FAQ

Even to accomplished scholars the meaning is often obscure, as may be seen by a comparison of the three editions recently published in England, all the work of savants of the first eminence, or, still more strikingly, by a study of the long series of misunderstandings and overstatements and corrections which form the history of the Poetics since the Renaissance.

Language alone (whether prose or verse, and one form of verse or many): this art has no name up to the present (i.e. there is no name to cover mimes and dialogues and any similar imitation made in iambics, elegiacs, &c. Commonly people attach the ’making’ to the metre and say ’elegiac-makers’, ’hexameter-makers,’ giving them a common class-name by their metre, as if it was not their imitation that makes them ’makers’).

Such an experiment would doubtless be a little absurd, but it would give an English reader some help in understanding both Aristotle’s style and his meaning.