por lo que decidí leer esta obra) y una revisión muy escueta de la Ilíada y la Odisea, donde apunta algunas características negativas que aunque las había pensado no sabía que muchos griegos también coincidían. Lamentablemente la extensión no es la que debiera, muy probablemente esta obra está incompleta y en muchas ocasiones hay dudas de algunos párrafos. Además el estilo de Aristóteles, por momento es enredado (y no creo que se deba a la traducción pues está hecha por expertos), quizás en parte el deseo de comunicar su obra a toda clase de público hace eso. Así mismo el orden de las ideas aunque adecuado no es desarrollado profundamente ni me pareció muy didáctico.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Evandro

    A Poética é um livro precioso. Aristóteles é um taxonomista; tudo descreve como se fosse um médico classificando os órgãos de um ser vivo e atribuindo-lhes as funções devidas. Nesse sentido, o uso errado dos instrumentos de composição artística traria como resultado uma obra literária "doente". O mesmo, penso eu, se aplicaria à filosofia, ao uso dos instrumentos da razão. Quem não usa adequadamente os órgãos do conhecer é um homem doente: seja por debilidade (pouco uso da inteligência), seja por A Poética é um livro precioso. Aristóteles é um taxonomista; tudo descreve como se fosse um médico classificando os órgãos de um ser vivo e atribuindo-lhes as funções devidas. Nesse sentido, o uso errado dos instrumentos de composição artística traria como resultado uma obra literária "doente". O mesmo, penso eu, se aplicaria à filosofia, ao uso dos instrumentos da razão. Quem não usa adequadamente os órgãos do conhecer é um homem doente: seja por debilidade (pouco uso da inteligência), seja por psicopatia (uso incorreto da inteligência). Os critérios que se estabelecem nesta obra para julgar-se o que é arte séria (a palavra é do próprio Aristóteles) e o que é porcaria devem irritar não poucos artistas hodiernos, tão desejosos de inventar meia dúzia de bobagens e chamá-las de arte. Para desespero de também não poucos críticos, o filósofo faz listas e mais listas, por meio das quais classifica, segundo sua função e em ordem de importância, cada elemento de composição da obra dramática e literária. Decerto, porém, o mais politicamente incorreto de seus argumentos - ou, antes, de suas constatações, as quais apresenta com uma tranqüilidade e uma segurança admiráveis e hoje inconcebíveis - é o de que o "mito", o enredo, o conteúdo, e não a forma, é o mais importante; sendo na verdade o que determina se uma obra é arte ou não é. Não resisto a pensar que quase tudo o que se faz hoje - tão marcado pelo "sensível", pelo que estimula os sentidos em detrimento do que nutre a alma - cairia na lata de lixo crítica do Estagirita. Mas tampouco posso deixar de pensar nas interpretações equivocadas que hoje se devem fazer de suas teorias, como, por exemplo, que qualquer instalação moderninha seria arte elevada posto que supostamente veicula conteúdos profundíssimos (falo aqui da dita "arte conceitual"). Fora isso, há na Poética dezenas de questões marginais, cada uma das quais dá pano para manga até o fim dos tempos, rende centenas, milhares de análises, esclarecimentos e inspirações em tudo que é campo do conhecimento. Claro, na verdade não são marginais de modo algum, são antes uma grande demonstração de que tudo está interligado no conhecimento humano e - por que não? - divino. Talvez até por isso sua filosofia tenha servido tão bem à escolástica e à Igreja, tantos séculos depois. Quanto a esta edição da Editora 34, é preciso dizer que apresenta vários problemas, até mesmo erros gramaticais (como um "cujo" equivocado no lugar de um "que"), ambigüidades em trechos por falta de habilidade do tradutor com a língua portuguesa e talvez um excesso de preocupação com a literalidade; e palavras faltantes que precisei chupar de outras traduções para que conseguisse entender o sentido do texto. Achei também uma nota em que se apresenta uma explicação absolutamente equivocada de uma passagem: a nota 172, que pretende explicar a enumeração das espécies de "reconhecimento" expostas no Cap. 16, está ERRADA! O tradutor enumera 4 tipos de reconhecimento e diz que, no fim do capítulo, Aristóteles inverte o critério de classificação dos tipos de reconhecimento que vão do melhor ao pior. Estranhei a coisa, pois minha impressão foi que eram cinco os tipos de reconhecimento. Fui verificar em outros livros e todos diziam que são mesmo cinco e deixavam claro que não havia a referida inversão. Mesmo assim, a edição é valiosa por trazer ótimas notas explicativas a inúmeras outras passagens e por indicar ótima bibliografia ao final. Por fim, acho que não é preciso dizer que se trata de um livro para ser lido mais de uma vez, ou mais de duas!

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