In her Introduction Penelope Murray shows how many of the most fruitful approaches to understanding literature in the Western tradition derive from these canonical texts. Plato is often regarded as the most poetic of the great philosophers, but he mistrusted the god-like power of poets to work on our feelings and famously banished them from his ideal Republic. Aristotle responded by defending the value of art in his Poetics. His analysis of tragedy, with its key concepts of mimesis, catharsis, and hamartia, has influenced generations of critics from the Renaissance onwards. Horace's The Art of Poetry is a vivid practitioner's guide that promotes a style of poetic craftsmanship rooted in wisdom, ethical insight and decorum, while Longinus' remarkable On the Sublime explores the nature of inspiration in poetry and prose.