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Is it possible to interpret Poetics from structuralist or poststructuralist view...

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priyaansh | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 8, 2010 at 11:54 PM via web

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Is it possible to interpret Poetics from structuralist or poststructuralist view point?

We often discuss novels dramas or poetry in such terms (or I merely have read these).  Can we interpret critical works from theoretical point of view?

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kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted May 24, 2010 at 10:44 PM (Answer #1)

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Aristotle's Poetics is like a mother-text of Western theory in the realm of literature and in recent times, there has been an effort to see Poetics in line with the structuralist thought of Saussure and Jakobson and even in post-structuralist terms of Foucault and Derrida, especially due to these 20th century philosophers' great interest in the Greeks.

Poetics can be seen in proto-structuralist terms simply because of its focalization of structure or form over content. The position in Aristotle is clear--the best writers of tragedy are those who are the best plot-makers. The primacy of the plot and the strongly schematic, classificatory and categorizing tendency of Aristotle in Poetics are structuralist anticipations.

When Aristotle says that while history deals with what happens, poetry or literature deals with what may happen, that is what enhances its philosophical value. This stress on hypothesis, probability and possibility is yet another discursive layering beyond realism in literature that makes it more in tune with structuralism.

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