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Aristotle (384-322 BC) was admired in the ancient world for the clarity of his style. Unfortunately, the writings that earned him this esteem have not survived. What we read today are not the books Aristotle prepared for publication, but lecture notes complied for his own use. These have one great advantage making no concessions to a lay readership, the Aristotelian works available to us are the ones that intellectually sophisticated commentators in late antiquity (A.D.300-600) found philosophically most rewarding. But they also have disadvantages. These texts were not designed for public consumption and are consequently often difficult to understand. The process by which they took their present form is unclear: in some cases there are signs of editorial activity either by Aristotle or by a later hand, so different versions of the same text may have been spliced together. In general their style is cryptic, condensed, and allusive, the Poetic , in particular, is frequently very obscure. This obscurity has created difficulties for later readers of Aristotle. The Poetics, though not widely known in antiquity, became extraordinarily influential beginning around 1500 in the Renaissance, especially among literary critics. Yet the text`s obscurities have left it open to conflicting interpretations. There are still fundamental disagreements about the meaning even of key concepts, such as katharsis.