Poetics

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ticsTHE POETICS OF ARISTOTLE
A TRANSLATION BY S. H. BUTCHER

A Penn State Electronic Classics Series Publication

THE POETICS OF ARISTOTLE trans. S. H. Butcher is a publication of the Pennsylvania State Univer-

sity. This Portable Document file is furnished free and without any charge of any kind. Any person using this document file, for any purpose, and in any way does so at his or her own risk. Neither the Pennsylvania State University nor Jim Manis, Faculty Editor, nor anyone associated with the Pennsylvania State University assumes any responsibility for the material contained within the document or for the file as an electronic transmission, in any way. THE POETICS OF ARISTOTLE trans. S. H. Butcher, the Pennsylvania State University, Electronic

Classics Series, Jim Manis, Faculty Editor, Hazleton, PA 18201-1291 is a Portable Document File produced as part of an ongoing student publication project to bring classical works of literature, in English, to free and easy access of those wishing to make use of them. Cover Design: Jim Manis Copyright © 2000 The Pennsylvania State University

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THE POETICS OF ARISTOTLE

THE POETICS OF ARISTOTLE
A TRANSLATION BY S. H. BUTCHER

Analysis of Contents I ‘Imitation’ the common principle of the Arts of Poetry. II The Objects of Imitation. III The Manner of Imitation. IV The Origin and Development of Poetry. V Definition of the Ludicrous, and a brief sketch of the rise of Comedy. VI Definition of Tragedy. VII The Plot must be a Whole. VIII The Plot must be a Unity. IX (Plot continued.) Dramatic Unity. X (Plot continued.) Definitions of Simple and Complex Plots. XI (Plot continued.) Reversal of the Situation, Recognition, and Tragic or disastrous Incident defined and explained. XII The ‘quantitative parts’ of Tragedy defined. XIII (Plot continued.) What constitutes Tragic Action. XIV (Plot continued.) The tragic emotions of pity and fear should spring out of the Plot itself. XV The element of Character in Tragedy. 3

[Transcriber’s Annotations and Conventions: the translator left intact some Greek words to illustrate a specific point of the original discourse. In this transcription, in order to retain the accuracy of this text, those words are rendered by spelling out each Greek letter individually, such as {alpha beta gamma delta …}. The reader can distinguish these words by the enclosing braces {}. Where multiple words occur together, they are separated by the “/” symbol for clarity. Readers who do not speak or read the Greek language will usually neither gain nor lose understanding by skipping over these passages. Those who understand Greek, however, may gain a deeper insight to the original meaning and distinctions expressed by Aristotle.]

THE POETICS OF ARISTOTLE XVI (Plot continued.) Recognition: its various kinds, with examples. XVII Practical rules for the Tragic Poet. XVIII Further rules for the Tragic Poet. XIX Thought, or the Intellectual element, and Diction in Tragedy. XX Diction, or Language in general. XXI Poetic Diction. XXII (Poetic Diction continued.) How Poetry combines elevation of language with perspicuity. XXIII Epic Poetry. XXIV (Epic Poetry continued.) Further points of agreement with Tragedy. XXV Critical Objections brought against Poetry, and the principles on which they are to be answered. XXVI A general estimate of the comparative worth of Epic Poetry and Tragedy.

ARISTOTLE’S POETICS
I I propose to treat of Poetry in itself and of its various kinds, noting the essential quality of each; to inquire into the structure of the plot as requisite to a good poem; into the number and nature of the parts of which a poem is composed; and similarly into whatever else falls within the same inquiry. Following, then, the order of nature, let us begin with the principles which come first. Epic poetry and Tragedy, Comedy also and Dithyrambic: poetry, and the music of the flute...
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