In his near-contemporary account of Greek tragedy, Aristotle examines the dramatic elements of plot, character, language and spectacle that combine to produce pity and fear in the audience, and asks why we derive pleasure from this apparently painful process. Taking examples from the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, The Poetics introduces into literary criticism such central concepts as mimesis (‘imitation’), hamartia (‘error’), and katharsis (‘purification’). Aristotle explains how the most effective tragedies rely on complication and resolution, recognition and reversals, centring on characters of heroic stature, idealized yet true to life. One of the most powerful, perceptive and influential works of criticism in Western literary history, the Poetics has informed serious thinking about drama ever since.
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Other works by the renowned classical scholar, translator, and literary critic Francis Fergusson include "The Idea of a Theater: A Study of Ten Plays," "Sallies of the Mind: Essays," "Trope and Allegory: Themes Common to Dante and Shakespeare," and "Dante's Drama of the Mind: A Modern Reading of the "Purgatorio.
Translator and scholar S. H. Butcher served as editor for the Dover Thift Edition of the "Poetics," as well as for the "Orationes, Volume 1" by Demosthenes. Butcher is also the author of "Aristotle's Theory of Poetry and Fine Art,"
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