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The Soul of Tragedy

Essays on Athenian Drama

The Soul of Tragedy brings together top scholars to offer a wide range of perspectives on Greek tragedy. The collection pays homage to this ancient, enduring theatrical and literary genre by offering a deep exploration into the oldest form of dramatic expression. It is a reminder that, for all their years, these dramas still have much to teach us.

Exemplary of the nature and scope of this book, the essays range from Simon Goldhill’s comparative study of music, gender, and culture to Martha Nussbaum’s inspection of "the comic soul." Through the critical lenses of psychoanalysis, gender, social history, and philology, this compilation looks at Greek tragedy’s peculiar power to illuminate the workings of the human soul. Structures of tragic meaning, the relationship between character desire and spectator experience, and investigations of tragedy’s extraordinary preoccupation with gender reveal the form’s emotional core and explain its rapid ascent through the hierarchy of cultural practices in classical Greece. The Soul of Tragedy is a celebration and a model of collaboration that will be essential reading for scholars in classics, literature, and drama.

312 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2006

Ancient Studies

Film Studies


"The Soul of Tragedy: Essays on Athenian Drama is a collection of essays in honor of Charles Segal (1936-2002), whose contributions to the study of Greek tragedy over several decades give him a fair claim to the title "soul of tragedy." This collection is more than a standard Festschrift, however, as it comprises the efforts of some of the field’s top scholars, working with several different plays, in several different methodological traditions (primarily, but not entirely, structuralism, psychoanalysis, and feminist criticism). The book is not only an important resource for any professional student of Greek tragedy, but, in the richness of its methodological approaches, would also serve as a helpful introduction in a graduate seminar on literary criticism and tragedy."

Norman B. Sandridge | Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"The essays give the reader many fascinating perspectives on some of the main approaches to the study of Athenian drama today."

Robin Mitchell-Boyask | Clio

Table of Contents

Introduction - Victoria Pedrick
I. The Geometry of Suffering
Aristotle on the Tragic Emotions - David Konstan
Divine and Human in Sophocles’ Philoctetes - Seth L. Schein
Euripedes’ Heaven - Pietro Pucci
Dionysiac Triangles: The Politics of Culture in Wole Soyinka’s The Bacchae of Euripides - Barbara Goff
II. A Vast Continent of Sorrows
The Subject of Desire in Sophocles’ Antigone - Mark Griffith
Beyond Sexual Difference: Becoming-Woman in Euripides’ Bacchae - Victoria Wohl
The Comic Soul: Or, This Phallus That Is Not One - Martha C. Nussbaum
III. The Ordinary Horrors of the Feminine
Women in Groups: Aeschylus’s Suppliants and the Female Choruses of Greek Tragedy - Sheila Murnaghan
Redeeming Matricide? Euripides Rereads the Oresteia - Froma I. Zeitlin
Clytemnestra’s First Marriage: Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis - John Gibert
IV. Cautionary Tales
Visuality and Temporality: Reading the Tragic Script - Karen Bassi
Music, Gender, and Hellenistic Society - Simon Goldhill
The Tyranny of Germany over Greece - Page duBois
List of Contributors
Index of Key Passages
Subject Index

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