Aristotle's Poetics: A Course of Eight Lectures

Aristotle's Poetics: A Course of Eight Lectures

Aristotle's Poetics: A Course of Eight Lectures

Aristotle's Poetics: A Course of Eight Lectures

Excerpt

In the spring and summer of 1952 Humphry House and I were fellow examiners in the Preliminary Examination of the Honours School of English at Oxford, and both of us had to set and read papers on Aristotle Poetics. We were not impressed by the standard of knowledge and understanding that candidates showed, and House decided to write a course of eight lectures, which he delivered in Michaelmas Term 1952 and again, after revision, in 1953. Before the war I had lectured on the Poetics for Classical Moderations, and I gave House such papers as I had then written for classical societies or more formal lectures, and such advice on books and articles as my now rather out-of-date experience could suggest. For this House in his lectures gave me more than enough credit. At one time we contemplated a joint book on the Poetics, but this posthumous issue of his lectures was to be our only further collaboration. When his literary executor asked me what should be done with the lectures, I reread them and felt, not, I hope, merely out of partiality for the author or for some of the ideas that he had taken from me and developed, that they were well worth publishing as a sensitive and level-headed explanation and defence of Aristotle; and I willingly undertook to prepare them for the press. I had read his lectures as he rewrote them in October and November 1953, and made a few marginal notes, some of which I have now incorporated in the text where House seemed to accept them.

As a classical scholar House was qualified by a first in "Greats" and a lectureship in Classics at University College, Exeter, to tackle the Poetics, and as an English scholar and critic to give it actuality and life before an audience of students of English literature. One might hesitate to publish lectures which were not meant for . . .

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