less than 1 minute read

Poetry and Poetics

Genre, Interpretation, Poetic Function, Bibliography

In the fourth century B.C.E. Aristotle (384–322) successfully founded the discipline of poetics both by accepting poetry as suitable for rational analysis and by setting up the main terms of debate that still define the field today. Issues of genre, representation, decorum, interpretation, aesthetic evaluation, and what might be considered the essence of literary language are all broached in Aristotle's remarkable treatise On Poetics. Moreover, since he described this art or skill (technē) as concerned with what may happen as opposed to what has happened—with possibility, probability, or necessity rather than mere actuality (1451b)—the topic has been consistently attractive to philosophical investigation. Unmarred by the contingencies or accidents that characterize historiography, poetry may serve as a privileged area for philosophical reflection. Long before the eighteenth century developed a rigorous theory of aesthetics, Aristotle outlined the conceptual space wherein poetry and philosophy could enter into a fruitful and mutually enlightening dialogue.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Planck mass to Posit