Poetics

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Museum Tusculanum Press, 2001 - Philosophy - 55 pages
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In many fields of knowledge Aristotle was and is today an outstanding figure. He possessed the acutest powers of observation and analysis, and he applied the systematic method of definition and classification to the study of biology, physics, logic, ethics, metaphysics and literature. His writings, however, at least in the form in which they have come down to us, are far from systematic in arrangement and far from clear in exposition. The discrepancy between his scientific method and his literary manner is probably to be explained on the hypothesis that the notes, on which his lectures at the Academy were based, were published in the form in which they were found after his death. The Poetics is a case in point. The arrangement of the argument is often haphazard. For example, a technical term is frequently used in one chapter and defined in a subsequent chapter; literary forms, such as tragedy and epic, are distinguished from one another, but the treatment of them is intermingled; and the summary of contents does not correspond in order to the unfolding of the argument. In consequence, the treatise is often confusing to the scholar and to the layman. In this version the text has been so rearranged that it makes the argument clear. The style of Aristotle is direct, concise and close to the ordinary speech of his day. The style of the translation by professor Hammond is intended to be similar. Aristotle's method of exposition is marked in detail by some idioms of connection and arrangement which are alien to us. In the translation these idioms of exposition have been abandoned, and the normal practice of our day has been adopted.
  

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About the author (2001)

Aristotle, 384 B.C. - 322 B. C. Aristotle was born at Stagira, in Macedonia, in 384 B.C. At the age of 17, he went to Athens to study at Plato's Academy, where he remained for about 20 years, as a student and then as a teacher. When Plato died in 347 B.C., Aristotle moved to Assos, a city in Asia Minor, where a friend of his, Hermias, was ruler. After Hermias was captured and executed by the Persians in 345 B.C., Aristotle went to Pella, the Macedonian capital, where he became the tutor of the king's young son Alexander, later known as Alexander the Great. In 335, when Alexander became king, Aristotle returned to Athens and established his own school, the Lyceum Aristotle's works were lost in the West after the decline of Rome, but during the 9th Century A.D., Arab scholars introduced Aristotle, in Arabic translation, to the Islamic world. In the 13th Century, the Latin West renewed its interest in Aristotle's work, and Saint Thomas Aquinas found in it a philosophical foundation for Christian thought. The influence of Aristotle's philosophy has been pervasive; it has even helped to shape modern language and common sense. Aristotle died in 322 B.C.

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