Aristotle as a Critic

Topics: Aristotle, Poetry, Literature Pages: 3 (1049 words) Published: April 17, 2013
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.), the son of a physician, was the student of Plato from approximately 367 B.C. until his mentor's death in 348/347. After carrying on philosophical and scientific investigations elsewhere in the Greek world and serving as the tutor to Alexander the Great, he returned to Athens in 335 B.C.E. to found the Lyceum, a major philosophical center, which he used as his base for prolific investigations into many areas of philosophy. Aristotle is a towering figure in ancient Greek philosophy, making contributions to logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agriculture, medicine, dance and theatre.

As a prolific writer and polymath, Aristotle radically transformed most, if not all, areas of knowledge he touched. It is no wonder that Aquinas referred to him simply as “The Philosopher.” In his lifetime, Aristotle wrote as many as 200 treatises, of which only 31 survive. Unfortunately for us, these works are in the form of lecture notes and draft manuscripts never intended for general readership, so they do not demonstrate his reputed polished prose style which attracted many great followers, including the Roman Cicero. Aristotle was the first to classify areas of human knowledge into distinct disciplines such as mathematics, biology, and ethics. Some of these classifications are still used today. [There has been long speculation that the original Poetics comprised two books, our extant Poetics and a lost second book that supposedly dealt with comedy and catharsis. No firm evidence for the existence of this second book has been adduced. Our (knowledge of the text of the Poetics depends principally on a manuscript of the tenth or eleventh century and a second manuscript dating from the fourteenth century.] (not to write in notes)*.

Aristotle could be considered the first popular literary critic. Unlike Plato, who all but condemned written verse, Aristotle breaks it down and analyses...
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