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The Rhetoric & The Poetics of Aristotle

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Translated by Rhys Roberts and Ingram Bywater, Introduction by Edward P.J. Corbett


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Translated by Rhys Roberts and Ingram Bywater, Introduction by Edward P.J. Corbett

30 review for The Rhetoric & The Poetics of Aristotle

  1. 4 out of 5

    Markus

    CORPUS ARISTOTELICUS Rhetoric and Poetics By ARISTOTLE This treatise dates from the 4th century BC. The basics of Aristotle’s system of Rhetoric had "After that served as a touchstone" influencing this art from ancient through modern times. The edition translated by W. Rhys Roberts is bright and pleasant to read. Aristotle was lucky to have lived at a time when there was no censure or politically correct language to be used. He writes like he would have spoken, an everyday style. Rhetoric is the cou CORPUS ARISTOTELICUS Rhetoric and Poetics By ARISTOTLE This treatise dates from the 4th century BC. The basics of Aristotle’s system of Rhetoric had "After that served as a touchstone" influencing this art from ancient through modern times. The edition translated by W. Rhys Roberts is bright and pleasant to read. Aristotle was lucky to have lived at a time when there was no censure or politically correct language to be used. He writes like he would have spoken, an everyday style. Rhetoric is the counterpart of dialectic. Both are considered within the general knowledge of all persons and belong to no specific science. The modes of persuasion are the only true constituents of the art; everything else is merely accessory. If the general language used for this study is simple, there are however a few rare words to assimilate. Syllogism, enthymeme, encomium, and others. Persuasion is a sort of demonstration. An orator's demonstration is an enthymeme. The enthymeme is a sort of syllogism, and the consideration of arguments of all kinds is the business of dialectic or one of its branches. Everybody is using the art of persuasion on a day to day life, but generally speaking, but all Depends on who are the listeners to speeches. A politician will try to persuade that his ideas will bring peace and prosperity to the country. A lawyer will try to persuade a law court that his client is telling the truth and obtain a favourable judgment. A ceremonial speaker could be the organizer of Olympic Games and hopes to raise enthusiasm for the winners of the competition. A remarkable absence in this treatise is Religion. Aristotle was fortunate to live at a time when no religion was known, and no preachers of any kind were trying to persuade, convince or scare a population to believe in a God or the devil. Ancient Greeks had their Theogony as immortalized by Hesiod. It seems that no one tried to promote or repeal this tradition at that time. For me, an additional pleasure of reading Aristotle is the historical background, the immediate contemporary, or the ancient or mythology. Let me give you some quotes: On pleading in the case of ‘Orestes of Theodectes’: “It is right that she who slays her lord should die. It is right, too, that the son should avenge his father. Very good; these two things are what Orestes has done. Still, perhaps the two things, once they are put together, do not form a right act. The fallacy might also be said to be due to omission since the speaker fails to say by whose hand a husband slayer should die." "The question whether it is unjust for a city to enslave its innocent neighbours often does not trouble them at all." "Thus they praise Achilles because he championed his fallen friend Patroclus, though he knew that this meant death and that otherwise he need not die: yet while to die thus was the nobler thing for him to do, the expedient thing was to live on." Aristotle’s definition of happiness: “Good birth, plenty of friends, good friends, wealth, plenty of children, a happy old age, also such bodily excellences as health, beauty, strength, large stature, athletic powers, together with fame, honour, good luck and virtue. Wealth is made of plenty coined money, the ownership of numerous, large, and beautiful estates, livestock and slaves. Communities, as well as individuals, should lack none of these perfections, in their women as well as in their men. Where, as among the Lacedaemonians, the state of their women is bad, almost half of human life is spoiled. Friendship: a friendly feeling towards anyone as wishing for him or her, what you believe to be good things, not for your own sake but his, and being inclined, so far as you can, to bring these things about. A friend is a sort of person who shares your pleasure in what is good and your pain in what is unpleasant. Kindness may be defined as helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped. So reading this work has for me different pleasures and advantages: I am not a politician, so I will not make use of persuasion in public affairs. I am not a lawyer so that I will make no use of persuasion at law court. I am not a ceremonial speaker, nor a preacher. The significant advantage of my new knowledge of Aristotle's Art of Persuasion will be in argumentations with my wife. I will now be highly qualified to have the last word.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erick

    As I've mentioned before in other reviews, I read this more from a desire to study Aristotle thoroughly and less from an active interest in the subject matter. I have a tendency to want to be as well versed in an important thinker as I can be. That means I will expend some effort in research that might not seem altogether practical from the perspective of the casual observer. The first work on Poetics is not easily grouped with Aristotle's other works. It is apparently one of the earliest works As I've mentioned before in other reviews, I read this more from a desire to study Aristotle thoroughly and less from an active interest in the subject matter. I have a tendency to want to be as well versed in an important thinker as I can be. That means I will expend some effort in research that might not seem altogether practical from the perspective of the casual observer. The first work on Poetics is not easily grouped with Aristotle's other works. It is apparently one of the earliest works dealing with poetry and tragedy from a critical perspective. That alone does make the work important. It also functions as a catalog of non-extant works. Sadly, many of the works that Aristotle refers to, no longer exist. Aristotle extrapolates certain rules from his fairly extensive knowledge of poetry. How practical his rules are, I can't comment on. I suppose I might revisit this work when I dedicate more time to studying Greek epic and tragedy. The second work on Rhetoric can be easily grouped with Aristotle's works on ethics and politics on one side, and with his logical works on the other side. One could see this work as a bridge between his ethical/political thought and his theories on logic. It is sort of a practical application of the purely theoretical ideas presented in those works. Aristotle's theories do lend themselves to a legal setting, so this seems to be an advancement from the early rhetoric of the sophists and from the later purely political rhetoric of people like Isocrates and Demosthenes. Cicero was apparently well acquainted with Aristotle's thoughts on Rhetoric. It probably would have been better to read this before reading Cicero, but it didn't happen that way. The book was worth reading. I found the commentary helpful, but took issue with some of the less relevant asides that the commentator indulged in. I give the work itself around 3-and-a-half to 4 stars. I'm not sure it's essential Aristotle, but due to the second work's relationship to his logical works and political/ethical works, it's important.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Svitlana

    Complex? Yes. Insightful? Absolutely. This is not an easy read, but once you get to the end, you will never regret that you chose to read this book. If you are interested in philosophical aspect of human life then this is the perfect book for you. It unravels Aristotle's early life in Plato's Academy and how he began his first recordings of poetry and its influence upon humans. Aristotle introduced superb theory that by reading someone's fragments of poetry, you can create a phycological profile Complex? Yes. Insightful? Absolutely. This is not an easy read, but once you get to the end, you will never regret that you chose to read this book. If you are interested in philosophical aspect of human life then this is the perfect book for you. It unravels Aristotle's early life in Plato's Academy and how he began his first recordings of poetry and its influence upon humans. Aristotle introduced superb theory that by reading someone's fragments of poetry, you can create a phycological profile and understand the person's trail of thought. Did you know that once Aristotle taught Alexander the Great? Aristotle made his student analyze poetry and come up with logical explanation as to why it was written, to study every word of it, in order to understand human structure of mind which helped the ruler to develop great wits and intelligence. The difference between the poet and the writer is widely argued. Aristotle's belief is that poetics is a gift where as writing skills can be developed over time. He also impersonated poetry as an individual feeling, resembling love or a strong passion for something, which can also take over human mind. Interesting thing mentioned was the difference between plot and a story. A plot is the poet's signature, his creation. And according to Aristotle, once there is "beginning, a middle, and an end" p.44 the story is birthed.My opinion of the book? I am always fascinated by reading works by Aristotle because he is one of the greatest philosophers, whose books give an insight how people thought many years ago and what was their meaning of the world and the rest of the things we take for granted today...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amberleigh

    A great book for anyone seeking a lesson in good rhetorical skills. I still have this book on my shelf and enjoy going back to it every now and then for a refressher. The book has so much to offer, it is hard to absorb it all at once. A must for anyone wanting a true education in rhetoric.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Louis Spirito

    While doing 'homework' for an online writing class with Aaron Sorkin, I had cause to reread Aristotle's short bible on dramatic writing. While it's still no page turner, the advice he offers remains essential to writers looking to craft solid plays, movies, and TV stories.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bella~ My activity is slow, I apologize

    It's a classic for all of you English majors out there! I personally loved it:)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ken Ryu

    Not what I expected. "Rhetoric" is less philosophy and as the title suggests, more a "how-to" book on persuading and convincing people with words. Aristotle begins "Rhetoric" by comparing persuasive debating as a skill as important as winning wars. An alternative title could be "The Art of Words". In the first of the three books in "Rhetoric" he explains what rhetoric is, when to use it, and why it is an important skill to have. He also explains the role of rhetoric in different forms of governm Not what I expected. "Rhetoric" is less philosophy and as the title suggests, more a "how-to" book on persuading and convincing people with words. Aristotle begins "Rhetoric" by comparing persuasive debating as a skill as important as winning wars. An alternative title could be "The Art of Words". In the first of the three books in "Rhetoric" he explains what rhetoric is, when to use it, and why it is an important skill to have. He also explains the role of rhetoric in different forms of government. In book two, he goes on to explain techniques in building persuasive arguments. Using fear, pleasure, justice and interpretation of law are some of the methods to strengthen an argument. Aristotle uses the "words as war" metaphor to illustrate tactics to discredit and tear down an opponents argument. He goes into examples of different techniques such as metaphors, similes, and maxims to strengthen an argument and give the audience relateable examples to simplify more complex points. Book three discusses style. Avoiding superfluous words and phrases is advised. Delivering sentences in memorable and powerful cadences is as important as the content itself. He gets into technical examples of dos and don'ts of phrasing. He continues by impressing upon the importance of arranging content into a logical and convincing format. He explains when an introduction is needed and how to end with an effective epilogue. He also describes how to use mocking and jesting to discredit a digressing view and opponent. In "Poetics", which is a short book of around 50-60 pages, Aristotle compares different forms of poems. He breaks them into three different categories, tragedy, epic, and comedy. Tragedy is a story with a concise time frame of typically 24 hours or less. As the name suggests, a surprise and a denouement will strike the hero of the story at one point. The epic is a story told over a longer period of time. The epic poem has less formal rules and rigidity than a tragedy. Aristotle concludes that tragedy is the highest form of the three genres of poems. He provides various examples, especially from Homer and Sophocles of good poetry. Both books are well written and informative. If you are looking for Aristotle's views on the meaning of life, spirituality and ethics, these books do not hold those answers.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    How is one supposed to rate Greek philosophy? One gives it three stars to err on the side of better than average but still fall lazily asleep because it is mostly dated and frustrating. Rules on how to be a good orator. How I be speak nice. Rules on how to write good poetry. Thou must, like a meadow, understand the too blue truths of meter and form. Rules on how to etc. Bedtime. Greece.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    Interesting. Agreed with some points, disagreed with others. He seemed chauvinistic at times.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Since I decided to incorporate rhetorical analysis in the courses that I teach, I figured that I needed to read the classic work on rhetoric. I picked up this edition a number of years ago at a rummage sale, and it had the Poetics as well. Reading these works and the introductory material helped me to see how integrated Aristotle's ideas were across his works, since the Rhetoric related not only to the the Poetics but to his works on logic, ethics, and politics as well (I have not read these). T Since I decided to incorporate rhetorical analysis in the courses that I teach, I figured that I needed to read the classic work on rhetoric. I picked up this edition a number of years ago at a rummage sale, and it had the Poetics as well. Reading these works and the introductory material helped me to see how integrated Aristotle's ideas were across his works, since the Rhetoric related not only to the the Poetics but to his works on logic, ethics, and politics as well (I have not read these). The introductory material also pointed out Aristotle's differences with his teacher Plato on rhetoric and imitative poetry.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erika Harlitz-Kern

    I won't say much in this review because how do you review Aristotle? I have read Aristotle's POETICS twice and his RHETORIC once. I highly recommend that you read them, in particular if you are a writer looking for writing advice. Aristotle is the fountainhead of how and why we write and argue the way we do.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    A bit dry but interesting to see how much we still agree with most of Aristotle's thoughts on writing and speaking. The notes were very helpful, not just for the occasional clarification but also for the explanation of countless references that won't mean anything to today's average reader.

  13. 4 out of 5

    sch

    Reading only Corbett's introduction.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark Feltskog

    Kind of a tough slog.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eric Gonzalez

    Any book that influences a persons life deserves to praised. And this book is definitely a life changer.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jamey Yadon

    Taking an indefinite hiatus from this one. On p. 193

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mikiel Ottmar

    WOW!!! Quite a ride but I think I'll take it again, am sure I missed some salient points. Was glad when finished and felt a positive accomlishment.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason Lynch

    The hardest book I've ever read. Also, one of the best and very informative.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Eick

    Poetics is a pretty outdated text and I consider it only useful for evaluating an early example of literary theory. Rhetoric, however, is still prominently important for introducing rhetoric. Aristotle is the key counterpoint to Plato and I wish we had more complex texts than Rhetoric or Topics to study.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

    I am rating the Poetics, not the Rhetoric, having only read about one chapter of the Rhetoric. But the Poetics is one of those incredibly important texts that all drama or theatre people must read at some point, because Aristotle's descriptions/prescriptions for how tragedy should work have become incredibly influential. There is some debate about how much his theories were meant to be prescriptive, or how much they were more detached and analytical (as well as debates about how much romanticism I am rating the Poetics, not the Rhetoric, having only read about one chapter of the Rhetoric. But the Poetics is one of those incredibly important texts that all drama or theatre people must read at some point, because Aristotle's descriptions/prescriptions for how tragedy should work have become incredibly influential. There is some debate about how much his theories were meant to be prescriptive, or how much they were more detached and analytical (as well as debates about how much romanticism and humanism have colored modern readings of concepts like katharsis), but the presentation in this translation is very prescriptive--I think this translation is quite conservative in terms of style, tone, and interpretation. Aristotle lays out the principles of tragedy, defining what it is, how it will be most effectively written and presented, and so on. His basic argument is that tragedy (or art more broadly) is an imitation of life (mimesis, from the Greek), and should encompass a whole consisting of a beginning, middle, and end that evoke pity and fear before purging them through the katharsis. Another argument Aristotle puts forward--which is especially striking in the modern era with its turn to psychological drama--is that the plot should be the primary focus of the drama, with character secondary. Of course, this was a principle that groups like the absurdists and minimalist playwrights would revolt against, especially Beckett. But given that much modern drama is driven by characters experience of interpersonal conflict (e.g., Long Day's Journey Into Night, Doll's House, Funnyhouse of a Negro) this is an interesting principle--the idea that even in King Oedipus the most important element is the plot rather than the character, when we post-Freud think of Oedipus as inherently psychological.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Aristotle provides an exhaustive review of tragedy in drama as well as some thoughts on epic poetry. The first half of the book was understandable and I could follow it easily, but the second half of the book starts to go into different kinds of words and uses of speech, which did not exactly appear relevant, especially since his examples were still in the original Greek. His analysis on the plot of the story, particularly how important it is to have a unifying idea throughout the tragedy, was i Aristotle provides an exhaustive review of tragedy in drama as well as some thoughts on epic poetry. The first half of the book was understandable and I could follow it easily, but the second half of the book starts to go into different kinds of words and uses of speech, which did not exactly appear relevant, especially since his examples were still in the original Greek. His analysis on the plot of the story, particularly how important it is to have a unifying idea throughout the tragedy, was interesting, and his thoughts on actually placing the suffering part of a tragedy also caught my attention. Overall, Aristotle kept me reading throughout his description of the plot and the basic parts of the tragedy, but he confused me by delving into the diction (language) of the poetry, which did not appear relevant.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    The Rhetoric and the Poetics exhibit an impressive level of modern relevance considering their age. But, Aristotle's tendency for repetition and his excessive habit of drawing from contemporary literary examples drains an incredible amount of life out of the text of the Rhetoric. Couple this with an unforgivable Homeric bias in the Poetics which directly contradicts his chief points and definitions, as well as several cringeworthy passages throughout ("Such goodness is possible in every type of The Rhetoric and the Poetics exhibit an impressive level of modern relevance considering their age. But, Aristotle's tendency for repetition and his excessive habit of drawing from contemporary literary examples drains an incredible amount of life out of the text of the Rhetoric. Couple this with an unforgivable Homeric bias in the Poetics which directly contradicts his chief points and definitions, as well as several cringeworthy passages throughout ("Such goodness is possible in every type of personage, even in a woman or a slave, though the one is perhaps an inferior, and the other a wholly worthless being", and more) and you have a relatively informative course in ancient linguistics and poetry which falls far short of perfection.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeni Enjaian

    I enjoyed reading this book. I can easily see why a book such as this became the textbook for countless academics for hundreds of years. Aristotle writes with immense confidence, almost as if he believes that his words are the gospel truth. (That's odd phrase for me to use but it satisfactorily conveys the point I'm trying to make.) This is a cursory review only. Any more adequate review would require much more time devoted to reading, studying and analyzing the text. For those interested in readi I enjoyed reading this book. I can easily see why a book such as this became the textbook for countless academics for hundreds of years. Aristotle writes with immense confidence, almost as if he believes that his words are the gospel truth. (That's odd phrase for me to use but it satisfactorily conveys the point I'm trying to make.) This is a cursory review only. Any more adequate review would require much more time devoted to reading, studying and analyzing the text. For those interested in reading the classics, this one will not disappoint or bore you to tears.

  24. 4 out of 5

    John

    Both of these works are full of important insights about human nature. Chapter 4 of the Poetics, for example, discusses the essential place of imitation in learning, and the books of the rhetoric are full of material about psychology. The titles might suggest that these works are primarily relevant to themes of literature, but they in fact fit more tightly with the themes of human life explored in Aristotle Ethics and Politics.

  25. 5 out of 5

    You have to admit Aristotle was good. What would he have become if born in our time? Probably depressed and unemployed. A writer, to be sure. You have to admit Aristotle was good. What would he have become if born in our time? Probably depressed and unemployed. A writer, to be sure.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Massey

    Very informative although difficult to get through for it is not an enjoyable read. Aristotle can be very repetitive and thorough. Definitely useful for any type of public speaker but anyone who reads it can benefit from these teachings.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    The best handbook a writer can have.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    My own, personal most-handled book. The sad binding has turned to dust.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Chambers

    Starting on this book again, taking my High School Rhetoric class through it. The book on Rhetoric.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    On the Poetics, especially relevant to our current state of the arts. Shows that some things (deus ex machina) have always been discouraged.

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