Plato and Aristotle on Poetry

Edited with an introduction by Peter Burian

Plato and Aristotle on Poetry

243 pp., 6 x 9

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-9816-1
    Published: January 2011

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This book is a guide to the poetics of the two Greek fountainheads of Western literary theory. Part I traces the development of Plato's great themes of inspiration and imitation but makes no attempt to reduce his disparate statements to a system. Part II demonstrates that Aristotle's Poetics embodies a powerful theory of literature that answers Plato's objections to poetry as an emotionally powerful, and therefore dangerous, communication of false opinion.

Originally published in 1987.

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"Else's treatment here of Platonic aesthetics is the best now available. His detailed review of the principal themes in Aristotle's Poetics provides a concise and intelligent study of the major issues in that work. This imaginative and provocative book deserves wide reading."--Choice