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Tragic Pleasures: Aristotle on Plot and Emotion (Princeton Legacy Library)

by Elizabeth S. Belfiore

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Elizabeth Belfiore offers a striking new interpretation of Aristotle's Poetics by situating the work within the Aristotelian corpus and in the context of Greek culture in general. In Aristotle's Rhetoric, the Politics, and the ethical, psychological, logical, physical, and biological works, Belfiore finds extremely important but largely neglected sources for understanding the elliptical statements in the Poetics. The author argues that these Aristotelian texts, and those of other ancient writers, call into question the traditional view that katharsis in the Poetics is a homeopathic process--one in which pity and fear affect emotions like themselves. She maintains, instead, that Aristotle considered katharsis to be an allopathic process in which pity and fear purge the soul of shameless, antisocial, and aggressive emotions. While exploring katharsis, Tragic Pleasures analyzes the closely related question of how the Poetics treats the issue of plot structure. In fact, Belfiore's wide-ranging work eventually discusses every central concept in the Poetics, including imitation, pity and fear, necessity and probability, character, and kinship relations. Originally published in 1992. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.… (more)
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Elizabeth Belfiore offers a striking new interpretation of Aristotle's Poetics by situating the work within the Aristotelian corpus and in the context of Greek culture in general. In Aristotle's Rhetoric, the Politics, and the ethical, psychological, logical, physical, and biological works, Belfiore finds extremely important but largely neglected sources for understanding the elliptical statements in the Poetics. The author argues that these Aristotelian texts, and those of other ancient writers, call into question the traditional view that katharsis in the Poetics is a homeopathic process--one in which pity and fear affect emotions like themselves. She maintains, instead, that Aristotle considered katharsis to be an allopathic process in which pity and fear purge the soul of shameless, antisocial, and aggressive emotions. While exploring katharsis, Tragic Pleasures analyzes the closely related question of how the Poetics treats the issue of plot structure. In fact, Belfiore's wide-ranging work eventually discusses every central concept in the Poetics, including imitation, pity and fear, necessity and probability, character, and kinship relations. Originally published in 1992. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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