How to Cite Aristotle's Poetics in APA Style

Aristotle's "Poetics," written in the fourth century BCE, sets forth the famed Greek philosopher's beliefs about creative writing. As explained in the sixth edition of the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association," classical works like the "Poetics" require slightly different information for an in-text reference than books do in APA format, and they do not appear on the "References" list at the end of a document.

Citation Format

Ancient Greek works like Aristotle's "Poetics" require no reference-page entry, so the in-text citation gives more detail about the specific source. The first reference to the work should give the title of the "Poetics" in a signal phrase so the reader knows what work you are referring to, like this: "As explained in Aristotle's 'Poetics,' ...." As with any source, the parenthetical citation should give the author's name. But a reference to the "Poetics" should also include the date of the translation you referenced, preceded by "trans." -- without the quotation marks -- instead of Aristotle's original publication date, since the first publication date is unknown: (Aristotle, trans. 1975). This detail helps readers find the version you quote or paraphrase in your paper. If you cite a particular portion of the piece, include some detail to help the reader find the passage. Since the "Poetics" appears in sections, a section number is appropriate. For instance, (Aristotle, trans. 1975, II) indicates a 1975 translation of Aristotle's work, section two.

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