Synopses & Reviews
In this dazzling book Terry Eagleton provides a comprehensive study of tragedy, all the way from Aeschylus to Edward Albee, dealing with both theory and practice, and moving between ideas of tragedy and analyses of particular works and authors. This amazing tour-de-force steps out beyond the stage to reflect not only on tragic art but also on real-life tragedy. It explores the idea of the tragic in the novel, examining such writers as Melville, Hawthorne, Stendhal, Tolstoy, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Manzoni, Goethe and Mann, as well as English novelists.
With his characteristic brilliance and inventiveness of mind, Eagleton weaves together literature, philosophy, ethics, theology, and political theory. In so doing he makes a major political–philosophical statement drawn from a startling range of Western thought, in the writings of Plato, St Paul, St Augustine, Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Sartre and others.
This book takes serious issue with the idea of ‘the death of tragedy’, and gives a comprehensive survey of definitions of tragedy itself, arguing a radical and controversial case.
"Terry Eagleton’s titanic tryst with the Tragic muse crowns a career devoted to exploring the ideology of aesthetic and political form … This is a brave and bracing book that bridges Eagleton’s secular, socialist ideals with his metaphysical and theological aspirations: a remarkable comedic spirit hovers over this passionate reflection on the temper of tragedy." Homi K. Bhabha, Harvard University
"Sweet Violence has all the characteristics that compel the reader, however tested and exasperated, to admire its author. It is long, discursive, packed with illustrations drawn from enormous reading in world literature, perverse and even, quite often, funny." New York Times
"Eagleton has raised a banner for a terrifying but beautiful new seriousness in the arts, directly drawn from our contemporary world. It is an extraordinary achievement and ... an inspiration." The Guardian
"The best book Terry Eagleton has yet written." English Studies
Includes bibliographical references (p. -316) and index.
Terry Eagleton's Tragedy
provides a major critical and analytical account of the concept of 'tragedy' from its origins in the Ancient world right down to the twenty-first century.
- A major new intellectual endeavour from one of the world's finest, and most controversial, cultural theorists.
- Provides an analytical account of the concept of 'tragedy' from its origins in the ancient world to the present day.
- Explores the idea of the 'tragic' across all genres of writing, as well as in philosophy, politics, religion and psychology, and throughout western culture.
- Considers the psychological, religious and socio-political implications and consequences of our fascination with the tragic.
About the Author
Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory and John Rylands Fellow at the University of Manchester. His numerous works include The Illusions of Postmodernism (1996), Literary Theory: An Introduction (second edition, 1996), The Ideology of the Aesthetic (1990), Scholars and Rebels in Nineteenth Century Ireland (1999), and The Idea of Culture (2000), all published by Blackwell, as are his dramatic writings, St Oscar and Other Plays (1997), and the Eagleton Reader (1997) edited by Stephen Regan. His memoir The Gatekeeper was published in 2002.
Table of Contents
1. A Theory in Ruins.
2. The Value of Agony.
3. From Hegel to Beckett.
5. Freedom, Fate and Justice.
6. Pity, Fear and Pleasure.
7. Tragedy and the Novel.
8. Tragedy and Modernity.
10. Thomas Mann's Hedgehog.