Principles of Tragedy : A Rational Examination of the Tragic Concept in Life and Literature book cover
1st Edition

Principles of Tragedy
A Rational Examination of the Tragic Concept in Life and Literature

ISBN 9781032253039
Published April 28, 2022 by Routledge
298 Pages

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Book Description

What is tragedy? What does the term imply? The word had outgrown its original context of literature and art and acquired wider and looser meanings.

Originally published in 1968, Dr Brereton seeks to establish the basis of a definition which will hold good on various planes and over a wide range of dramatic and other literature. Various theories are examined, beginning with Aristotle and taking in the Marxist interpretation and the two main religious theories of the sacrificial hero and the built-in conflict in fallen human nature. These theories are tested out on representative works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Racine, Ibsen, Beckett and others, and the findings which emerge are developed in the course of the book. This is conceived as a re-exploration of a widely debated subject in the light of a few clear basic principles.

The result is a lucid study which will be especially valuable for students of literature and drama.

Table of Contents

Foreword, Part I: Tragedy in Theory, 1. The Notion of Tragedy, 2. The Legacy of Aristotle, 3. Tragedy and Religion, 4. The Tragic Sense of Life, Part II: Tragedy in Practice, 5. Some Classic Tragedies: Oedipus, Hamlet, Macbeth, Ph├Ędre, 6. Some Constants of Dramatic Tragedy, 7. An Anti-Tragedy: Candide, Part III: The Duality Conflict, 8. Two Worlds or One? Neoplatonism, Pascal, 9. Imagination Enthroned: Blake and Romanticism, 10. Imagination Dethroned: Ibsen, Chekhov, Part IV: Twentieth-Century Positions, 11. Claudel: Partage de Midi, 12. Beckett: Waiting for Godot, 13. Consequences, Index

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Geoffrey Brereton