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Aristotle’s Poetics

In this, the fullest, sustained interpretation of Aristotle’s Poetics available in English, Stephen Halliwell demonstrates that the Poetics, despite its laconic brevity, is a coherent statement of a challenging theory of poetic art, and it hints towards a theory of mimetic art in general. Assessing this theory against the background of earlier Greek views on poetry and art, particularly Plato’s, Halliwell goes further than any previous author in setting Aristotle’s ideas in the wider context of his philosophical system.

The core of the book is a fresh appraisal of Aristotle’s view of tragic drama, in which Halliwell contends that at the heart of the Poetics lies a philosophical urge to instill a secularized understanding of Greek tragedy.

"Essential reading not only for all serious students of the Poetics . . . but also for those—the great majority—who have prudently fought shy of it altogether."—B. R. Rees, Classical Review

"A splendid work of scholarship and analysis . . . a brilliant interpretation."—Alexander Nehamas, Times Literary Supplement

384 pages | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1998

Ancient Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

Table of Contents

Introduction to 1988 edition
I. The Setting of the Poetics
II. Aristotle’s Aesthetics 1: Art and its Pleasure
III. Aristotle’s Aesthetics 2: Craft, Nature and Unity in Art
IV. Mimesis
V. Action and Character
VI. Tragedy and the Emotions
VII. Fallibility & Misfortune: The Securlarisation of the Tragic
VIII. The Chorus of Tragedy
IX. Epic, Comedy and Other Genres
X. Influence & Status: the Nachleben of the Poetics
App. 1 The Date of the Poetics
App. 2 The Poetics and Plato
App. 3 Drama in the Theatre: Aristotle on Spectacle (opsis)
App. 4 Aristotle on Language (lexis)
App. 5 Interpretations of katharsis

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