Recognitions is about the most neglected strand of Aristotelian poetics - anagnorisis, or recognition. It is a topic that has conventionally had a bad press: the recognition scene is regarded as an implausible contrivance, a feeble way of resolving a plot the author can no longer control. But why do such scenes occur in every kind of drama and narrative fiction from the Odyssey and Oedipus to thrillers by Le Carre - and how is it they continue to surprise, amuse, and disturb? Terence Cave's book first traces the history of the term anagnorisis and explores the ways in which it continues to be a valuable focus for theoretical reflection. Then, in a series of chapters analysing examples of recognition plots from English, French, and German literature, including Shakespeare, James, Conrad, Racine, Corneille, and Goethe, the book demonstrates how recognition must be seen as a topic of the first importance, perhaps the most strictly literary of all topics in poetics.