In a recent article in Arethusa, J. Wise argues that the theory of tragedy put forth by Aristotle in the Poetics was one heavily distorted by his own experience of contemporary tragic performance. In this response, I argue that, although the Poetics does provide evidence of fourth-century dramatic practice, Aristotle was far more aware of the arc of Athenian theater history than Wise’s article presupposes. I also suggest that the problem of the “missing” polis in Aristotle’s Poetics can be largely explained by the fact that by Aristotle’s own time, Athenian tragedy was the city’s most successful cultural export, a circumstance that opened the genre to analysis independent of the festal and political contexts that had given birth to it.


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pp. 311-328
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