Tragic Seneca undertakes a radical re-evaluation of Seneca's plays, their relationship to Roman imperial culture and their instrumental role in the evolution of the European theatrical tradition. Following an introduction on the history of the Roman theatre, the book provides a dramatic and cultural critique of the whole of Seneca's corpus, analysing the declamatory form of the plays, their rhetoric, interiority, stagecraft and spectacle, dramatic, ideological and moral structure and their overt theatricality. Each of Seneca's plays is examined in detail, locating the force of Senecan drama not only in the moral complexity of the texts and their representations of power, violence, history, suffering and the self, but the semiotic interplay of text, tradition and culture. The later chapters focus on Seneca's influence on Italian, English and French drama of the Renaissance. A.J. Boyle argues that tragedians such as Cinthio, Kyd, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Webster, Corneille, and Racine owe a debt to Seneca that goes beyond allusion, dramatic form and the treatment of tyranny and revenge to the development of the tragic sensibility and the metatheatrical mind. Tragic Seneca attempts to restore Seneca to a central position in the European literary tradition. It will provide readers and directors of Seneca's plays with the essential critical guide to their intellectual, cultural and dramatic complexity.
The question of why Seneca wrote tragedy has been debated since at least the 13th century. Since Seneca was a Stoic, critics assumed he wrote with the standard Stoic theory of literature as education in philosophy in mind. This book argues that Seneca was influenced by Aristotle's famous defense of tragedy against Plato's critique.
This ethical context is a productive frame of reference for interpreting the strange artificiality of Senecan tragedy, the consciousness that its own dramatic worlds, events, and people are literary constructs. In Troades for example Achilles' ghost and its vengeance is represented both as an inexorable dramatic reality and the creature of a fabula to be dismissed as a malignant fiction."--BOOK JACKET.
Hölderlin (1770-1843) is the magnificent writer whom Nietzsche called 'my favourite poet'. His writings and poetry have been formative throughout the twentieth century, and as influential as those of Hegel, his friend. At the same time, his madness has made his poetry infinitely complex as it engages with tragedy, and irreconcilable breakdown, both political and personal, with anger and with mourning. This study gives a detailed approach to Hölderlin's writings on Greek tragedy, especially Sophocles, whom he translated into German, and gives close attention to his poetry, which is never far from an engagement with tragedy. Hölderlin's writings, always fascinating, enable a consideration of the various meanings of tragedy, and provide a new reading of Shakespeare, particularly Julius Caesar, Hamlet and Macbeth; the work proceeds by opening into discussion of Nietzsche, especially The Birth of Tragedy. Since Hölderlin was such a decisive figure for Modernism, to say nothing of modern Germany, he matters intensely to such differing theorists and philosophers as Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida, all of whose views are discussed herein. Drawing upon the insights of Hegelian philosophy and psychoanalysis, this book gives the English-speaking reader ready access to a magnificent body of poetry and to the poet as a theorist of tragedy and of madness. Hölderlin's poetry is quoted freely, with translations and commentary provided. This book is the first major account of Hölderlin in English to offer the student and general reader a critical account of a vital body of work which matters to any study of poetry and to all who are interested in poetry's relationships to madness. It is essential reading in the understanding of how tragedy pervades literature and politics, and how tragedy has been regarded and written about, from Hegel to Walter Benjamin.
Analyzing the work of every Roman tragedian whose work survived in substance, Anthony J. Boyle provides the first detailed cultural and theatrical history of Roman tragedy and its place at the centre of Rome's cultural and political life.
Elaine Fantham provides here a fresh Latin text of Seneca's Traodes and an English version, with an extensive introduction and critical commentary--the first separate treatment of the play in English since Kingery's 1908 edition. Arguing that the Troades was not intended for stage production, the author also discusses the atmosphere of Rome at the time the play was written, when both political and poetic life were felt to be in decline. Although Seneca's plays reflect his experience of tyranny, corruption, and compromise, they are enriched by his contract with the nobler world of poetry. Demonstrating how Seneca loved and imitated the Augustan poets, Professor Fantham reveals the originality that is part of his imitation. Professor Fantham discusses not only the particular characteristics of Seneca's generation but the interplay of his moral and poetic concerns in relationship to his subject--the Trojan captivity.By analyzing his reactions to accounts of this theme in Homer, Euripides, and Augustan epic, she explains his methods and motives in composition. Comparison of the play with Seneca's other works and with other drama exposes some inconsistency, formulaic writing, and excess of ingenuity. It also reveals the influence of epic in loosening his dramtic form and makes apparent his immense vitality. Elaine Fantham is Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto and author of Comparative Studies in the Republican Latin Imagery (Toronto). Originally published in 1983. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
The introduction tackles knotty problems: the structure and unity of the work, Seneca's literary purpose and treatment of the Theban legend, the absence of an ending and of choral lyrics, staging difficulties, etc. The commentary, primarily a literary analysis of the text, also elucidates textual, metrical, and grammatical problems.
The forced suicide of Seneca, former adviser to Nero, is one of the most tortured death scenes from classical antiquity. Here, James Ker offers a comprehensive cultural history of Seneca's death scene, situating it in the Roman imagination and tracing its many subsequent interpretations.
Why did Greek tragedy and "the tragic" come to be seen as essential to conceptions of modernity? And how has this belief affected modern understandings of Greek drama? In Genealogy of the Tragic, Joshua Billings answers these and related questions by tracing the emergence of the modern theory of the tragic, which was first developed around 1800 by thinkers associated with German Idealism. The book argues that the idea of the tragic arose in response to a new consciousness of history in the late eighteenth century, which spurred theorists to see Greek tragedy as both a unique, historically remote form and a timeless literary genre full of meaning for the present. The book offers a new interpretation of the theories of Schiller, Schelling, Hegel, Hölderlin, and others, as mediations between these historicizing and universalizing impulses, and shows the roots of their approaches in earlier discussions of Greek tragedy in Germany, France, and England. By examining eighteenth-century readings of tragedy and the interactions between idealist thinkers in detail, Genealogy of the Tragic offers the most comprehensive historical account of the tragic to date, as well as the fullest explanation of why and how the idea was used to make sense of modernity. The book argues that idealist theories remain fundamental to contemporary interpretations of Greek tragedy, and calls for a renewed engagement with philosophical questions in criticism of tragedy.
In this volume, tragedy in antiquity is examined synoptically, from its misty origins in archaic Greece, through its central position in the civic life of ancient Athens and its performances across the Greek-speaking world, to its new and very different instantiations in Republican and Imperial Roman contexts. Lively, original essays by eminent scholars trace the shifting dramatic forms, performance environments, and social meanings of tragedy as it was repeatedly reinvented. Tragedy was consistently seen as the most serious of all dramatic genres; these essays trace a sequence of different visions of what the most serious kind of dramatic story might be, and the most appropriate ways of telling those stories on stage. Each chapter takes a different theme as its focus: forms and media; sites of performance and circulation; communities of production and consumption; philosophy and social theory; religion, ritual, and myth; politics of city and nation; society and family, and gender and sexuality.