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Aristotle's Poetics

ISBN: 9780809005277 | 0809005271
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Pub. Date: 1/1/1961

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Introduced by Francis Fergusson, thePoetics, written in the fourth century B.C., is still an essential study of the art of drama, indeed the most fundamental one we have. It has been used by both playwrights and theorists of many periods, and interpreted, in the course of its two thousand years of life, in various ways. The literature which has accumulated around it is, as Mr. Fergusson points out, "full of disputes so erudite that the nonspecialist can only look on in respectful silence." But thePoeticsitself is still with us, in all its suggestiveness, for the modern reader to make use of in his turn and for his own purposes. Francis Fergusson's lucid, informative, and entertaining Introduction will prove invaluable to anyone who wishes to understand and appreciate thePoetics. Using Sophocles'Oedipus Rex, as Aristotle did, to illustrate his analysis, Mr. Fergusson pints out that Aristotle did not lay down strict rules, as is often thought: "ThePoetics," he says, "is much more like a cookbook than it is like a textbook of elementary engineering." Read in this way, it is an essential guide not only to Sophoclean tragedy, but to the work of so modern a playwright as Bertolt Brecht, who considered his own "epic drama" the first non-Aristotelian form. Other works by the renowned classical scholar, translator, and literary criticFrancis FergussonincludeThe Idea of a Theater: A Study of Ten Plays,Sallies of the Mind: Essays,Trope and Allegory: Themes Common to Dante and Shakespeare, andDante's Drama of the Mind: A Modern Reading of thePurgatorio. Translator and scholarS. H. Butcherserved as editor for the Dover Thift Edition of thePoetics, as well as for theOrationes, Volume 1by Demosthenes. Butcher is also the author ofAristotle's Theory of Poetry and Fine Art. ThePoetics, written in the fourth century B.C., remains an essential study of the art of drama, indeed the most fundamental one we have. It has been used by both playwrights and theorists of many periods, and interpreted, in the course of its two thousand years of life, in various ways. The literature which has accumulated around it is, as Mr. Fergusson points out, "full of disputes so erudite that the nonspecialist can only look on in respectful silence." But thePoeticsitself is still with us, in all its suggestiveness, for the modern reader to make use of in his turn and for his own purposes. Francis Fergusson's lucid, informative, and entertaining Introduction will prove invaluable to anyone who wishes to understand and appreciate thePoetics. Using Sophocles'Oedipus Rex, as Aristotle did, to illustrate his analysis, Mr. Fergusson points out that Aristotle did not lay down strict rules, as is often thought: "ThePoetics," he says, "is much more like a cookbook than it is like a textbook of elementary engineering." Read in this way, it is an essential guide not only to Sophoclean tragedy, but to the work of so modern a playwright as Bertolt Brecht, who considered his own "epic drama" the first non-Aristotelian form. "A work which must become essential reading not only for all serious students of thePoetics. . . but also for those (the great majority) who have prudenty fought shy of it altogether." --B. R. Rees,Classical Review


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