Friday, August 28, 2009

Aristotle's Poetics

I have finally gotten around to re-reading this classic on the art of drama. Have to say I still find his use of the term "imitation" as confusing as I did when I first read the treatise for a philosophy course on Aesthetics at college. But there are many comments on plot, character, theme, action and so on that are truly incisive and, more to the point, useful. Many modern screenwriters swear by this work. Here's a bit I rather like (Poetry meaning all forms of fiction as we know it and the poet being the writer): It is not the function of the poet to relate what has happened, but what may happen - what is possible according to the law of probability or necessity ... Poetry, therefore, is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history; for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular. A nice rebuttal to people who believe that a work of non-fiction is somehow more valid or valuable than a novel.


catchthewind said...

I'm getting ready for my first year of university and have started reading all these philosphical books, and have trouble wrapping my mind around them. I think it's the way the context is written it's all so confusing but I hope I'll eventualy get used to it. It's pretty nerve wracking!

OR Melling said...

Don't panic. I used to tutor philosophy students. As I told them, philosophy is just a fancy form of the kind of talk you have with your friends about life, the universe and everything, in the early hours of the morning after the party has died out. You just have to get used to the language being used; the meaning is the same. If your profs are any way decent they will guide you through the books and the terminology. And if you are still lost, get back to me. I'm a philosophy maven! Always happy to talk the talk.