Poetics
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Poetics

By (author) Aristotle , Edited by Malcolm Heath , Translated by Malcolm Heath

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Essential reading for all students of Greek theatre and literature, Aristotle's "Poetics" remains equally stimulating for anyone interested in literature. This "Penguin Classics" edition is translated with an introduction and notes by Malcolm Heath. In his near-contemporary account of classical Greek tragedy, Aristotle examine 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" introduced into literary criticism such central concepts as mimesis ('imitation'), hamartia ('error') and katharsis, which have informed serious thinking about drama ever since. Aristotle explains how the most effective tragedies rely on complication and resolution, recognition and reversals, while centring on characters of heroic stature, idealised yet true to life. One of the most perceptive and influential works of criticism in Western literary history, the "Poetics" has informed serious thinking about drama ever since. Malcolm Heath's lucid 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. Aristotle (384-22 BC) studied at the Academy of Plato for 20 years and then established his own school and research institute, 'The Lyceum'. His writings, which were of extraordinary range, profoundly affected the whole course of ancient and medieval philosophy and are still eagerly studied and debated by philosophers today. If you enjoyed "Poetics", you might like Aristotle's "The Metaphysics", also available in "Penguin Classics".

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  • Paperback | 144 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 10mm | 117.93g
  • 01 Mar 1997
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0140446362
  • 9780140446364
  • 15,445

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Author Information

Aristotle was born at Stagira, in the dominion of the kings of Macedonia, in 384 BC. For twenty years he studied at Athens in the Academy of Plato. However he left on Plato's death and, some time later, became the tutor of young Alexander The Great.His writings have profoundly affected the whole course of ancient and medieval philosophy, and they are still studied and debated today. Malcolm Heath has been Reader in Greek Language and Literature at Leeds University since 1991.

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Review text

Aristotle lays down a series of timeless rules regarding plot and structure. Some of what he says may seem self-evident - he defines, for instance, the beginning of a tragedy as that which does not necessarily follow anything else but which necessarily gives rise to further action. Well, duh. Even so, I think a yearly review of Poetics will sharpen anyone's writing. And, hey, if you're going to break the rules, you might as well know which ones you've violated. A writer who can explain the 'why' of a transgression is forging a version of his or her own personal Poetics. (Kirkus UK)

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Back cover copy

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.

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