The last time I tackled a Top Ten Tuesday topic, it was ‘Most Memorable Mothers in Literature‘. So this week I’m looking at the most memorable fathers in literature: the good, the bad, and the ugly. (This was technically supposed to be last week’s TTT topic. My bad.)
Now that we’re well into the second month of the new year, I thought I’d get started with my Classics Club list. I decided to start with something Greek-themed, since I was heading to Athens before I began reading. So I chose to tackle two titles: Aristotle’s Poetics (c. 330 BC) and Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (411 BC). The Poetics is on my Classics Club list; Lysistrata is on both my Classics Club list and my Back to the Classics list.
I’ll begin with the Poetics, and not just because I read it first. It is one of the first surviving texts which can be labelled as ‘literary criticism’. In it, Aristotle discusses the writing of poetry in ancient Greece. He defines the different types of poetry (Tragedy, Comedy, and Epic) and the elements which make a successful poem. The Poetics is fairly short, mostly because the second half (which scholars generally agree probably dealt with Comedy) has been lost. The Poetics was very influential in the ancient and medieval world. It’s definitely interesting to see the practice of literary criticism in its earliest incarnation, but if you’re not interested in ancient Greek drama and poetry it can be pretty hard going. Luckily the ideas themselves are expressed concisely, so quite a lot is covered in a short amount of time.