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Aristotle in Hollywood
Visual stories that work
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Price £26.50, $35.50
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ISBN 9781841500607
Paperback 162 pages

Published January 2001
Imprint: Intellect
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Books in Film Studies

Throughout the centuries Aristotle's Poetics remained something of a mystery. What was the great philosopher trying to say about the nature of drama and storytelling? What did he mean by pity, fear and catharsis?

In this book, Ari Hiltunen explains the mystery of the 'proper pleasure', which, according to Aristotle, is the goal of drama and can be brought about by using certain storytelling strategies. Hiltunen develops Aristotle's thesis to demonstrate how the world's best-loved fairy tales, Shakespeare's success, and empirical studies on the enjoyment of drama and brain physiology, all give support to the idea of a universal 'proper pleasure' through storytelling.

Examining the key concepts and logic of Poetics, Hiltunen offers a unique insight to anyone who wants to know the secret of successful storytelling, both in the past and in today's multi-billion dollar entertainment industry.

Ari Hiltunen concludes that Aristotle's ideas and insights are as valid today as they were over 2000 years ago. This book will be of interest to all those working and studying in the fields of communication, media and writing.


Chapter 1: 'Primary Source of the Magical Experience'

Chapter 2: 'Aristotle and the Mystery of Dramatic Pleasure'

Chapter 3: 'Strategies for the Good Plot'

Chapter 4: 'Shakespeare and the Pleasure of Drama'

Chapter 5: 'The Power of the "Proper Pleasure"'

Chapter 6: 'Enjoyment of Drama: The Scientific Evidence'

Chapter 7: 'The "Proper Pleasure" in Hollywood'

Chapter 8: 'The "Proper Pleasure" in Best-selling Ficion;

Chapter 9: 'TV-Series and the "Proper Pleasure"'

Chapter 10: 'The "Proper Pleasure" in Cyberspace'

Chapeter 11: 'The Anatomy of the "Proper Pleasure"'

Chapter 12: 'Storytelling in the New Millennium'

'The elucidation of entertainment's pleasures in relation to the factors alluded to... by the Poetics is persuasive.' (Kenneth MacKinnon, London Metropolitan University)

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