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Since the Poetics is the fountain-head of literary criticism in the Western world, clearly it is time for a new appraisal of Aristotle’s contribution to the doctrine of classicism, as well as for a definition of those features of his thought concerning literature which may be significant or illuminating for us today although previously these features had not passed into the general current of criticism.
The book is not, primarily, a new edition of the Poetics, nor is it a commentary on it. It is instead a detailed analysis of the work, presented section by section. Each section is preceded by the corresponding Greek text and a translation thereof. Gerald Else’s book covers the entire Poetics, except for those several chapters concerned with technical questions. The new interpretations offered are many, and it is believed that they offer a completely valid rationale for the significance of Aristotle’s Poetics today.