Tragedy and the Tragic: Greek Theatre and Beyond

Tragedy and the Tragic: Greek Theatre and Beyond

Tragedy and the Tragic: Greek Theatre and Beyond

Tragedy and the Tragic: Greek Theatre and Beyond

Synopsis

This important book of thirty new essays focuses on the crucial question: what makes tragedy, especially Greek tragedy, tragic? The contributors include many of the world's foremost scholars in the field of Greek drama. The book is accessible to readers with no knowledge of Greek and will be essential reading for anyone interested in tragedy, especially students and specialists in classics, drama, and English literature.

Excerpt

The essays that make up this book are new. They are the work of classical scholars, largely though not exclusively. They centre on Greek tragedy and the qualities that make Greek tragedy what it is; at the same time, they bear on tragedy as a whole and the qualities that make tragedy as a whole what it is. There is a good deal here about more recent drama, from Shakespeare to Beckett (but especially Shakespeare). There is much reference to theory, and much discussion--and use--of theoretical perspectives, from Nietzsche to Heidegger, from the Romantics to the post-structuralists, from Vernant to Northrop Frye, from Carol Gilligan to René Girard, from Aristotle to Brecht (but especially Aristotle). There is an outward-looking spirit to the discussions, individually or in their cross-relations, which explains the subtitle of the book: Greek Theatre and Beyond.

For all its many contributors and its many topics, the book asks to be read as a coherent volume. It also bears witness to a notable event. The event was a conference entitled 'Tragedy and "The Tragic"', which was held at King's College London on 22-5 July 1993 and brought together around two hundred delegates from twenty countries and six continents. These facts are worth recording, if only because the scale of the event is reflected in the book, and the character of the event too. By this I mean above all that the conference brought together a diverse group of speakers and listeners, not all professional classicists by any means, to address the common question: how best to define or understand Greek tragedy in particular and tragedy in general. It was not so much, though, that a theme or topic served as a point of departure for a series of individual discussions; rather that discussion was dialogic and cumulative, the more so because not only were all sessions plenary, but the majority of them involved a pair of papers, in which the second was a prepared response to the first.

Of the contributors to the book, most were speakers at the . . .

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