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An air of design

October 8, 2015

From Aristotle’s Poetics, ch, 9:

Tragedy is an imitation not only of a complete action, but of events inspiring fear or pity. Such an effect is best produced when the events come on us by surprise; and the effect is heightened when, at the same time, they follows as cause and effect. The tragic wonder will then be greater than if they happened of themselves or by accident; for even coincidences are most striking when they have an air of design. We may instance the statue of Mitys at Argos, which fell upon his murderer while he was a spectator at a festival, and killed him. Such events seem not to be due to mere chance. Plots, therefore, constructed on these principles are necessarily the best.

Posting will continue to be light for the next few weeks as I attempt both to complete by diss. prop. and to organize a graduate student conference on the subject “community, reason, tragedy.” If you’re in Chicago in early November you should come by.

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