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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.



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.



[1447a] I propose to treat of Poetry in itself and of its various kinds, noting the essential quality of each; to inquire into the structure of the plot as requisite to a good poem; into the number and nature of the parts of which a poem is composed; and similarly into whatever else falls within the same inquiry. Following, then, the order of nature, let us begin with the principles which come first.

[2] Epic poetry and Tragedy, Comedy also and Dithyrambic poetry, and the music of the flute and of the lyre in most of their forms, are all in their general conception [3] modes of imitation. They differ, however, from one another in three respects,—the medium, the objects, the manner or mode of imitation, being in each case distinct.

[4] For as there are persons who, by conscious art or mere habit, imitate and represent various objects through the medium of colour and form, or again by the voice; so in the arts above mentioned, taken as a whole, the imitation is produced by rhythm, language, or 'harmony,' either singly or combined.

Thus in the music of the flute and of the lyre, 'harmony' and rhythm alone are employed; also in other arts, such as that of the shepherd's pipe, which [5] are essentially similar to these. In dancing, rhythm alone is used without 'harmony'; for even dancing imitates character, emotion, and action, by rhythmical movement.

[6] There is another art which imitates by means of language alone, and that either in prose or verse—which, [1447b] verse, again, may either combine different metres or consist of but one kind—but this has hitherto been without a name. For there is no common term we could apply to [7] the mimes of Sophron and Xenarchus and the Socratic dialogues on the one hand; and, on the other, to poetic imitations in iambic, elegiac, or any similar metre. People do, indeed, add the word 'maker' or 'poet' to the name of the metre, and speak of elegiac poets, or epic (that is, hexameter) poets, as if it were not the imitation that makes the poet, but the verse that [8] entitles them all indiscriminately to the name. Even when a treatise on medicine or natural science is brought out in verse, the name of poet is by custom given to the author; and yet Homer and Empedocles have nothing in common but the metre, so that it would be right to call the one poet, the other physicist rather than poet. [9] On the same principle, even if a writer in his poetic imitation were to combine all metres, as Chaeremon did in his Centaur, which is a medley composed of metres of all kinds, we should bring him too under the general term poet. So much then for these distinctions.

[10] There are, again, some arts which employ all the means above mentioned, namely, rhythm, tune, and metre. Such are Dithyrambic and Nomic poetry, and also Tragedy and Comedy; but between them the difference is, that in the first two cases these means are all employed in combination, in the latter, now one means is employed, now another.

Such, then, are the differences of the arts with respect to the medium of imitation. (1895:7-11)


Tragedy is a mimêsis of a praxis.

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



[..] [2] Tragedy [..] is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and [3] fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions. By 'language embellished,' I mean language into which rhythm, 'harmony,' and song enter. By 'the several kinds in separate parts,' I mean, that some parts are rendered through the medium of verse alone, others again with the aid of song.

[4] Now as tragic imitation implies persons acting, it necessarily follows, in the first place, that Spectacular equipment will be a part of Tragedy. Next, Song and Diction, for these are the medium of imitation. By 'Diction' I mean the mere metrical arrangement of the words: as for 'Song,' it is a term whose sense every one understands.

[5] Again, Tragedy is the imitation of an action; and an action implies personal agents, who necessarily possess certain distinctive qualities both of character and thought; for it is by these that we qualify actions themselves, and these—thought and character—are the two natural causes from which actions spring, and on actions again [6] all success or failure depends. Hence, the Plot is the imitation of the action:—for by plot I here mean the arrangement of the incidents. By Character I mean that in virtue of which we ascribe certain qualities to the agents. Thought is required wherever a statement is proved, or, it may be, a general truth enunciated. [7] Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its quality—namely, Plot, Character, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, Song. Two of the parts constitute the medium of imitation, one the manner, and three the objects of imitation. And these complete the list. [..] (1895:23-25)


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.



With respect to critical difficulties and their solutions, the number and nature of the sources from which they may be drawn may be thus exhibited.

The poet being an imitator, like a painter or any other artist, must of necessity imitate one of three objects,—things as they were or are, things as they are said or thought to be, or things as they ought to be. [2] The vehicle of expression is language,—either current terms or, it may be, rare words or metaphors. There are also many modifications of language, which we [3] concede to the poets. Add to this, that the standard of correctness is not the same in poetry and politics, any more than in poetry and any other art. Within the art of poetry itself there are two kinds of faults, those which touch its essence, and those which are accidental. [4] If a poet has chosen to imitate something, (but has imitated it incorrectly) through want of capacity, the error is inherent in the poetry. But if the failure is due to a wrong choice if he has represented a horse as throwing out both his off legs at once, or introduced technical inaccuracies in medicine, for example, or in any other art the error is not essential to the poetry. These are the points of view from which we should consider and answer the objections raised by the critics.

[5] First as to matters which concern the poet's own art. If he describes the impossible, he is guilty of an error; but the error may be justified, if the end of the art be thereby attained (the end being that already mentioned), if, that is, the effect of this or any other part of the poem is thus rendered more striking. A case in point is the pursuit of Hector. If, however, the end might have been as well, or better, attained without violating the special rules of the poetic art, the error is not justified: for every kind of error should, if possible, be avoided.

Again, does the error touch the essentials of the poetic art, or some accident of it? For example,—not to know that a hind has no horns is a less serious matter than to paint it inartistically. [..] (1895:97-99)


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.


  • 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.



  • 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.]


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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).


  • 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.]


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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, PDF. [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, PDF (part). [tr., comm.]


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


  • 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]


  • 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.


  • 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.]


  • 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. [tr., comm.]


  • 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.]


  • 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.


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


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.