Tragedy: A Very Short Introduction

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What do we mean by 'tragedy' in present-day usage? When we turn on the news, does a report of the latest atrocity have any connection with the masterpieces of Sophocles, Shakespeare and Racine? What has tragedy been made to mean by dramatists, story-tellers, critics, philosophers, politicians and journalists over the last two and a half millennia? Why do we still read, re-write, and stage these old plays? This book argues for the continuities between 'then' and 'now'. Addressing questions about belief, blame, mourning, revenge, pain, witnessing, timing and ending, Adrian Poole demonstrates the age-old significance of our attempts to make sense of terrible suffering. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
 

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Introduction
1
1 Who needs it?
3
2 Once upon a time
20
3 The living dead
33
4 Whos to blame?
44
5 Big ideas
56
6 No laughing matter
69
7 Words words words
82
8 Timing
97
9 Endings
112
References
125
Further reading
132
Index
141
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Om författaren (2005)


Adrian Poole is Reader in English & Comparative Literature, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He has written and lectured on Greek and Shakespearean tragedy, on literary translation and on nineteenth-century English literature. His publications include Gissing in Context (1975), Tragedy: Shakespeare and the Greek Example (1987), Shakespeare and the Victorians (2003), The Oxford Book of Classical Verse in Translation (1995, co-edited with Jeremy Maule), and editions of novels by Dickens, James and R. L. Stevenson. He is working on a project about witnessing tragedy developed out of his 1999 British Academy Shakespeare Lecture, 'Macbeth and the Third Person'.

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