Article Title

"Non-Aristotelian" Theater: Brecht's and Plato's Theories of Artistic Imitation


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The history of literary criticism begins with Plato, but critics have always had trouble coming to terms with Plato's derogatory comments on mimesis. Probably the last major theorist of drama to discuss Plato at length was Sir Philip Sidney-and Sidney's Apology for Poetry, as is well known, does not really address Plato's objections to art. Instead, Sidney circumvents Plato's argument by claiming that the philosopher meant to condemn only the abuse of poetry, not the thing itself. After Sidney, Plato's opinions on drama are usually waived, occasionally ridiculed. In the twentieth century especially it is difficult to find sympathetic commentary on Plato. Even Jonas Barish (who takes antitheatricalism very seriously indeed) imagines Plato to have crippled Western drama.1 As far as most people who write about drama are concerned, Plato is an aboriginal killjoy.

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