Aristotle/Poetics

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Aerial view of Theatre of Epidaurus. Photo: Raymond V Schoder.

Aristotle (Ἀριστοτέλους)'s Poetics (Περὶ ποιητικῆς; Peri poiêtikês; On Poetics) is the earliest surviving work of dramatic theory and the first extant philosophical treatise to focus on literary theory. It was written, depending on the interpretation, sometime between 347-335 BCE.


Subject matter

The Poetics is about two things: "poiêsis understood as poetry, or imitation of action, and poiêsis understood as action, which is also imitation of action. It is the distinctive feature of human action, that whenever we choose what to do, we imagine an action for ourselves as though we were inspecting it from the outside [such as in risking life in battle for the sake of the kalon (the noble, beautiful), acting from a moral virtue, andreia (courage), rather than viewing it as something unpleasant (xiii-xv)]. Intentions are nothing more than imagined actions [all courage is metaphorical (xv)], internalizings of the external. All action is therefore imitation of action; it is poetic." (Benardete & Davis 2002:xvii)

The general, but not universal, view is that there were originally two books to Poetics, one on tragedy and a second on comedy. In the extant text there is no account of comedy. (Benardete & Davis 2002:xi:n3)

Primary witnesses

The now established convention accepts four primary witnesses to the text (texts that do not depend on any other extant source):

  1. The codex Parisinus Graecus 1741 (A), of about the middle or second part of the tenth century (its primacy was first recognized in 1867);
  2. the codex Riccardianus 46 (B), generally dated to the 13th or 14th century, but more probably of the first half of the 12th century (its primacy was first recognized in 1911);
  3. the Latin translation by Moerbeke (Lat.) finished in 1278 (its importance remained not recognized until 1931 and was not published until 1953);
  4. the Syro-Arabic translation (Ar.) by Abū-Bishr made before 934.

Both B and Ar. are incomplete (lacking folios; B starts at 3.1449a28). (Tarán 2012:36,133).

The Arabic translation of the Poetics has been known to exist for close to two centuries, and there have been repeated attempts to use this source by both classicists and orientalists, often working in tandem: Vahlen and Sachau, Immisch and Socin, Butcher and Margoliouth, Gudeman and Tkatsch, and Kassel and Walzer, to name the most prominent (Gutas 2012:xi), and most recently Tarán and Gutas (2012).

The first edition of the Greek text accepting all four texts as primary witnesses is Kassel (1965), which was recently revised by Tarán (2012) holding that all four of them descend, directly or indirectly, from a single manuscript (Ω) written seven to nine centuries after Aristotle.

Passages

2.1447a8-1448b3

Mimêsis is differentiated according to "in which" ("in what", heterois mimeisthai), "what" ("on what", hetera), and "how" (heterós), being translated variously as the means employed (matter, medium), the objects 'mimetised' (subject) and the manner in which the mimêsis is effected (mode, method).

Editions: Kassel 1965, Tarán 2012. Translations: Butcher 1895 EN, Whalley [c1970] 1997 EN, Benardete & Davis 2002 EN.

Benardete & Davis

On Poetics[1]

1.

[1447a] [8] Concerning poetics, both itself and its kinds,[2] what particular power each has, and how stories should be put together [10] if the poiêsis[3] is to be beautiful[4], and further from how many and from what sort of proper parts[5] it is, and likewise also concerning whatever else belongs to the same inquiry, let us speak, beginning first according to nature from the first things.

Now epic poetry[6] and the poiêsis of tragedy, and further comedy and the art of making dithyrambs,[7] and [15] most of the art of the flute and of the cithara are all in general imitations.[8] But imitations differ from one another in three ways, for they differ either by being imitations in different things, of different things, or differently and not in the same way. For just as some who make images imitate many things by colors and figures [20] (some through art and some through habit) and others through the voice, so also in the case of the arts mentioned, all make the imitation in rhythm and speech[9] and harmony, but these either apart or mixed together. For example, both the art of the flute and the art of the cithara [25] (and whatever others are of this sort with respect to their power, such as the art of the pipes) use only harmony and rhythm. But the art of dancers uses rhythm by itself apart from harmony (for they too through the rhythms of the shape of their movements imitate characters, sufferings,[10] and actions). On the other hand, the art using bare speeches[11] alone and the one using meters, [1447b] whether mixing them with one another or using some one family of meters, are in fact until now nameless. For we would not be able to give any name in common to the mimes[12] of Sophron and Xenarchus and the Socratic speeches, any more than if someone should make the imitation through trimeters or elegiacs or any other meters of that sort.[13] Human beings, however, in connecting the making with the meter, do name some elegiac poets and [15] other epic poets, not addressing them as poets with regard to the imitation, but with regard to the meter they have in common; for even if they publish something in meter about medicine or natural science, men are accustomed to call it by its meter. Hence it is just to call the one poet, but to call the other, rather than poet, one who gives an account of nature.[14] [20] And similarly, even if someone should make an imitation by mixing together all the meters, as Chaeremon made the Centaur a rhapsody mixed from all meters, one would also have to address him as poet.

Now, concerning these things, then, let them have been distinguished [25] in this way. For there are some which use all the things mentioned -- I mean [legô], for example, rhythm, song, and meter -- such as the poiêsis of dithyrambics and of nomes[15] and both tragedy and comedy. But they differ because some use all at the same time and others use them part by part. Now, among the arts I say [legô] the differences in what they make the imitation are these.

2.

[1448a] Since imitators imitate those acting, and since it is necessary for them to be either of stature[16] or inferior[17] (characters are pretty nearly always consequences of these alone, for everyone differs in point of character by vice or by virtue[18]), they imitate either those better than what is on [5] our level or worse or even the sort that are on our level, just as painters do. For Polygnotos used to make images of the better, while Pauson of the worse, and Dionysius of the similar.[19] And it is also clear that each of the aforesaid imitations will have these differences, and each will be different by imitating what is different in this way (for, as a matter [10] of fact, even in dance, in flute playing, and in cithara playing it is possible for these dissimilarities to occur as well as in the case of speeches and bare meter). Homer, for example, made them better, Cleophon similar, and Hegemon the Thasian, who first made parodies, and Nicochares, who made the Delias, worse. And in the case of [15] dithyrambs and nomes, someone might likewise imitate just as Timotheos and Philoxenus did the Cyclopes.[20] And by this very difference[21] tragedy too stands apart from comedy: the one wants to imitate those worse and the other those better than those now.

3.

Further, how someone might imitate each of these is a third difference of these. For even if the imitation is in the same things and of the same things, it is possible sometimes to imitate when reporting (either becoming some other as Homer does [poiei] as the same and not changing) or else to imitate with all those imitating[22] acting [prattontas] and [25] being in action [energountas].[23] As we said at the beginning, imitation, then, consists in these three differences: in which, what, and how. So in one sense as imitator Sophocles would be the same as Homer, for both imitate those of stature, while, in another, he would be the same as Aristophanes, for both imitate those acting [prattontas] and doing [drôntas]. From whence some say they are also called dramata[24] because they imitate those doing [drôntas]. It is [30] for this reason that the Dorians also make a claim[25] to tragedy and comedy (For the local Megarians make a claim to comedy as having emerged at the time of their democracy.[26] And those in Sicily make a claim to it, for Epicharmus, the poet, was from there; he was much earlier than [35] Chionides and Magnes.[27] And some of those in the Peloponnese make a claim to tragedy.) The Dorians make names the sign. For they say that they call their outlying district villages [kômai], while the Athenians call them demes, as if comedians or revel singers [kômôdoi] were so called not from reveling [kômazein] but by wandering from village to village [kata kômas], and driven in dishonor from [1448b] the town. And they say they name doing [poiein] dran, but that the Athenians name it prattein.[28] About the differences of imitation, then, both how many they are and of what they are, let these things have been said. (2002:1-8)

2.1449b24-1450a12

Tragedy is a mimêsis of a praxis.

Editions: Kassel 1965, Tarán 2012. Translations: Butcher 1895 EN, Whalley [c1970] 1997 EN, Benardete & Davis 2002 EN.

Benardete & Davis

6.

[..] Tragedy [25] is an imitation of an action that is of stature and complete, with magnitude, that, by means of sweetened speech,[29] but with each of its kinds separate in its proper parts, is of people acting[30] and not through report, and accomplishes through pity and fear the cleansing[31] of experiences of this sort.[32] I mean [legô] by "sweetened speech" that which has [30] rhythm, harmony, and song, and by "separate in its kinds" sometimes through meters alone accomplishing its task and again at other times through song. And (1) since they do [poiountai] the imitation by acting [prattontes], the ordered arrangement of the opsis[33] would in the first place be of necessity some proper part of tragedy. Next, (2) song-making and (3) talk would be as well, for they do [poiouontai] the imitation in these. By the putting together of the [35] meters, I mean [legô] talk in the strict sense, and by song-making I mean what has an altogether evident power. But, since imitation is of action, and it is acted by some who are acting who necessarily are of a certain sort with respect to (4) character and (5) thought[34] (for it is through these [1450a] that we say actions also are of a certain sort, and it is according to these that all are either fortunate or unfortunate), and (6) since the story is the imitation of the action, and thought and character are by nature the two causes of [5] actions[35] (for I mean [legô] this by story,[36] the putting together of events,[37] and I mean by characters that according to which we say those acting ar:e of a certain sort, and I mean by thoug ht that by which, while speaking, they demonstrate something or declare their judgment), it is necessary for there to be six parts of all tragedy according to which tragedy is of a certain sort. And these are story, [10] characters, talk, thought, opsis, and song-making. Two parts are those in which they imitate, one is how they imitate, and three are what they imitate, and besides these there are none. [..] (2002:17-20)

6.1460b6-32

The failed mimêsis in poiêtikê is the mistake either of poiêtikê itself (due to adunamia of the poietos) or of technê (when attempting the impossible).

Editions: Kassel 1965, Tarán 2012. Translations: Butcher 1895 EN, Whalley [c1970] 1997 EN, Benardete & Davis 2002 EN.

Benardete & Davis

25.

Concerning problems and solutions;[38] it should become apparent by contemplating them in the following way both out of how many and out of what kinds they are. For, since the poet [ποιητής] is an imitator [μιμητής], just as if he were a picture painter [ζώγραφος] or some other maker of images [εἰκονοποιός], it is necessary that [10] he always imitate [μιμέομαι] some one of three things in number; for he must imitate either: 1. what sort it was or is [οἷα ἦν ἢ ἔστιν], or 2. what sort they say it to be or it seems to be [οἷά φασιν καὶ δοκεῖ], or 3. what sort it should be [οἷα εἶναι δεῖ]. And these are reported in a talk in which there are foreign words, metaphors, and many modifications[39] of talk. For we allow these things to the poets. In addition to this, the same rightness [ὀρθότης] does not belong to the art of [15] politics and poetics anymore than to any other art and poetics. But there is a double mistake that belongs to poetics itself — one is in itself and the other is the accidental [συμβαίνω]. If his choice was right, but he fell short in the imitation on account of incapacity [ἀδυναμία], the mistake [ἁμαρτία] belongs to poetics itself; but if his choice was not right, and a horse has at once thrown both right legs forward at once, the mistake has occurred in a [20] particular art [τέχνη], for example, in medicine or any other art whatsoever, and then it is not a mistake of poetics in itself.[40] Hence one should solve[41] the problems the criticisms involve by looking at them on this basis. First, there are the criticisms directed against the art itself: "If it has made impossible things, it has made a mistake."[42] But it is [25] right if it achieves its own end [τέλος] (for the end has been stated), if in this way it makes this or another part more astounding [ἐκπληκτικός]. The pursuit of Hector is an example. If, however, it was either more, or not less, possible for the end to exist even in accordance with the art about these things, then it has not rightly made a mistake. For it ought, if it is possible, generally to be without any mistakes. Further, to which of the [30] two does the mistake belong? Is it according to art or according to something else accidental? For it is less if he did not know that a female deer does not have horns than if he depicted non-imitatively.[43] (2002:64-65)

Manuscripts

Page from Parisinus Graecus 1741. [1]
Page from Abū-Bishr, L'Organon, 1027. [2]
  • Parisinus Graecus 1741 [A], Gallica; photo-litographic reprint as La poétique d'Aristote: Manuscrit 1741 fonds grec de la Bibliothèque nationale, intro. Henri Omont, Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1891, IA. From about the middle or second part of the tenth century. Written on parchment. Known to have been in Italy by the 15th century (where it was brought from Constantinople). It was copied at least three times, thereby originating three families of manuscripts. (Tarán 2012:44). Today it is owned by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
  • Riccardianus 46 [B]. Generally dated to the 13th or 14th century, but more probably of the first half of the twelfth century. Known to have been in Italy by the 15th century, in several copies.
  • Moerbeke, Guillelmo de [William of Moerbeka], Aristoteles Latinus XXXIII. De Arte Poetica [Lat.], [1278]; repr., ed. Erse Valgimigli, Bruges and Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1953; rev.ed. by Laurent Minio-Paluello, Brussels and Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1968. (in Medieval Latin). Contained in two existing manuscripts, Etonensis 129, written in Italy c1300, and Toletanus, c1280. Its importance remained not recognized until 1931 and was not published until 1953. The original manuscript is anonymous, it was ascribed to Moerbeke by Minio-Paluello. Its Greek model has came to be labelled Φ.
  • Abū-Bishr Matta ibn-Yunus, "Poetica" [Ar.], in L'Organon, la Rhétorique et la Poétique d'Aristote, et l' Isagoge de Porphyre [Parisinus Arabus 2346], ed. Abū al-Khayr al-Ḥasan ibn Suwār Ibn al-Khammār, 1027, Gallica. (Arabic). The book reproduces Ibn Suwār ibn al-Khammār's copy of Yaḥyā b. 'Adī's autograph of the Organon and contains the text of Aristotle's logical works together with the exegesis of the Baghdad teachers in form of scholia. These include Ibn Suwār ibn al-Khammār's ones. The included translation of the Poetics was made before 934 from a Syriac translation of the Greek text by an unknown translator. The Syriac translation dates from the second half of the ninth century, and its Greek model came to be labelled Σ. (Tarán 2012:144). Gallica hosts a digitized copy of Arabic manuscript owned by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits.

Editions

  • Aldus Manutius, "Poetica", in Rhetores Graeci, ed. Demetrios Dukas, Venice, 1508, pp 269-287. The first printed edition, editio princeps. Most likely based on several manuscripts, primarily Parisinus Graecus 2038 (owned by Janus Lascaris who took part in preparing the Aldine edition; it is a distant copy of uncorrected version of Estensis Graecus α.T.3.3 [see below], with some corrections from Riccardianus 46), while incorporating also some readings from Ambrosianus Graecus B 78sup. The standard reference work until Bekker 1831; accepted with no awareness of its secondary and derivative nature. (Tarán 2012:46-47)
  • Bekker, Immanuel, "Περὶ ποιητικῆς", in Aristotelis opera. Volumen Secundum, Berlin: apud Georgium Reimerum, 1831, pp 1447-1462, IA, Google (reverse page order). Establishes pages, columns and line numbering which is still the norm, although numerous individual changes were accepted since then. Based on three manuscripts: Parisinus Graecus 1741 (still considered to be one of the four primary texts), (Vaticanus) Urbinas Graecus 47 and Marcianus Graecus 251 (both derivative works of the 15th century). (Tarán 2012:61-62)
  • Vahlen, Iohannes, Aristotelis de Arte Poetica Liber, Oxford and London: Parker, 1883, IA; Leipzig, 1885. Treats only Parisinus Graecus as a primary witness; although pays some attention to the Syro-Arabic translation (with the help of the orientalist E. Sachau).
  • Bywater, Ingram, Aristotelis De Arte Poetica, Recognovit brevique adnotatione critica instruxit, Oxford: Clarendon Press [E Typographeo Clarendoniano], 1897, IA; 1911, IA. The 1911 edition incorporates the changes he made in his 1909 edition (see below).
  • Rostagni, Augusto, Aristotele, la Poetica, con introduzione, commento e appendice critica, Turin, 1927; 2nd ed., Turin: Chiantore, 1945, 209 pp.
  • Gudeman, Alfred, Aristoteles: Περὶ ποιητικῆς, Berlin and Leipzig: Walter de Gruyter, 1934, 496 pp. Review.
  • Kassel, Rudolf, Aristotelis de arte poetica liber, Oxford: Clarendon Press [E Typographeo Clarendoniano], 1965, Perseus, TLG; repr., ed. D.W. Lucas, 1968; rev.ed., 1972; 1978; 1980, PDF. [text, intr., comm., app.]. Takes into account all four now-established primary witnesses to the text. Lucas's reprint (1968) omits Kassel's introduction. In the reprint, what was probably a printer’s accidental omission of γάρ after καί in 24.1459b10 has been corrected.
  • Tarán, Leonardo, and Dimitri Gutas, Aristotle: Poetics. Editio Maior of the Greek Text with Historical Introductions and Philological Commentaries, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012, Scribd. Greek and Latin edition of the Greek Text by Tarán, Arabic and Syriac by Gutas. Considers all four now-established primary witnesses to the text; holds that they descend, directly or indirectly, from a single manuscript (Ω) written seven to nine centuries after Aristotle in majuscule letters and in scriptio continua, that is without word separation, accents, breathings, and practically with no punctuation. (2012:32,35,148-149). Reviews: Shalev, Ford, McOsker. Publisher.

Translations

Arabic

  • Margoliouth, D.S., Analecta Orientalia ad Poeticam Aristoteleam, London: D. Nutt, 1887, IA. Contains Abū-Bishr's translation (contained in Parisinus Arabus 2346), its comparison to Parisinus Graecus 1741, and a number of commentaries.
  • Tkatsch, Jaroslaus, Die arabische Übersetzung der Poetik des Aristoteles, Vienna: Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1928; 2nd ed., 1932. Contains, inter alia, the text of Abū-Bishr's translation with a Latin translation and notes.
  • 'Ayyād, Shukrī Muhammad, Kitāb Arisṭūṭālīs fī sh-Shi'r, Cairo: Dār al-Kitāb al-'Arabī, 1952; 1967. An edition of Abū-Bishr's translation.
  • Badawī, 'Abdurraḥmān, Arisṭūṭālīs, Fann ash-shi'r, Cairo: Maktabat an-Nahḍa al-Miṣriyya, 1953; Beirut: Dār at-Taqāfa, 1973. An edition of Abū-Bishr's translation.

Medieval Latin

  • Valla, Giorgio, Venice, 1498. Trans. of Estensis Graecus α.T.3.3, a secondary manuscript (Gerardos of Patras's third iteration copy of Parisinus Graecus 1741), corrected partly according to the codex Dresdensis Graecus D 4, itself indirectly derived from a different branch of Parisinus Graecus 1741. Still, it did better than the Latin translation of Averroes and was read widely. (Tarán 2012:44-45)
  • Pazzi [Paccius], Alessandro de, Aristotelis poetica, ed. Guglielmo de Pazzi, Venice: Aldine Press, 1536, [3]; Paris, 1542, Gallica. The first modern book containing both the Greek text and the Latin translation of the Poetics alone, independently of any other work. Improves Valla's. Translated from a different Greek text than the one included in the book. (Tarán 2012:48-49)
  • Robortellus [Robortello], F., Francisci Robortelli Utinensis in librum Aristotelis De arte Poetica explicationes, Florence, 1548. The translation is Pazzi's, also includes the Greek text is based on the Aldine edition, both with Robortello's changes (consulting several manuscripts, although made under the influence of Horace's Ars Poetica). In addition, Robortello included a paraphrase of Ars Poetica and five essays: on satire, on the epigram, on comedy, on humor, and on the elegy. (Tarán 2012:49-51)
  • Madius [Maggi], V., Vincentii Madii Brixiani et Bartholomaei Lombardi Veronensis in Aristotelis librum De Poetica communes explanationes: Madii vero in eundem librum propriae annotationes, Venice, 1550, CASPUR. Translation and the Greek text by Maggi (heavily influenced by Horace's Ars Poetica), commentaries written together with Lombardi; with an essay on the Ars Poetica and another on comedy. Several manuscripts seem to have been consulted. (Tarán 2012:52-53)
  • Vettori [Victorius], Pietro, Commentarii in primum librum Aristotelis de arte poetarum, Florence, 1560. With his own version of the Greek text. Had been able to consult several manuscripts of the Poetics in the library of cardinal Ridolfi, including Parisinus Graecus 1741. He is considered the best Italian Hellenist of the sixteenth century. (Tarán 2012:53-54)
  • Hermann, Gottfried, Aristotelis de Arte Poetica liber cum commentariis, Leipzig, 1802. [text, tr., comm.]

Italian

  • Segni, Bernardo, Rettorica et poetica d’Aristotele, 1549. Based on Robortello's Latin translation rather than on the Greek text. [intr., tr., comm.]
  • Castelvetro, Ludovico, Poetica d’Aristotele vulgarizzata e sposta, Vienna, 1570; rev.ed., Basel, 1576; 2 Vols, Bari, 1978-79. Contains the first major commentary on the Poetics in Italian. Castelvetro’s views had a great impact in France, particularly on Ronsard. Castelvetro transposes the whole of the analysis from the world of art to the world of reality; notes that the Poetics is merely a first, incomplete draft or series of notes on the subject, so that it is necessary to complement it, something that his predecessors did not see. (Tarán 2012:54-57). Translates mimêsis as rassomiglianze, resemblance, and not as imitazione, then prevailing way. [text, tr., comm.]
  • Ellebodius, Nicasius [Nicaise Van Ellebode], In Aristotelis de Poetica paraphrasis, [1572]. Unpublished. Written probably in Pressburg. (Tarán 2012:57-58)
  • Piccolomini, Alessandro, Poetica, 1572.
  • Valgimigli, Manara, Aristotele Poetica, 2nd ed., Bari, 1934; repr. in Aristotele: Opere, 4th ed., vol. 10, Rome and Bari: Laterza, 1988, pp 191-271, Scribd.
  • Albegniani, Ferdinando, Aristotele La Poetica, Florence, 1934. [intr., tr., comm.]
  • Lanza, Diego, Aristotele, Poetica, Milan: BUR, 1987.
  • Paduano, Guido, 'Aristotele, Poetica, Bari: Laterza, 1998.
  • Zanatta, Marcello, "Poetica", in Retorica e Poetica, Turin: Utet, 2004.

French

  • Norville, La poétique d'Aristote, Paris: Thomas Moette, 1671, Gallica.
  • Dacier, André, La poétique d'Aristote, Paris: Claude Barbin, 1692, Gallica, Google; Amsterdam: J. Cóvens & C. Mortier, 1733, IA.
  • Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire, Jules, Poétique d'Aristote, Paris, 1858, IA, IA, IA.
  • Batteaux, Charles, Poétique d'Aristote, new ed., Paris: Jules Delalain, 1874, Gallica; 1875, Gallica. [4]
  • Cougny, Edme, Poétique d'Aristote: texte grec revu sur les meilleures éditions françaises et étrangères, Paris: Eugene Belin, 1874, IA.
  • Egger, Émile, Aristote: Poétique, Paris: Hachette et Cie, 1875, Gallica; 2nd ed., 1878, Gallica; 6th ed., 1878, Gallica.
  • Ruelle, Charles-Émile, "Poétique", in Poétique et Rhétorique, Paris: Garnier frères, 1883, Gallica, IA; 1922, WS-FR; 2006, HTML.
  • Hardy, Joseph, La Poétique, Paris: Les belles lettres, 1932, 99 pp; Paris: Les belles lettres, 1969; new ed., intro. Philippe Beck, Paris: Gallimard, 1996, 168 pp.
  • Dupont-Roc, Rosalyne, and Jean Lallot, Aristote, La poétique, Paris: Seuil, 1980, 466 pp. [text, tr., notes]
  • Laizé, Hubert, Aristote. Poétique, Paris: PUF, 1999.
  • Bellevue, Odette, and Séverine Aufret, Aristote. Poétique, Mille et une nuits,‎ 2006, 88 pp.

Spanish

  • Ordoñez, Alonso, La poetica de Aristoteles, Madrid: Antonio de Sancha, 1778, IA.
  • Muniain, José Goya, El Arte poética de Aristóteles, Madrid: Benito Cano, 1798, IA, WS-ES; repr. as El arte poética, Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1948; Buenos Aires, 1948, PDF; 7th ed., 1984.
  • Yebra, Valentín García, Poética de Aristóteles, Madrid: Gredos, 1974, Scribd; 1992, 542 pp.
  • Bacca, Juan David García, Aristóteles. Poética, Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonomia de Mexico, 1946, PDF; 4th ed., Caracas: Universidad Central de Venezuela, 1982.
  • Clota, Josep Alsina, Aristóteles. Poética, Barcelona: Icaria, 2nd ed, 1994; 2002, 80 pp; 2009.
  • Lluch, Santiago Ibáñez, Aristóteles. Poética, intro. Argimiro Martín, Valencia: Tilde, 1999, 96 pp, Scribd (trans. only).

English

  • Twining, Thomas, Poetica: Translated, with Notes on the Translation and on the Original, and Two Dissertations on Poetical and Musical Imitation, London, 1789. [tr., comm.]
  • [Anonym], Aristotle's Poetics: Literally Translated, with Explanatory Notes and an Analysis, London: G. & W.B. Whittaker, 1819, IA. [tr., comm.]
  • Butcher, S.H., Aristotle’s Theory of Poetry and Fine Arts, with a Critical Text and a Translation of the Poetics, London: Macmillan, 1895, 384 pp, IA; 2nd ed., 1898; 3rd ed., 1902; 4th ed., 1907; repr. with corrections 1911; 1920, IA, 421 pp; repr. 1923, IA; 1927; 1932, IA. [text, tr., comm.]. The version without Butcher's essay published as The Poetics of Aristotle, London: Macmillan, 1895, 105 pp, IA; 2nd ed., 1898, 111 pp, IA; 3nd ed., 1902, 111 pp, IA; 4th ed., 1907; 1911; 1917; 1920; 1922, 111 pp, IA; 2008, PG. [text, tr.]. The Greek text is based on Bywater's edition, Parisinus Graecus 1741, and Margoliouth's Arabic readings. The 1911 printing of the full volume became widely referred to in the English speaking world, where it became influential, especially among literary critics. (Tarán 2012:67)
  • Bywater, Ingram, Aristotle on the Art of Poetry. A Revised Text, with Critical Introduction, Translation and Commentary, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909, IA; 1920; 2009, PG. [text, tr., comm.]. The Greek text is an updated version of Bywater's 1897 edition (see above). Treats only Parisinus Graecus 1741 as a primary witness; although pays some attention to the Syro-Arabic translation (Margoliouth's 1887 edition). Particularly valuable is his commentary. (Tarán 2012:66-67)
  • Margoliouth, D.S., The Poetics. Translated from Greek into English and from Arabic into Latin with a Revised Text, Introduction, Commentary, Glossary and Onomasticon, London/New York/Toronto: Hodder and Stoughton, 1911, IA. [tr., comm.]. Proves that Riccardianus 46 is a primary witness to the text. (Tarán 2012:67-68)
  • Cooper, L., Aristotle on the Art of Poetry. An amplified version with supplementary illustrations, Boston, 1913; rev. ed., Ithaca, NY, 1947.
  • Fyfe, W. Hamilton, Aristotle, The Poetics, Vol 23 of Aristotle in 23 Volumes, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, and London: W. Heinemann, 1932, Perseus.
  • Epps, Preston H., The Poetics of Aristotle, Chapel Hill, NC, 1942.
  • Potts, L.J., Aristotle on the Art of Fiction, Cambridge, 1953; 2nd ed., 1959.
  • Grube, G.M.A., Aristotle on Poetry and Style, New York, 1958.
  • Telford, K.A., Aristotle's Poetics. Translation and Analysis, Chicago, 1961; Lanham, MD, 1985.
  • Dorsch, T.E., "Aristotle Poetics", in Aristotle, Horace, Longinus. Classical Literary Criticism, Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 1965.
  • Else, Gerald, Aristotle: Poetics. Translated with an Introduction and Notes, Ann Arbor, 1967.
  • Golden, Leon, and O.B. Hardison, Aristotle's Poetics: A Translation and Commentary for Students of Literature, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1968.
  • Hubbard, Margaret, "Aristotle: Poetics", in Ancient Literary Criticism, eds. D.A. Russell and M. Winterbottom, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972, pp 85-132, PDF; repr. in Classical Literary Criticism, eds. D.A. Russell and M. Winterbottom, Oxford: Oxford World's Classics, 1989, pp 51-90.
  • Hutton, James, Aristotle's Poetics, New York: W.W. Norton, 1982. [tr., comm.]
  • Halliwell, Stephen, Aristotle's Poetics: With a New Introduction, London: Duckworth, 1986; University of Chicago Press, 1986; London: Duckworth, 1998. [tr., comm.] [5]
  • Janko, Richard, Aristotle, Poetics I, with The Tractatus Coislinianus, A Hypothetical Reconstruction of Poetics II, The Fragments of the On Poets, Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987. [tr., comm.] [6]
  • Halliwell, Stephen, "Aristotle Poetics", in Stephen Halliwell et al., Aristotle, Poetics. Longinus, On the Sublime. Demetrius, On Style, Cambridge, MA: Loeb Classical Library, 1995, PDF. [text, tr.]
  • Heath, Malcolm, Aristotle: Poetics, Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 1996, 144 pp, ARG. [tr., comm.]
  • Whalley, George, Aristotle's Poetics, eds. John Baxter and Patrick Atherton, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997, Scribd. Translated from Greek by 1970 but remained unpublished until 1997. Based on Kassel's 1966 edition of the Greek text, accepting almost all errata introduced by Else 1957.
  • Benardete, Seth, and Michael Davis, On Poetics, South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine's Press, 2002, Scribd.
  • Sachs, Joe, Poetics, Newburyport, MA: Focus, 2006, Scribd. Encyclopedic entry on the Poetics by the author.
  • Gupta, Amlan Das, Aristotle Poetics, Pearson Education/Dorling Kindersley, 2007. [7]
  • Kenny, Anthony, Aristotle Poetics, Oxford World's Classics, 2013. [tr., comm.]

Russian

  • Ordynskiy, B.I. (Б. И. Ордынский), Aristotel. O poezii [Аристотель. О поэзии], Moscow, 1854, 134 pp. [tr., comm.]
  • Zacharov, V.I. (В. И. Захаров), Poetika Aristotelya [Поэтика Аристотеля], Warsaw, 1885. [tr., comm.]
  • Appelrot, B.G. (В. Г. Аппельрот), Aristotel. Ob iskusstve poezii [Аристотель. Об искусстве поэзии], Moscow, 1893, 97 pp. [text, tr., comm.]. New ed., ed. & comm. F.A. Petrovskiy (Ф. А. Петровский), Moscow: Goslitizdat, 1957, 183 pp; repr. as "Poetika", in Aristotel. Ritorika. Poetika [Аристотель. Риторика. Поэтика], Moscow: Labirint, 2000, pp 149-180, n189, DJVU.
  • Novosadskiy, N.I. (Н. И. Новосадский), Aristotel. Poetika [Аристотель. Поэтика], Leningrad: Academia, 1927, 120 pp, WS-RU. [tr., comm.]
  • Gasparov, M.L. (М. Л. Гаспаров), Aristotel. Poetika [Аристотель. Поэтика], Moscow, 1978; 2nd ed. in Aristotel. Sochineniya v 4 t., T. 4 [Аристотель. Сочинения в 4 т., Т. 4], Moscow: Mysl, 1983.
  • Pozdnev, M.M. (М. М. Позднев), Aristotel. Poetika [Аристотель. Поэтика], St Petersburg: Amfora, 2008, 320 pp.

German

  • Walz, Christian, "Die Poetik", 2nd ed., in Ausgewählte Schriften des Aristoteles, enthaltend die Poetik, die Politik, Stuttgart: Metzler, 1859, IA.
  • Stahr, Adolf, Aristoteles Poetik, Stuttgart: Krais & Hoffmann, 1860, IA, IA.
  • Susemihl, Franz, Aristoteles Über die Dichtung, Leipzig, 1865; 2nd ed., 1874. [text, tr., notes]
  • Stich, Johannes, Die Poetik des Aristoteles, Leipzig: Reclam, 1887, IA.
  • Gomperz, Theodor, Aristoteles' Poetik, Leipzig: Veit, 1897, IA, IA.
  • Gudeman, Alfred, Aristoteles über die Dichtkunst, Leipzig, 1921, PG. [8]
  • Fuhrmann, Manfred, Aristoteles Poetik, 1976; 2nd ed., Stuttgart: Reclam, 1982; 1994. [text, tr.]
  • Schmitt, Arbogast, Aristoteles: Poetik, Berlin: Akademie, 2008, 820 pp.

Croatian

  • Pavić, Armin, Aristotelova Poetika, Zagreb: Štamparna D. Albreht, 1869, 103 pp.
  • Kuzmić, Martin, Aristotelova Poetika, Zagreb: Martin Kuzmić, 1902, 82 pp; Zagreb: Naklada hrv.-slav.-dal. zemaljske vlade, 1912, 298 pp; repr. as Aristotel. Nauk o pjesničkom umijeću, Zagreb: Studentski centar Sveučilišta, 1977, 298 pp. [tr., comm.]
  • Dukat, Zdeslav, Aristotel, O pjesničkom umijeću, Zagreb: SNL, 1979; Zagreb: August Cesarec, 1983, 490 pp; Zagreb: Školska knjiga, 2005, 459 pp.

Czech

  • Vychodil, Pavel Josef, Aristotelova kniha o básnictví, 1884; 2nd ed., Brno, 1892. [tr., comm.]
  • Groh, František, Aristotelova Poetika, Praha: Společnost přátel antické kultury, 1929, 75 pp; Prague: Gryf, 1993, 67 pp. [tr., comm.]
  • Nováková, Julie, Poetika, Orbis, 1962, PDF; 2nd ed., 1964.
  • Kříž, Antonín, Poetika: o básnické tvorbě, Prague: Jan Laichter, 1948, 123 pp; repr. as "Poetika", in Rétorika / Poetika, Prague: Petr Rezek, 1999, pp 321-436, DJVU. [tr., comm.]
  • Mráz, Milan, Aristotelés Poetika, Prague: Svoboda, 1996, 226 pp; Prague: Oikoymenh, 2008, 289 pp. [tr., comm.]

Swedish

  • Norlind, Wilhelm, Aristoteles'om Diktkonsten, Lund: C.W.K. Gleerups, 1927, 75 pp.
  • Stolpe, Jan, Om diktkonsten, Göteborg: Anamma, 1994, 90 pp, Scribd; 2000.

Slovak

  • Okál, Miloslav, Poetica, Turčiansky Sv. Martin: Matica slovenská, 1944; repr. as "Poetika", in Poetika. Rétorika. Politika, Bratislava: Tatran, 1980; repr. in Láska k múdrosti, Rohovce: Interpopulart Slovakia, 1995, pp 7-54; repr. Martin: Thetis, 2009, 148 pp. [tr., comm.] [9]

Serbian

  • Đurić, Miloš N., Aristotel, O pesničkoj umetnosti, 2nd ed., Belgrade: Naučna knjiga, 1948, 129 pp; 3rd ed., Belgrade: Kultura, 1955, 158 pp, Scribd; Belgrade: Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva, 1988; Dereta, 2002; Dereta, 2008, 240 pp.

Portuguese

  • Sousa, Eudoro de, Poética, Lisbon: Guimarães, 1951; Porto Alegre: Globo, 1966; São Paulo: Abril, 1973; Lisboa: Imprensa nacional/Casa da moeda, 1986, PDF, Scribd; São Paulo: Ars Poetica, 1992, Scribd; 7th ed., Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 2003, Scribd. [10]
  • Barriviera, Alessandro, Poética, UNICAMP, 2006.
  • Gazoni, Fernando Maciel, Poética, University of São Paulo, 2006.
  • Bini, Edson, Poética, São Paulo: Edipro, 2011. [tr., comm.]

Romanian

  • Balmuș, C.I., Aristotel, Poetica, Bucharest: Științifică, 1957, PDF, DJVU. [11]
  • Pippidi, D.M., Aristotel, Poetica, Bucharest: Academiei, 1965; new ed., Bucharest: IRI, 1998, PDF, Scribd. [tr., comm.]

Norwegian

  • Ledsaak, Sam., Om diktekunsten, Oslo: Tanum, 1961, 96 pp, NB; new ed., Oslo: Grøndahl og Dreyer, 1997, 116 pp, NB.
  • Andersen, Øivind, Poetikk, Oslo: Vidarforlaget, 2008, 159 pp. [tr., comm.]

Danish

  • Harsberg, Erling, Om digtekunsten, Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1970; 2nd ed., 1975, 86 pp.
  • Helms, Poul, Poetik, Copenhagen: Hans Reitzel, ed. Peter Thielst, 1993; 3rd ed., 1997; 8th ed., 2009, 90 pp.
  • Henningsen, Niels, Poetikken, Frederiksberg: Det lille Forlag, 2004; 2005; 2008; 2011, 190 pp.

Polish

  • Podbielski, Henryk, Arystoteles. Poetyka, Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, 1983; 2nd ed., 1989. Repr. in Arystoteles. Retoryka. Poetyka, Warsaw, 1988.

Commentaries

See also commentaries in editions and translations.

  • Avicenna, al-Shi'er, c1020. Reprint ed. 'Abdurraḥmān Badawī, Cairo: al-Dār al-Miṣriyyah Li al-Tā'līf Wa al-Tarjamah, 1966. (Arabic)
    • Avicenna's Commentary on the Poetics of Aristotle: A Critical Study with an Annotated Translation of the Text, trans. Ismail M. Dahiyat, Brill, 1974. [12]
  • Averroes, c1174. (Arabic). First printed 1481.
    • trans. Hermannus Alemannus, Toledo, [1256]. (Latin). Repr. Minio-Paluello, 1968. This was the work from which knowledge of the Poetics derived in the West up to the second quarter of the 15th century (and somewhat later as well), when the Greek manuscripts reached Italy.
    • Averroes' Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Poetics, trans. Charles Butterworth, St. Augustines Press, 2nd ed., 1999, 178 pp.
  • Vahlen, Iohannes, Aristotelis De arte poetica liber, Berlin, 1867; 1874, IA. Recognized the authority of Parisinus Graecus 1741, assuming it was the only primary witness to the text.
  • Spengel, Leonhard, "Aristotelischen Studien, IV. Poetik", ABAW 11 (1868), pp 269-346. (German). The paper was submitted in 1865, published in 1867, but is part of vol. 11 (1868). Recognized the authority of Parisinus Graecus 1741, assuming it was the only primary witness to the text.
  • Vahlen, Johannes, Beiträge zu Aristoteles Poetik, Leipzig: Teubner, 1914. (German). Preceded by the four-part text under the same title, Vienna, 1865-67, BSB.
  • Svoboda, Karel, L'esthétique d'Aristote, Brno: Faculty of Philosophy, 1927, 212 pp, PDFs. (French)
  • Lobel, E., The Greek Manuscripts of Aristotle’s Poetics, London: Oxford University Press, 1933. Contains a classification of the extant Greek manuscripts of the Poetics written during the 15th and 16th centuries was established. Lobel’s conclusion was that the only extant two primary Greek manuscripts were Parisinus Graecus 1741 and Riccardianus 46, and that all other Greek manuscripts were directly or indirectly derived from PG. Similar conclusion in Harlfinger, D. and D. Reinsch, "Die Aristotelica des Parisinus Gr. 1741. Zur Überlieferung von Poetik, Rhetorik, Physiognomonik, De Signis, De ventorum situ", Philologus 114 (1970), pp 28-50.
  • Montmollin, Daniel de, La Poétique d'Aristote: texte primitif et additions ultérieurs, Neuchatel, 1951. (French)
  • Else, Gerald F., Aristotle's Poetics: the Argument, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, with State University of Iowa, 1957, DJVU. Based on Rostagni's 2nd ed. (1945), but modifies it. Accompanied by the extensive commentary. Chapters 16, 19 (second half)-22 and 25 are omitted. [text, tr., comm.] Review: Combellack (1959).
  • Weinberg, Bernard, A History of Literary Criticism in the Italian Renaissance (1961). Contains a thorough study of the interpretation of the Poetics during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, pp 349-634.

Resources

Notes

  1. "Poetics" translates poiêtikê; it is the art of poiein, which means first to make or do and secondarily to make poetry. Poiêsis, the product of poiein, frequently takes on the narrower meaning of poetry. Articulating the full meaning of poiêtikê is the task that Aristotle sets himself in the book that comes down to us in the English tradition as On Poetics. Because of the weight of this tradition and the obvious concern of the book with poetry and especially tragedy, we have retained this translation. However it should be kept in mind that poiein is a very common verb in Greek, and that in principle the art dealing with it could have as much to do with making or action as with poetry in the narrower sense. Where an ambiguity of meaning seems possibly intentional, the Greek verb will be placed in brackets after the translation. Virtually every occurrence in the translation of any form of the verb "to make" is a rendering of the Greek poiein, and all appearances of English words cognate with "poet" are translations of words cognate with poiein. It is perhaps significant that the only time poiêtikê is coupled with technê (art or craft) is at the end (1460b14), for it is precisely there that Aristotle distinguishes poiêtikê from any other art. At 1447a19-20 Aristotle indicates that imitation comes to be not only by art but also by habit.
  2. The word is eidos. In Plato it is used for "form" or "idea." Elsewhere in Aristotle it is used for "species," especially as opposed to genos, genus. Eidos is regularly translated as "kind." Where the context demands another translation, eidos follows in parentheses. Its cognate and almost synonym, idea, will be translated as "form."
  3. The meaning of poiêsis ranges from "making" or "something made" to "poetry." We have transliterated it to avoid prematurely narrowing this range. See footnote 1 above.
  4. The Greek word here is kalôs. In its adjectival form, kalon, it means both beautiful and noble. We will translate it by both; sometimes together, sometimes, where the context demands, we will choose one or the other. Wherever another word is translated by "noble," the Greek term will follow the translation in brackets; "beautiful" will always translate kalon. The opposite of kalon, aischron, means both shameful and ugly; it will be translated similarly either by the conjunction of the two terms or as context demands by one or the other. "Ugly" will always translate aischron; wherever "shameful" translates another Greek word, the original will follow in brackets. The adverb aischrôs will be translated similarly.
  5. Morion will be translated as "proper part." Meros will be translated as "part" although when "part" occurs in the translation it need not mean that meros occurs in the Greek text. Aristotle discusses the difference between the two terms in The Parts of Animals, which might be translated more accurately as The Proper Parts of Animals.
  6. The Greek epopoiia combines epos, epic, and a word cognate with the verb poiein.
  7. The Greek dithurambopoiêtikê once again combines the word for dithyramb with a cognate of poiein.
  8. "Imitation" translates mimêsis; "to imitate" translates the verb mimeisthai. The entirety of On Poetics could be understood as an attempt to articulate the importance of mimêsis for understanding human nature. Of the approximately 115 occurrences of the term in Aristotle, some 80 are in On Poetics. Mimêsis, mimêma, and mimeisthai occur about 300 times in Plato.
  9. Logos will ordinarily be rendered by "speech" and legein by "to speak"; where it is necessary to translate them otherwise, the transliterated Greek text will be supplied in brackets.
  10. "Suffering" translates pathos throughout; however it has a range of meaning from "experiencing" or "undergoing" to "suffering."
  11. Bare, or psiloi, speeches are those that are unmetrical.
  12. Mimos, while apparently restricted here to a specific type of mimêsis, or imitation, would be the most obvious name for the entire class. Sophron wrote male and female mimes.
  13. Athenaeus alludes to this passage at 11.112 (505C): "Aristotle in his About the Poets writes as follows: 'Are we not to assert that the completely unmetrical mimes of Sophron are stories (logoi) and imitations, or those of Alexamenus the Tean written before the Socratic dialogues?'"
  14. The Greek is phusiologos.
  15. Nomos initially means "melody" and later comes to mean "song," including both words and music. It also means law or custom.
  16. Spoudaios has a range of meanings: good, earnest, serious, weighty, etc. It is an important term in On Poetics and will be translated throughout by "of stature."
  17. Phaulos means low, base, paltry, trivial, etc. It will be translated throughout by "inferior."
  18. See Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics 1145a15-33 and 1148b15-34 in Appendix 6 [in the book].
  19. See Aristotle's Politics 1340a14-b17 in Appendix 5 [in the book].
  20. We have omitted gas at 1448a15.
  21. We have accepted Casaubon's addition so that the text reads autêi de tautêi têi diaphorai.
  22. Some editors believe that the phrase "those imitating" is either corrupt or interpolated. Aristotle seems to be bringing out the curious fact that, if one disregards exits and entrances, despite being an "imitation of action," tragedy contains no action in the literal sense. The definition thus refers to the plot as an action.
  23. Aristotle uses the verb energein here; its cognate noun, energeia, is an important term in Aristotle, literally indicating something that has its ergon (work, deed, function) within itself, that is, something complete and at the same time at work or in motion. See, for example, Metaphysics 9.1-6.
  24. Dramata are in the broad sense "doings" and in the narrower sense "dramas."
  25. The word is antipoiountai, again a compound of the verb poiein. It can also mean "to exert oneself over" or "to have something done in return to one"; etymologically it might be construed as "antipoetize."
  26. Aristotle discusses Megarian comedy at Nicomachean Ethics 1123a20-24: "The vulgar man spends a lot in small expenditures and strikes a false note in making a brilliant display, in feasting, for example, his picnic-guests on the lavish scale of a wedding, and in underwriting a comic chorus introduces purple in the parodos, as those in Megara do." The scholium on this passage runs: "It was usual to make leather skins as the screens in comedy and not purple. ... The Megarians are ridiculed in comedy, since they also claim that comedy was first discovered by them, inasmuch as the one who started comedy was Susarion the Megarian. They are disparaged as vulgar and tasteless and for using purple in the parodos. Aristophanes, at any rate, in mocking them, says somewhere, 'No stolen joke from Megara.' Ecphantides the oldest poet of old comedy says, 'I shall not go through a song of Megarian comedy; I am ashamed to make a Megarian drama.' It is shown on all sides that the Megarians are the inventors of comedy."
  27. Epicharmus is mentioned in Plato's Theaetetus (152e1-5); Socrates is speaking about the Heraclitean thesis: "Nothing ever is, but everything is always becoming. All of the wise, with the exception of Parmenides, occur about this, Protagoras, Heraclitus, and Empedocles, and of the poets, those who are tip-top in each kind of poetry, Epicharmus of comedy, and Homer, of tragedy." He is also mentioned in Iamblichus's Life of Pythagoras (36.266): "Epicharmus too was one of the external auditors [of the Pythagoreans], but he did not belong to the inner circle. On his arrival in Syracuse, he abstained from philosophizing openly on account of the tyranny of Hiero, but he put into meter the thoughts of the Pythagoreans, making known their secret doctrines playfully."
  28. The verb dran is common in Aristotle and in Attic authors generally. This passage is the only evidence we have that it is of Doric origin.
  29. We have followed the suggestion Professor Gregory Sifakis in a lecture at New York University that hêdusmenôi logoi is an instrumental dative.
  30. The word is drôntôn, the present genitive plural participle of the verb dran.
  31. "Cleansing" is katharsis; Aristotle treats it at somewhat more length at Politics 1342a5-16. See Appendix 1f. Many believe that its definition dropped out after "through song" below.
  32. "Experiences" translates pathêmata, which has the same root as pathos, translated as "suffering." Pathêmata also occurs at 1459b11, where, however, it has the same meaning as pathos.
  33. The Greek is ho tês opseôs kosmos. Kosmos means "order" or "the order" -- i.e., the cosmos. It may also mean "adornment." Opsis (plural opseis) means primarily "spectacle" here, but may also refer to the faculty of sight or even to the visage (we have transliterated it throughout to preserve this range of meaning). Ho tês opseôs kosmos clearly refers, in the first instance, to the way in which the visible features of drama are arranged on the stage and includes such things as scenery and costumes but also the entrances and exits of the actors.
  34. "Character" is êthos, and "thought" is dianoia; these terms are introduced by Aristotle at the beginning of Nicomachean Ethics Book 2 to designate respectively moral and intellectual virtue.
  35. Following tentative suggestion of Vahlen we have moved this clause -- "and thought and character are by nature the two causes of actions" - here from 1450a1; this requires emending pephuken to read pephuked'. This change solves the puzzle of the strangely repetitive character of the text from 1449b6 to 1450a3 and also avoids a men solitarium at 1450d3. In addition it has interesting consequences for the way the argument builds toward the primacy of story among the proper parts of tragedy.
  36. The word is muthos; Aristotle uses it in a distinctive way here, for it means not only story or tale but also its composition. Muthos originally means "word," "speech," or "something said." Later it comes to mean "story" or "tale" and is opposed to logos -- "rational account." It is significant that it is used to describe stories that deal with the gods. In On Poetics, Aristotle gives it the more technical meaning of "plot," while at the same time he diminishes the role of the divine in tragedy almost to the point of its disappearance. We have translated muthos as "story" throughout as a reminder of how radical an innovation Aristotle's understanding of plot is. Muthos as "plot" occurs nowhere prior to Aristotle. Elsewhere in Aristotle muthos has one of two meanings: either something remarkable or of a divine cause. On the relation of muthos to logos with respect to the divine and to tragedy consider the following excerpt from Plato's Cratylus (408b8-d2):
    Socrates: And the likely, my comrade, holds Pan to be the double-natured son of Hermes.
    Hermogenes: How is that?
    Socrates: You know that logos signifies everything and is always circling and revolving around everything, and is double, true and false.
    Hermogenes: Yes, of course.
    Socrates: Isn't the case that the true part of it is smooth, divine, and dwells above among the gods; but the false dwells below among the many of human beings and is rough and tragic; for most muthoi and falsehoods are there, about the tragic life.
    Hermogeries: Yes, of course.
    Socrates: Then rightly would he who reveals everything (pan) and is always (aei) revolving (polôn) be Pan goatherd (aipolos), the double-natured son of Hermes, whose upper part is smooth, the lower rough and goatlike (tragoeidês).
  37. "Event" is pragma. Pragmata is "the business at hand," but the word, like praxis, derives from the verb "to act" -- prattein. Pragmata therefore in some sense stand to praxis as do things done to the doing of them.
  38. "Solution" translates lusis, previously rendered as "unraveling."
  39. Pathos is translated as "modification" here; it is a technical rhetorical term. Elsewhere it has been translated in its more general sense of "suffering."
  40. There is a gap in the text in this sentence. We are translating Kassel's text with Vahlen's addition.
  41. The verb is luein, elsewhere translated as "unravel."
  42. We are translating Vahlen's emendation here.
  43. Aelian in his de natura animalium 7.39 cites several poets (Sophocles, Sophillus, Euripides, Pindar, Anacreon) who assigned horns to a female deer, and he goes on to remark that the grammarian Aristophanes of Byzantium weighed in on the side of the poets. [...]