Poetics by Aristotle (Translated by Malcolm Heath)

PoeticsIn his Poetics, Aristotle decides to describe just what is is that make humans appreciate works of art (particularly fiction) and what it is that makes a good story. These writings may be thousands of years old, but it’s still very understandable and enjoyable. Many of his ideas are very clever and give rather satisfactory explanations for people’s desire to write and read. The idea of art as imitation, mimesis, stems from here. Furthermore, this gives several arguments into the ‘value of art’ side of philosophy, and it’s always interesting to gain more philosophic knowledge. I also think that anybody who likes to write stories recreationally will really enjoy this book because of his explanations of how to structure good plots may give some inspiration.

However, one downside to this useful little book is that, it having been written thousands of years ago, all of the references to fiction which Aristotle makes to back up his points are from Ancient Greek plays which, today, are somewhat obscure meaning that these references will be lost on a lot of modern readers. Furthermore, this book is very short indeed (only fifty pages, not including all the ‘special features’ which are included in the Penguin Classics range) so you might not feel it’s worth the cost of a full book.

Still, on the whole, an interesting little book: 8.1/10

Buy it here.

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