Terry Eagleton on Tragedy as a political institution

‘Sorrow and despair constitute a lingua franca. Yet tragedy in the artistic sense is a highly specific affair.’ In Tragedy, eminent literary critic Terry Eagleton explores the nuances of tragedy in Western culture—from literature and politics to philosophy and theatre.

His examination of the political nature of tragedy looks closely at its connection with periods of historical transition. The dramatic form, Eagleton demonstrates, originated not as a meditation on the human condition, but at moments of political engagement, when civilizations struggled with the conflicts that beset them.

Read on for an extract on tragedy as a political institution, moving from Plato and Aristotle to the German philosophers.


Tragedy
by Terry Eagleton

‘Eagleton, almost alone among academic literary critics of his generation, has never been afraid of asking big questions about big things.’– John Sutherland

Did you enjoy this extract and want to read more content from Terry Eagleton? Try an extract from Why Marx was Right or listen to his interview on The Event of Literature.


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