The original, Aristotle's short study of storytelling, written in the fourth century B.C., is the world's first critical book about the laws of literature. Sure, it's 2400 years old, but Aristotle's discussions--Unity of Plot, Reversal of the Situation, Character--though written in the context of ancient Greek Tragedy, Comedy and Epic Poetry, still apply to our modern literary forms. The book is quite short, and Aristotle illuminates his points with clear examples, making the Poetics perfectly readable, the better to impress people at parties when you say, "Of course, as Aristotle says..." This useful book, an extended study of the Poetics, treats such subjects as Aristotle's general aesthetic views mimesis pity, fear, and katharsis recognition, reversal, and hamartia tragic misfortune the nontragic genres and the historical influence of the work. Aristotle emerges as holding a deeply cognitivist view of poetry and as rejecting the attempt to judge art primarily by external (e.g., moral, political) criteria his call for the relative autonomy of art, however, neither commits him to an aestheticist view nor prevents him from attributing to art a significant moral dimension. Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato's teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle's writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing morality and aesthetics, logic and science, politics and metaphysics. Aristotle's views on the physical sciences profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and their influence extended well into the Renaissance, although they were ultimately replaced by Newtonian physics. In the zoological sciences, some of his observations were confirmed to be accurate only in the 19th century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into modern formal logic. In metaphysics, Aristotelianism had a profound influence on philosophical and theological thinking in the Islamic and Jewish traditions in the Middle Ages, and it continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church and some strains of Eastern Orthodox thought. His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle's philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues (Cicero described his literary style as "a river of gold"), it is thought that the majority of his writings are now lost and only about one-third of the original works have survived.