July 30 - October 9, 2018

Section II (a pink tab):                             ARISTOTLE_POETICS

   "Since the objects of imitation are men in action, and
   these men must be either of a higher or a lower type
   (for moral character mainly answers to these divisions,
   goodness and badness being the distinguishing marks of
   moral differences), it follows that we must represent
   men either as better than in real life, or as worse, or
   as they are. It is the same in painting. Polygnotus
   depicted men as nobler than they are, Pauson as less
   noble, Dionysius drew them true to life."

There's a "the market will go up unless it goes down"
quality to a lot of Aristotle's observations, but at
least he's not a "the market can go nowhere but up!"
type: he concedes it's valid for artwork to depict the
worst (in fact literally, he seems to be saying it's
okay to exaggerate the worst-- e.g. villains more
villanous than the real ones?).

In the translator's notes, Butcher is at pains to
make it clear that "men in action" covers more than       Say what you will
you might think, including thinking fellers such as       about the clumsiness
himself.                                                  of greek literary
                                                          technology, Aristotle
Butcher also says some (mildly incoherent) things         is tight, clear and
about the word "imitation", making the point that         on point, compared
while someone like Plato might've meant it in a           to Butcher's
derisive way (mere imitation), Aristotle's attitude       commentary which is
towards it was more complimentary.                        around 5x the length
                                                          of the original.
According to Butcher, the Greeks name for what we
might call the "fine arts" (as opposed to *useful*
ones, eh?)  was the "imitative arts"--

   (Which makes me wonder what the word was he's
   translating as "imitation"... mimesis?  How can
   it be that Butcher skipped spelling that out?
   He loves to show off his Greek...)

From Section II (a green tab):

   "The same distinction marks
   off Tragedy from Comedy; for
   Comedy aims at representing         That's Greek tragedy, of course. In
   men as worse, Tragedy as            Shakespearian tragedy human beings
   better than in actual life."        are depicted as complete morons.
                                       I mean, flawed individuals.

At the end of Section II:

  "Objects which in themselves we view with pain, we
  delight to contemplate when reproduced with minute
  fidelity: such as the forms of the most ignoble       The monster imitated
  animals and of dead bodies."                          is the monster tamed.
                                                        We show our superiority
                                                        to it by relaxed

From Section IV:

  "Imitation, then, is one instinct of our
  nature. Next, there is the instinct for 'harmony'
  and rhythm, metres being manifestly sections of
  rhythm. Persons, therefore, starting with this      Here we have Aristotle
  natural gift developed by degrees their special     introducing the fine art
  aptitudes, till their rude improvisations gave      of projecting fantasies
  birth to Poetry."                                   on pre-history and
                                                      recording them as fact.
                                                      This portrait of poetry
                                                      evolving could be
                                                      correct...  but on the
                                                      other hand...

                                                      (Note that Homer
                                                      predated Aristotle by
                                                      over 800 years.)


From Section XXV:

    "The poet being an imitator,
    like a painter or any other
    artist, must of necessity
    imitate one of three

      o  "things as they were or are,"
      o  "things as they are said or thought to be, or"
      o  "things as they ought to be."                    More confirmation
                                                          that Doris Day
                                                          movies are not
    History, Belief or Ideal                              poetry.

                    "... Sophocles said that he
                    drew men as they ought to be;
                    Euripides, as they are."

                                            The third point, Ideal, is the one
                                            I'm more interested in: the
                                            question isn't is fiction modeled
                                            on life, the question is, is it a
                                            model for life.