THE LOST SECOND BOOK OF ARISTOTLE’S POETICS

Classics for All Reviews

By Walter Watson

Chicago (2015) p/b 304pp £29 (ISBN 9780226875088)

This very engaging work sets out to save a whole treasure chest of priceless gems from an eternity in scholarly limbo, the chest being the lost second book of Aristotle’s Poetics. For some time now scholars have argued that a tenth century manuscript known as Tractatus Coislinianus summarizes this lost book, but up to now they have failed to establish the point conclusively. W. now hopes to succeed where philology on its own had not by making a philosophical case. His aim is to convince people that they will only fully appreciate the Poetics by accepting all of the Tractatus material as genuine Aristotle rather than, as one sceptic put it, no small amount of silly and extraneous material jumbled together with what is truly Aristotelian.

There is a deliberate intention to engage the general reader as much as…

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