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By Aristotle

This article combines a whole translation of Aristotle's "poetics" with a working remark, published on dealing with pages, to maintain the reader in non-stop touch with the linguistic and demanding subtleties of the unique whereas highlighting the most important matters for college kids of literature and literary conception. the amount comprises essays via George Whalley that define his process and function. He identifies a deep congruence among Aristotle's realizing of mimesis and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's view of mind's eye.

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Sample text

Cicero speaks of Aristotle's works in two classes: "esoteric" works and "commentaries". The esoteric works were presumably the published dialogues whose style Cicero praised and which he sought to imitate in his own dialogues. The word "commentaries" (hypomnematd) is not a very specific term: it could mean anything from rough notes to "such sophisticated works as Caesar's records of his campaigns,"7 and so could cover both the encyclopaedic collections and the treatises that now survive. What we now have would be called "esoteric" in Cicero's terms; meaning, not that they were secret or available only to initiates, but simply that they were for use "inside", in the school.

It is known that he compiled a list of all the dramatic performances given in Athens; he wrote dialogues On Music and On Poets; in addition to the surviving acroamatic Rhetoric, he wrote a dialogue in three books On Rhetoric, a summary of rhetorical theories in two books, and a summary of Theodectes' Handbook of Rhetoric; he annotated or corrected a copy of the Iliad for his pupil Alexander (which Alexander treasured), and wrote out six books of Homeric Problems (some traces of which seem to survive in Chapter 25 of the Poetics}.

To my ear there are plenty of tokens of all these qualities in the Poetics, even though in his later years any desire he may once have had for literary distinction had been dissolved into a preoccupation with teaching. In the Poetics he is probably writing with only half an ear for the sound of what he is saying; but there are some elaborate sentences there which, by the way they somehow in the end, and contrary to expectation, unravel themselves triumphantly to a close, make me wonder whether we may be dealing with an absent-minded virtuoso.

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