on 12 October 2002
If you have an interest in writing, or in Literature, or even philosophy or psychology, then Aristotle's Poetics is a very good book for you to read: Aristotle had a burning desire to understand the drives and ambitions of human beings -- he yearned to understand the human world. In the book, Malcolm Heath explains (very well, I might add) the thoughts of Aristotle, concerning his understanding of the human necessity for expression. If you want to be a writer, or want to comprehend the roots of Literature, Poetics is a vital source of essential and fundamental information. Heath additionally refers to many of Aristotle's other notes in order to present an unbiased and comprehensive case. I very much recommend this book to anyone, especially those who wish to write fiction.
on 29 April 2013
Anyone studying literature or drama in particular needs to have read this book. It is the ultimate reference work for serious students, and the language is so straightforward and clear that it reads as if it were a contemporary work, and not the millennia-old masterpiece that it really is.
This is certainly an improvement on the previous Penguin Classics, thanks to Heath's helpful and very readable introduction. And it is a very important book, since unlike his mentor Plato, Aristotle did not wish to ban artists from the state as bad for morale and for providing copies of a world itself a copy of the timeless Forms. No, Aristrotle not only welcomed artists, he explains why in very brief compass here. This book deals with tragedy - the late Umberto Eco posited a 'lost' companion volume on comedy! - and shows that it has a social function since citizens watching a tragic play, conforming to the so-called 'unities' of Time, Place and Actions (all explaied here and not difficult) which allows the audience to feel fear and pity and be purged by so-doing and better citizens for it. This is a crucial work in the theory of art and marks an ideal point to begin, as the translation is clear and you will have much to ponder. At least you will see why Aristotle will not deny artists a place in his city-state and, as a teacher (not leat of Alexander the Great) he explains his ideas succinctly and has been extremely influential.
on 8 April 2015
I just wanted this for context on Aristotelian Tragedy. It was definitely helpful, and it's interesting to read. The notes provided by the translator are very useful and he includes ideas from some of Aristotle's other works. I was glad of this since Poetics actually doesn't include much about Katharsis, that whole section appears to have been lost.
on 13 March 2012
The introduction by Malcom Heath was really good, made the reading so much easier. I recommend. Also, notes to the translation proved useful, although I have read most of the classics, Heath has obviously read more...