The Poetics of Alfarabi and Avicenna

Kemal, S. The Poetics of Alfarabi and Avicenna. Leiden, 1991.


“This book examines the nature of poetic validity and its role in forming a community. It considers these issues in the writings of some Arabic literary critics and in studies of poetics and Aristotle’s Poetics by two medieval Arabic philosophers, Alfarabi and Avicenna.

While the book concerns philosophical analysis and conceptual issues, we must consider the historical context of these studies in order to clarify some philosophical distinctions. This is especially important in the present case. Contemporary scholars do not usually turn to medieval Arabic commentaries on Aristotle’s Poetics. Greek philosophy was initially transmitted to the West through Latin translations of Arabic translations and commentaries, and Ibn Rushd’s commentaries were extremely influential as late as the Renaissance. But later European scholars rejected the influence of Arabic thought, and modern European scholars of Greek culture and philosophy developed a distinctive tradition—so much so that Arabic works on Aristotle may need explanation.”