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Poetics. Longinus: On the Sublime. Demetrius: On Style

Poetics. Longinus: On the Sublime. Demetrius: On Style

Aristotle, Longinus, Demetrius

Translated by Stephen Halliwell, W. Hamilton Fyfe, Doreen C. Innes, and W. Rhys Roberts

ISBN 9780674995635

Publication date: 01/01/1995

Classic criticism.

This volume brings together the three most influential ancient Greek treatises on literature.

Aristotle’s Poetics contains his treatment of Greek tragedy: its history, nature, and conventions, with details on poetic diction. Stephen Halliwell makes this seminal work newly accessible with a reliable text and a translation that is both accurate and readable. His authoritative introduction traces the work’s debt to earlier theorists (especially Plato), its distinctive argument, and the reasons behind its enduring relevance.

The essay On the Sublime, usually attributed to “Longinus” (identity uncertain), was probably composed in the first century AD; its subject is the appreciation of greatness (“the sublime”) in writing, with analysis of illustrative passages ranging from Homer and Sappho to Plato and Genesis. In this edition, Donald A. Russell has judiciously revised and newly annotated the text and translation by W. Hamilton Fyfe and provides a new introduction.

The treatise On Style, ascribed to an (again unidentifiable) Demetrius, was perhaps composed during the secod century BC. It is notable particularly for its theory and analysis of four distinct styles (grand, elegant, plain, and forceful). Doreen Innes’ fresh rendering of the work is based on the earlier Loeb translation by W. Rhys Roberts. Her new introduction and notes represent the latest scholarship.

The Loeb Classical Library edition of Aristotle is in twenty-three volumes.


  • This re-edition cum revision of the three most seminal ancient Greek treatises in the aesthetics of literature is much to be welcomed. Together with a new translation of Aristotle’s Poetics by Stephen Halliwell, it provides a spruced up version of W. H. Fyfe’s spirited rendering of On the Sublime, and a comprehensive revision of W. Rhys Roberts’ 1927 edition and translation of On Style. In all three cases new introductions and generous annotations bring the reader up to date with recent scholarship… The volume as a whole succeeds in meeting both the needs of non-classically trained readers and the requirements of scholars. For that reason it cannot be recommended too warmly.

    —Suzanne Stern-Gillet, British Journal of Aesthetics


  • Stephen Halliwell is Professor of Greek at the University of St Andrews.
  • Donald A. Russell is Emeritus Professor of Classical Literature, University of Oxford, and Emeritus Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford.
  • Doreen C. Innes is a Fellow in Classics at St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford.

Book Details

  • 544 pages
  • 1-3/16 x 4-1/4 x 6-3/8 inches
  • Harvard University Press
  • Revised by Donald A. Russell

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