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Shadows of the Enlightenment: Tragic Drama during Europe’s Age of Reason
edited by Blair Hoxby
The Ohio State University Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-0-8142-8180-2 | Cloth: 978-0-8142-1500-5

To refer to Enlightenment tragedy is to teeter on the brink of paradox. The eighteenth century is famous for its celebration and employment of classical ideals such as optimism, reason, and human progress, to which tragedy seems utterly contradictory. Moreover, tragedy in the Enlightenment is also often overlooked in favor of its illustrious seventeenth-century predecessors. In Shadows of the Enlightenment, an assemblage of respected experts specializing in classical, eighteenth-century, comparative, and modernist literary traditions offer a corrective analysis, proving that the Enlightenment was a critical period for tragic drama, during which the signature classical influences of the era coexisted with an emerging modern identity. By analyzing a highly diverse set of works—from Johann Christoph Gottsched to Voltaire to Joanna Baillie—with a rare pan-European scope, the contributors excavate the dynamic, and indeed paradoxical, entanglement of antiquity and modernity encapsulated by Enlightenment tragedy. 

Contributors: Joshua Billings, Logan J. Connors, Adrian Daub, Cécile Dudouyt, James Harriman-Smith, Joseph Harris, Alex Eric Hernandez, Blair Hoxby, Russ Leo, Larry F. Norman, Stefan Tilg
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