Poetry is more philosophical and more serious than history; poetry utters universal truths, history particular statements.

[διὸ καὶ φιλοσοφώτερον καὶ σπουδαιότερον ποίησις ἱστορίας ἐστίν: ἡ μὲν γὰρ ποίησις μᾶλλον τὰ καθόλου, ἡ δ᾽ ἱστορία τὰ καθ᾽ ἕκαστον λέγει.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics [Περὶ ποιητικῆς, De Poetica], ch. 9 / 1451b.5 (c. 335 BC) [tr. Kenny (2013)]

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Poetry, therefore, is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history: for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular.
[tr. Butcher (1895)]

Poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are of the nature rather of universals, whereas those of history are singulars.
[tr. Bywater (1909)]

Poetry is the more scientific and the higher class; for it generalizes rather, whereas history particularizes.
[tr. Margoliouth (1911)]

Poetry is something more scientific and serious than history, because poetry tends to give general truths while history gives particular facts.
[tr. Fyfe (1932)]

Poetry is more philosophical and more serious than history; in fact, poetry speaks more of universals, whereas history of particulars.
[tr. Halliwell (1986)]

Poetry is a more philosophical and more serious thing than history: poetry tends to speak of universals, history of particulars.
[tr. Janko (1987), sec. 3.2.3]

Poetry is more philosophical and more serious than history; poetry tends to speak of universals, history of particulars.
[tr. Janko (1987), sec. 3.2.3]

Poetry is more speculative and more serious business than history: for poetry deals more with universals, history with particulars.
[tr. Whalley (1997)]

Poetry is a more philosophical and more serious thing than history, since poetry speaks more of things that are universal, and history of things that are particular.
[tr. Sachs (2006)]

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.
[tr. Unknown]

Added on 7-Feb-11 | Last updated 4-Jun-21
Link to this post
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

Leave a Reply