Towards a reconstruction of Poetics II

Janko, R. Aristotle on Comedy. Towards a reconstruction of Poetics II, London, 1984.

Aristotle inaugurated the systematic study of comedy with the lost 2nd book of his Poetics, the sequel to his profoundly original and influential work on tragedy. In 1839 the “Tractatus Coislinianus’, a summarized treatise about comity, was published from a 10th century manuscript now in Paris. Its discoverer suggested that it derived from the lost work of Aristotle, but before long the eminent scholar Jacob Bernays condemned it as an ignorance compilation bordering on forgery, a verdict that has ever since passed unchallenged. ¬†From detailed scrutiny of the structure, language, and ideas of this undeservedly neglected treatise and its related sources, Professor Janko argues that it does indeed supply the cardinal points of Poetics II, revealing Aristotle’s views on comedy and the nature of humor, as exemplified in the plays of Aristophanes, Athens’s greatest comedian. light is shed on numerous aspects of the literary criticism of Aristotle and his successors, especially on what he meant by the farces in tragedy and comedy. A new edition of the text is accompanied by a facing translation, interpretive essays, reconstruction and commentary.

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