Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Great expectations

Supplementary material

The plot of the historical novel The Name Of The Rose, by Umberto Eco, hangs on the continued existence of a book now lost to history: the second volume of the Greek philosopher Aristotle's treaty on Poetics.

While the first (and still extant) volume of Aritotle's Poetics deals mainly with the nuts and bolts of drama and epic poetry, the second one dealt with Comedy. We know the book is likely to have existed because it is referenced in another one of the writer's works, Rhetoric.

Aritotle's Comedy joins the ranks of that tragic club, that of the works of art that are lost forever to mankind due to neglect, war or sheer stupidity. While there is relatively little we can do about natural disasters or the tragic intrusion of war in the preservation of culture, we should strive to preserve what can be preserved whenever there is a possibility to do so.