1st Edition

The Poetics in its Aristotelian Context

Edited By Pierre Destrée, Malcolm Heath, Dana L. Munteanu Copyright 2020
    276 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume integrates aspects of the Poetics into the broader corpus of Aristotelian philosophy. It both deals with some old problems raised by the treatise, suggesting possible solutions through contextualization, and also identifies new ways in which poetic concepts could relate to Aristotelian philosophy.

    In the past, contextualization has most commonly been used by scholars in order to try to solve the meaning of difficult concepts in the Poetics (such as catharsis, mimesis, or tragic pleasure). In this volume, rather than looking to explain a specific concept, the contributors observe the concatenation of Aristotelian ideas in various treatises in order to explore some aesthetic, moral and political implications of the philosopher’s views of tragedy, comedy and related genres. Questions addressed include: Does Aristotle see his interest in drama as part of his larger research on human natures? What are the implications of tragic plots dealing with close family members for the polis? What should be the role of drama and music in the education of citizens? How does dramatic poetry relate to other arts and what are the ethical ramifications of the connections? How specific are certain emotions to literary genres and how do those connect to Aristotle’s extended account of pathe? Finally, how do internal elements of composition and language in poetry relate to other domains of Aristotelian thought?

    The Poetics in its Aristotelian Context offers a fascinating new insight to the Poetics, and will be of use to anyone working on the Poetics, or Aristotelian philosophy more broadly.


    Pierre Destrée and Dana L. Munteanu

    Part 1. Aristotle’s Aesthetics: Poetry and Other Arts – Tradition and Innovation

    1. Poetry and Biology: The Anatomy of Tragedy

    Andrea Capra

    2. To Kalon and the Experience of Art

    Hallvard J. Fossheim

    3. Aesthetic Emotions

    David Konstan

    4. Was Phthonos a Comedic Emotion for Aristotle? On the Pleasure and Moral Psychology of Laughter

    Franco V. Trivigno

    5. Painting as an Aesthetic Paradigm

    Elsa Bouchard

    Part 2. Poetics, Politics and Ethics: Links and Independence

    6. Family Bounds, Political Community and Tragic Pathos

    Pierre Destrée

    7. Is there a Poetics in the Politics?

    Thornton Lockwood

    8. Varieties of Characters: The Better, the Worse, and the Like

    Dana L. Munteanu

    9. The Ethical Context of Poetics 5: Comic Error and Lack of Self-Control

    Valeria Cinaglia

    Part 3. Language and Content: Poetic Puzzles in Philosophical Context

    10. Taxonomic Flexibility: Metaphor, Genos, and Eidos

    Thomas Cirillo

    11. Poetry and Historia

    Silvia Carli


    12. Reading the Poetics in Context

    Malcolm Heath


    Pierre Destrée is an Associate FNRS Research Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the University of Louvain. He has published a French translation with commentary of the Poetics, and he is the author of numerous articles on the Presocratics, Plato and Aristotle. He is the coeditor of several books, most recently: with Penelope Murray, The Blackwell Companion to Ancient Aesthetics (2015); with Zina Giannopoulou, Plato: Symposium: A Critical Guide (2017); with Radcliffe Edmonds, Plato and the Power of Images (2017); and with Franco Trivigno, Laughter, Humor and Comedy in Ancient Philosophy (2019).

    Malcolm Heath is Professor of Greek Language and Literature at the University of Leeds. His publications include Interpreting Classical Texts (2002), Menander: A Rhetor in Context (2004), and Ancient Philosophical Poetics (2012). He has also translated Aristotle’s Poetics (1996). He is currently working on the place of poetry in Aristotle’s philosophical anthropology, and on Longinus On Sublimity.

    Dana L. Munteanu is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at Ohio State University. She is the author of Tragic Pathos: Pity and Fear in Greek Philosophy and Tragedy (2012), the editor of Emotion, Genre and Gender in Classical Antiquity (2011) and co-editor with Zara Torlone and Dorota Dutsch of A Handbook to Classical Reception in Eastern and Central Europe (2017). Her scholarly publications have concentrated on Greek drama, philosophy and the reception of classics in opera and literature.

    "One of the merits of [this volume] is that the authors are comfortable working, in a mutually reinforcing way, in the related fields of classics, literary theory, philosophy, and history. The volume will prove to be of lasting value to Aristotelian scholars as well as to specialists in Platonic studies who may be pleased to find that subtler approaches are taken with regard to Plato’s critique of the arts and his influence on Aristotle’s thought." - R. Bensen Cain, Oklahoma State University, USA, in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2021