Aristotle: The Metaphysics
Aristotle: On The Heavens

Aristotle: The Poetics

The Poetics (Greek: Περὶ ποιητικῆς, Latin: De Poetica) is a treatise by Aristotle on literary theory. Like many of his other works, it exercised a formative influence on the discipline it examined up to the renaissance.

Aristotle divided poetry into tragedy and comedy and into narrative and dramatic forms. Like Plato, Aristotle saw the essence of art in representation or mimesis. In contrast to the critical view of mimesis in Plato's dialogues, Aristotle's theory of catharsis suggested that tragedy could have a positive effect through purging negative emotions.

The Poetics at, .uk, .fr, .de, .ca.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Poetics, translated by S.H. Butcher. Multiple formats.

Perseus: Greek text, ed. by R. Kassel (1966). English text, translated by W.H. Fyfe (1932). HTML and XML formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Poetics, translated by S.H. Butcher. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: Translation by Ingram Bywater (1898). Translation by S.H. Butcher (1922).

Other Resources

BBC In Our Time: Aristotle's Poetics, radio broadcast presented by Melvyn Bragg.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Stage Directions: Aristotle's Rhetoric and Poetics - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle - Poetics, by Joe Sachs.

Librivox: The Poetics - public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: The Poetics (Aristotle).

The Poetics at, .uk, .fr, .de, .ca.

The Great Conversation: further reading at Tom's Learning Notes.

Plato's Republic and Ion contain notable discussions of poetry.

Homer: Iliad, Odyssey.

Aeschylus: Choephoroi

Sophocles: Oedipus the King, Antigone, Electra.

Euripides: Orestes, Iphigenia in Aulis, Medea.

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: The Poetics is listed.


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