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Aeschylus’s Suppliant Women
The Tragedy of Immigration
Geoffrey W. Bakewell
University of Wisconsin Press, 2013
This book offers a provocative interpretation of a relatively neglected tragedy, Aeschylus's Suppliant Women. Although the play's subject is a venerable myth, it frames the flight of the daughters of Danaus from Egypt to Greece in starkly contemporary terms, emphasizing the encounter between newcomers and natives. Some scholars read Suppliant Women as modeling successful social integration, but Geoffrey W. Bakewell argues that the play demonstrates, above all, the difficulties and dangers noncitizens brought to the polis.
            Bakewell's approach is rigorously historical, situating Suppliant Women in the context of the unprecedented immigration that Athens experienced in the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. The flow of foreigners to Attika increased under the Pisistratids but became a flood following liberation, Cleisthenes, and the Persian Wars. As Athenians of the classical era became increasingly aware of their own collective identity, they sought to define themselves and exclude others. They created a formal legal status to designate the free noncitizens living among them, calling them metics and calling their status metoikia. When Aeschylus dramatized the mythical flight of the Danaids from Egypt in his play Suppliant Women, he did so in light of his own time and place. Throughout the play, directly and indirectly, he casts the newcomers as metics and their stay in Greece as metoikia.
            Bakewell maps the manifold anxieties that metics created in classical Athens, showing that although citizens benefited from the many immigrants in their midst, they also feared the effects of immigration in political, sexual, and economic realms. Bakewell finds metoikia was a deeply flawed solution to the problem of large-scale immigration. Aeschylus's Argives accepted the Danaids as metics only under duress and as a temporary response to a crisis. Like the historical Athenians, they opted for metoikia because they lacked better alternatives.

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Architecture's Evil Empire?
The Triumph and Tragedy of Global Modernism
Miles Glendinning
Reaktion Books, 2010

From Chicago to Toronto to Shanghai, cities around the world have sprouted “iconic” buildings by celebrity architects like Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind that compete for attention both on the skyline and in the media. But in recent years, criticism of these extreme “gestural” structures, known for their often-exaggerated forms, has been growing. Miles Glendinning’s impassioned polemic, Architecture’s Evil Empire, looks at how today’s trademark architectural individualism stretches beyond the well-known works and ultimately extends to the entire built environment. Glendinning examines how the global empire of the current modernism emerged—particularly in relation to the excesses of global capitalism—and explains its key organizational and architectural features, placing its most influential theorists and designers in a broader context of history and artistic movements.

            Arguing against the excesses of iconic architecture, Glendinning advocates a vision of modern renewal that seeks to remedy the shattered and alienated look he sees in contemporary architecture. Mingling scholarship with wry humor and a genuine concern for the state of architecture, Architecture’s Evil Empire will raise many heated debates and appeal to a wide range of readers, from architects to historians, interested in the built environment.


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Aristotle's Poetics
Stephen Halliwell
University of Chicago Press, 1998
In this, the fullest, sustained interpretation of Aristotle's Poetics available in English, Stephen Halliwell demonstrates that the Poetics, despite its laconic brevity, is a coherent statement of a challenging theory of poetic art, and it hints towards a theory of mimetic art in general. Assessing this theory against the background of earlier Greek views on poetry and art, particularly Plato's, Halliwell goes further than any previous author in setting Aristotle's ideas in the wider context of his philosophical system.

The core of the book is a fresh appraisal of Aristotle's view of tragic drama, in which Halliwell contends that at the heart of the Poetics lies a philosophical urge to instill a secularized understanding of Greek tragedy.

"Essential reading not only for all serious students of the Poetics . . . but also for those—the great majority—who have prudently fought shy of it altogether."—B. R. Rees, Classical Review

"A splendid work of scholarship and analysis . . . a brilliant interpretation."—Alexander Nehamas, Times Literary Supplement


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Bagpipe Brothers
The FDNY Band's True Story of Tragedy, Mourning, and Recovery
Kerry Sheridan
Rutgers University Press, 2004
After the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks, New York City's Emerald Society Bagpipe Band of firefighter-musicians took out their instruments and prepared to bury their dead--343 brothers in duty and in blood. Many firefighters alternated between playing their instruments at funerals and digging for the missing in the rubble of Ground Zero. The Irish American tradition of funeral bagpiping became the sound of mourning for an entire nation.

Bagpipe Brothers tells the unforgettable story of four firefighters in the band, who struggled to bring peace to their families and themselves while searching for the dead, coping with the endless round of funerals, and rethinking the meaning of faith. Their experiences illustrate the grief and recovery of the nation in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

Kerry Sheridan has written the first book to cover the ordeal of the massive number of funerals, the importance of recovering bodies in Irish American culture, and the bagpiping ritual, both traditional and modern.

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Celinda, A Tragedy
A Bilingual Edition
Valeria Miani
Iter Press, 2010
Valeria Miani’s Celinda (1611), the only female-authored secular tragedy of early modern Italy, is here made available for the first time in a modern edition. Miani’s tale of the doomed love of the Lydian princess Celinda for the cross-dressed Persian prince Autilio/ Lucinia offers a striking example of the explorative attitude to gender identity that is such a marked characteristic of Italian drama in this period, both within the erudite and the commedia dell’arte tradition. Accompanied by Julia Kisacky’s sensitive translation, and with a valuable contextualizing introduction by Valeria Finucci, this edition of Celinda makes an important contribution to our understanding of women’s place within Italian literary culture in a period increasingly recognized as exceptional for the range and quality of femaleauthored writing it produced.
—Virginia Cox
Professor of Italian, New York University

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Character and the Individual Personality in English Renaissance Drama
Tragedy, History, Tragicomedy
John E. Curran
University of Delaware Press, 2014
Character and the Individual Personality in English Renaissance Drama: Tragedy, History, Tragicomedy studies instantiations of the individualistic character in drama, Shakespearean and non-Shakespearean, and some of the Renaissance ideas allowing for and informing them. Setting aside such fraught questions as the history of Renaissance subjectivity and individualism on the one hand and Shakespearean exceptionalism on the other, we can find that in some plays, by a range of different authors and collaborators, a conception has been evidenced of who a particular person is, and has been used to drive the action. This evidence can take into account a number of internal and external factors that might differentiate a person, and can do so drawing on the intellectual context in a number of ways. Ideas with potential to emphasize the special over the general in envisioning the person might come from training in dialectic (thesis vs hypothesis) or in rhetoric (ethopoeia), from psychological frameworks (casuistry, humor theory, and their interpenetration), or from historiography (exemplarity). But though they depicted what we would call personality only intermittently, and with assumptions different from our own about personhood, dramatists sometimes made a priority of representing the workings of a specific mind: the patterns of thought and feeling that set a person off as that person and define that person singularly rather than categorically. Some individualistic characters can be shown to emerge where we do not expect, such as with Fletcherian personae like Amintor, Arbaces, and Montaigne of The Honest Man’s Fortune; some are drawn by playwrights often uninterested in character, such as Chapman’s Bussy D’Ambois, Jonson’s Cicero, and Ford’s Perkin Warbeck; and some appear in being constructed differently from others by the same author, as when Webster’s Bosola is set in contrast to Flamineo, and Marlowe’s Faustus is set against Barabas. But Shakespearean characters are also examined for the particular manner in which each troubles the categorical and exhibits a personality: Othello, Good Duke Humphrey, and Marc Antony.

Published by University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.

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China at War
Triumph and Tragedy in the Emergence of the New China
Hans van de Ven
Harvard University Press, 2018

China’s mid-twentieth-century wars pose extraordinary interpretive challenges. The issue is not just that the Chinese fought for such a long time—from the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of July 1937 until the close of the Korean War in 1953—across such vast territory. As Hans van de Ven explains, the greatest puzzles lie in understanding China’s simultaneous external and internal wars. Much is at stake, politically, in how this story is told.

Today in its official history and public commemorations, the People’s Republic asserts Chinese unity against Japan during World War II. But this overwrites the era’s stark divisions between Communists and Nationalists, increasingly erasing the civil war from memory. Van de Ven argues that the war with Japan, the civil war, and its aftermath were in fact of a piece—a singular process of conflict and political change. Reintegrating the Communist uprising with the Sino-Japanese War, he shows how the Communists took advantage of wartime to increase their appeal, how fissures between the Nationalists and Communists affected anti-Japanese resistance, and how the fractious coalition fostered conditions for revolution.

In the process, the Chinese invented an influential paradigm of war, wherein the Clausewitzian model of total war between well-defined interstate enemies gave way to murky campaigns of national liberation involving diverse domestic and outside belligerents. This history disappears when the realities of China’s mid-century conflicts are stripped from public view. China at War recovers them.


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City of Suppliants
Tragedy and the Athenian Empire
By Angeliki Tzanetou
University of Texas Press, 2012

After fending off Persia in the fifth century BCE, Athens assumed a leadership position in the Aegean world. Initially it led the Delian League, a military alliance against the Persians, but eventually the league evolved into an empire with Athens in control and exacting tribute from its former allies. Athenians justified this subjection of their allies by emphasizing their fairness and benevolence towards them, which gave Athens the moral right to lead. But Athenians also believed that the strong rule over the weak and that dominating others allowed them to maintain their own freedom. These conflicting views about Athens’ imperial rule found expression in the theater, and this book probes how the three major playwrights dramatized Athenian imperial ideology.

Through close readings of Aeschylus’ Eumenides, Euripides’ Children of Heracles, and Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus, as well as other suppliant dramas, Angeliki Tzanetou argues that Athenian tragedy performed an important ideological function by representing Athens as a benevolent and moral ruler that treated foreign suppliants compassionately. She shows how memorable and disenfranchised figures of tragedy, such as Orestes and Oedipus, or the homeless and tyrant-pursued children of Heracles were generously incorporated into the public body of Athens, thus reinforcing Athenians’ sense of their civic magnanimity. This fresh reading of the Athenian suppliant plays deepens our understanding of how Athenians understood their political hegemony and reveals how core Athenian values such as justice, freedom, piety, and respect for the laws intersected with imperial ideology.


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A Commentary on The Complete Greek Tragedies. Aeschylus
James C. Hogan
University of Chicago Press, 1985
This commentary offers a rich introduction and useful guide to the seven surviving plays attributed to Aeschylus. Though it may profitably be used with any translation of Aeschylus, the commentary is based on the acclaimed Chicago translations, The Complete Greek Tragedies, edited by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore.

James C. Hogan provides a general introduction to Aeschylean theater and drama, followed by a line-by-line commentary on each of the seven plays. He places Aeschylus in the historical, cultural, and religious context of fifth-century Athens, showing how the action and metaphor of Aeschylean theater can be illuminated by information on Athenian law athletic contests, relations with neighboring states, beliefs about the underworld, and countless other details of Hellenic life. Hogan clarifies terms that might puzzle modern readers, such as place names and mythological references, and gives special attention to textual and linguistic issues: controversial questions of interpretation; difficult or significant Greek words; use of style, rhetoric, and commonplaces in Greek poetry; and Aeschylus's place in the poetic tradition of Homer, Hesiod, and the elegiac poets. Practical information on staging and production is also included, as are maps and illustrations, a bibliography, indexes, and extensive cross-references between the seven plays. Forthcoming volumes will cover the works of Sophocles and Euripides.

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A Commentary on the Plays of Sophocles
James C. Hogan
Southern Illinois University Press, 1991

James C. Hogan introduces each play by highlighting specific and interpretive problems relevant to that play before turning to a line-by-line analysis. The line analysis is comprehensive, ranging from the meanings of words and phrases that pertain to a variety of Greek ideas and institutions to metaphor and imagery specific to each play as well as plots and borrowings from earlier poetry, styles, and characterizations.

Along with his examination of the seven extant plays of Sophocles in English translations, Hogan provides a general introduction to the theatre in Sophocles’ time, discussing staging, the conventions of the Greek theatre, the text of the plays, and mythology and religion.


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Crossing the Rapido
A Tragedy of World War II
Duane Schultz
Westholme Publishing, 2010

The True Story of an Impossible Mission During the Liberation of Italy

"World War II history writing at its best.”Dallas Morning News

“Schultz convey stories of individual courage and fear. He presents the Rapido crossing as part of an experience that changed lives utterly.”Publishers Weekly

“Well written, superbly documented and containing many helpful illustrations and maps, this fine book will appeal to military history enthusiasts of all ages.”Read@MPL (Milwaukee Public Library)

“Duane Schultz has written another powerful account of the Second World War.”Daily News, Iron Mountain, Michigan

“A fast-paced, dramatic account of World War II combat.”—Global War Studies

The Rapido River was the last natural barrier between General Mark W. Clark’s Fifth U.S. Army and Rome. Ignoring intelligence reports that the Germans had significant forces protecting the opposite side of the river, Clark ordered the 36th Division to make a nighttime crossing on January 20, 1944. The division, already coming through some of the heaviest fighting in Italy, knew they could not succeed: they had to cross a fast-flowing river at night in bitter cold and face one of the strongest, most formidable German defensive lines in Europe, full of minefields, veteran troops, and withering artillery and mortar fire. Once in the water, men in full field gear were borne away by the current or vanished in massive explosions. The few who managed to reach the other side found themselves pinned down unable to move. Soldiers died by the hundreds, yet the stunned survivors who fell back to the launch site were ordered to attack again, this time in daylight. Of the 4,000 men who attempted the crossing, more than half did not return. General Clark never accepted blame for ordering the assault despite the numerous warnings he received from both British and American commanders. Although they were decimated, the division went on to lead a key surprise attack that opened Rome to Allied forces, and ultimately fought in France, where they had the distinction of capturing Hermann Goering and Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt.

In Crossing the Rapido: A Tragedy of World War II, Duane Schultz follows the action at the ground level using survivors’ interviews and army documents to tell the story of one division’s sacrifice in war. In doing so, he demonstrates that the American soldier will face the greatest odds without protest, but expects those in command to share any failure or success.

“Those of us who were present will always remember the men of the 36th, climbing silently in the night behind the enemy, armed with little but their American competence and a personal faith in their quiet, retiring general who had never let them down. If Generals Alexander and Clark received the key to the city of Rome, it was General Walker who turned the key and handed it to them.” —Eric Sevareid, reporting from Italy during World War II

“I have never seen so many dead as on that day.”John Huston, Academy Award winning director during his wartime filming of The Battle of San Pietro


front cover of Crossings
Nietzsche and the Space of Tragedy
John Sallis
University of Chicago Press, 1991
Boldly contesting recent scholarship, Sallis argues that
The Birth of Tragedy is a rethinking of art at the
limit of metaphysics. His close reading focuses on the
complexity of the Apollinian/Dionysian dyad and on the
crossing of these basic art impulses in tragedy.

"Sallis effectively calls into question some commonly
accepted and simplistic ideas about Nietzsche's early
thinking and its debt to Schopenhauer, and proposes
alternatives that are worth considering."—Richard
Schacht, Times Literary Supplement

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The Culture of Violence
Essays on Tragedy and History
Francis Barker
University of Chicago Press, 1993
'Culture' and 'violence' have always been regarded as antithetical terms. In The Culture of Violence, Francis Barker takes a different view.

Central to his argument is the contention that, contrary to post-Enlightenment humanist, liberal and conservative thought, 'culture' does not necessarily stand in opposition to political inequality and social injustice, but may be complicit with the oppressive exercise of power.

The book focuses on Shakespearean tragedy and on the historicism and culturalism of much present-day cultural theory. Barker's analysis moves dialectically backwards and forwards between these two moments in order to illuminate aspects of early modern culture, and to critique the ways in which the complicity between culture and violence has been occluded. Rejecting the tendency of both modernism and post-modernism to homogenise historical time, Barker argues for a genuinely new, 'diacritical' understanding of the violence of history.

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Death's Door
True Tales of Tragedy, Mystery, and Bravery from the Great Lakes' Most Dangerous Waters
Barbara Joosse
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2023
True maritime stories told in graphic-novel style 

This beautifully illustrated book for children ages 8–11 relates dramatic moments from Great Lakes maritime history in a graphic-novel style. The book’s five true stories span four centuries but take place in one location: a dangerous stretch of water near Lake Michigan’s western shore that is known as “Death’s Door.” 

Young readers will devour these tales of tragic accidents, mysterious disappearances, and heroic moments. The stories feature a 17th-century fur trading crew, an 18th-century Potawatomi trading party, a mail carrier and a shipbuilding family from the 19th century, and an early 20th-century basketball team. The narrator is Death’s Door itself, who wonders why people insist on crossing its treacherous waters, concluding it is “because they are human. Ambitious and restless…but loving too.” 

An informative afterword provides insight into the author’s sources and features archival images and additional historical details about each of the stories.

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The Donora Death Fog
Clean Air and the Tragedy of a Pennsylvania Mill Town
Andy McPhee
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021
In October 1948, a seemingly average fog descended on the tiny mill town of Donora, Pennsylvania. With a population of fewer than fifteen thousand, the town’s main industry was steel and zinc mills—mills that continually emitted pollutants into the air. The six-day smog event left twenty-one people dead and thousands sick. Even after the fog lifted, hundreds more died or were left with lingering health problems. Donora Death Fog details how six fateful days in Donora led to the nation’s first clean air act in 1955, and how such catastrophes can lead to successful policy change. Andy McPhee tells the very human story behind this ecological disaster: how wealthy industrialists built the mills to supply an ever-growing America; how the town’s residents—millworkers and their families—willfully ignored the danger of the mills’ emissions; and how the gradual closing of the mills over the years following the tragedy took its toll on the town.  

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Driven toward Madness
The Fugitive Slave Margaret Garner and Tragedy on the Ohio
Nikki M. Taylor
Ohio University Press, 2016

Margaret Garner was the runaway slave who, when confronted with capture just outside of Cincinnati, slit the throat of her toddler daughter rather than have her face a life in slavery. Her story has inspired Toni Morrison’s Beloved, a film based on the novel starring Oprah Winfrey, and an opera. Yet, her life has defied solid historical treatment. In Driven toward Madness, Nikki M. Taylor brilliantly captures her circumstances and her transformation from a murdering mother to an icon of tragedy and resistance.

Taylor, the first African American woman to write a history of Garner, grounds her approach in black feminist theory. She melds history with trauma studies to account for shortcomings in the written record. In so doing, she rejects distortions and fictionalized images; probes slavery’s legacies of sexual and physical violence and psychic trauma in new ways; and finally fleshes out a figure who had been rendered an apparition.


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Eclipse of Action
Tragedy and Political Economy
Richard Halpern
University of Chicago Press, 2017
According to traditional accounts, the history of tragedy is itself tragic: following a miraculous birth in fifth-century Athens and a brilliant resurgence in the early modern period, tragic drama then falls into a marked decline. While disputing the notion that tragedy has died, this wide-ranging study argues that it faces an unprecedented challenge in modern times from an unexpected quarter: political economy.

Since Aristotle, tragedy has been seen as uniquely exhibiting the importance of action for human happiness. Beginning with Adam Smith, however, political economy has claimed that the source of happiness is primarily production. Eclipse of Action examines the tense relations between action and production, doing and making, in playwrights from Aeschylus, Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Milton to Beckett, Arthur Miller, and Sarah Kane. Richard Halpern places these figures in conversation with works by Aristotle, Smith, Hegel, Marx, Hannah Arendt, Georges Bataille, and others in order to trace the long history of the ways in which economic thought and tragic drama interact.

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Euripides and the Instruction of the Athenians
Justina Gregory
University of Michigan Press, 1997
Political by its very nature, Greek tragedy reflects on how life should be lived in the polis, and especially the polis that was democratic Athens. Instructional as well, drama frequently concerns itself with the audience's moral education. Euripides and the Instruction of the Athenians draws on these political and didactic functions of tragedy for a close analysis of five plays: Alcestis, Hippolytus, Hecuba, Heracles, and Trojan Women. Clearly written and persuasively argued, this volume addresses itself to all who are interested in Greek tragedy. Nonspecialists and scholars alike will deepen their understanding of this complex writer and the tumultuous period in which he lived.
". . . a lucid presentation of the positive side of Euripidean tragedy, and a thoughtful reminder of the political implications of Greek tragedy." --American Journal of Philology
". . . the principal defect of [this] otherwise excellent study is that it is too short." --Erich Segal, Classical Review
". . . a most stimulating book throughout . . . ." --Greece and Rome
Justina Gregory is Professor of Classics, Smith College, where she is head of the department. She has been the recipient of Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson fellowships.

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Euripides and the Poetics of Sorrow
Art, Gender, and Commemoration in Alcestis, Hippolytus, and Hecuba
Charles Segal
Duke University Press, 1993
Where is the pleasure in tragedy? This question, how suffering and sorrow become the stuff of aesthetic delight, is at the center of Charles Segal's new book, which collects and expands his recent explorations of Euripides' art.
Alcestis, Hippolytus, and Hecuba, the three early plays interpreted here, are linked by common themes of violence, death, lamentation and mourning, and by their implicit definitions of male and female roles. Segal shows how these plays draw on ancient traditions of poetic and ritual commemoration, particularly epic song, and at the same time refashion these traditions into new forms. In place of the epic muse of martial glory, Euripides, Segal argues, evokes a muse of sorrows who transforms the suffering of individuals into a "common grief for all the citizens," a community of shared feeling in the theater.
Like his predecessors in tragedy, Euripides believes death, more than any other event, exposes the deepest truth of human nature. Segal examines the revealing final moments in Alcestis, Hippolytus, and Hecuba, and discusses the playwright's use of these deaths--especially those of women--to question traditional values and the familiar definitions of male heroism. Focusing on gender, the affective dimension of tragedy, and ritual mourning and commemoration, Segal develops and extends his earlier work on Greek drama. The result deepens our understanding of Euripides' art and of tragedy itself.

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Euripides and the Tragic Tradition
Ann Norris Michelini
University of Wisconsin Press, 2006
“The most extensive scholarship to appear on this Greek dramatist in many years, Michelini’s work will be important to specialists and students of classical literature, literary theory, and both English and comparative literature.”—Modern Greek Studies

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Exchange and the Maiden
Marriage in Sophoclean Tragedy
By Kirk Ormand
University of Texas Press, 1999

Marriage is a central concern in five of the seven extant plays of the Greek tragedian Sophocles. In this pathfinding study, Kirk Ormand delves into the ways in which these plays represent and problematize marriage, thus offering insights into how Athenians thought about the institution of marriage.

Ormand takes a two-fold approach. He first explores the legal and economic underpinnings of Athenian marriage, an institution designed to guarantee the legitimate continuation of patrilineal households. He then shows how Sophocles' plays Trachiniae, Electra, Antigone, Ajax, and Oedipus Tyrannus both reinforce and critique this ideology by representing marriage as a homosocial exchange between men, in which women are objects who may attempt—but always fail—to become self-acting subjects.

These fresh readings provide the first systematic study of marriage in Sophocles. They draw important connections between drama and marriage as rituals concerned with controlling potentially disruptive female subjectivities.


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Fanatical Schemes
Proslavery Rhetoric and the Tragedy of Consensus
Patricia Roberts-Miller
University of Alabama Press, 2009
What was the relationship between rhetoric and slavery, and how did rhetoric fail as an alternative to violence, becoming instead its precursor?
Fanatical Schemes is a study of proslavery rhetoric in the 1830s. A common understanding of the antebellum slavery debate is that the increased stridency of abolitionists in the 1830s, particularly the abolitionist pamphlet campaign of 1835, provoked proslavery politicians into greater intransigence and inflammatory rhetoric. Patricia Roberts-Miller argues that, on the contrary, inflammatory rhetoric was inherent to proslavery ideology and predated any shift in abolitionist practices.
She examines novels, speeches, and defenses of slavery written after the pamphlet controversy to underscore the tenets of proslavery ideology and the qualities that made proslavery rhetoric effective. She also examines anti-abolitionist rhetoric in newspapers from the spring of 1835 and the history of slave codes (especially anti-literacy laws) to show that anti-abolitionism and extremist rhetoric long preceded more strident abolitionist activity in the 1830s.
The consensus that was achieved by proslavery advocates, argues Roberts-Miller, was not just about slavery, nor even simply about race. It was also about manhood, honor, authority, education, and political action. In the end, proslavery activists worked to keep the realm of public discourse from being a place in which dominant points of view could be criticized--an achievement that was, paradoxically, both a rhetorical success and a tragedy.

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The Fatal Harvest Reader
The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture
Edited by Andrew Kimbrell
Island Press, 2002
Fatal Harvest takes an unprecedented look at our current ecologically destructive agricultural system and offers a compelling vision for an organic and environmentally safer way of producing the food we eat. It gathers together more than forty essays by leading ecological thinkers including Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, David Ehrenfeld, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Vandana Shiva, and Gary Nabhan. Providing a unique and invaluable antidote to the efforts by agribusiness to obscure and disconnect us from the truth about industrialized foods, it demostrates that industrial food production is indeed a "fatal harvest"--fatal to consumers, fatal to our landscapes, fatal to genetic diversity, and fatal to our farm communities.

As it exposes the ecological and social impacts of industrial agriculture's fatal harvest, Fatal Harvest details a new ecological and humane vision for agriculture. It shows how millions of people are engaged in the new politics of food as they work to develop a better alternative to the current chemically fed and biotechnology-driven system. Designed to aid the movement to reform industrial agriculture, Fatal Harvest informs and influences the activists, farmers, policymakers, and consumers who are seeking a safer and more sustainable food future.

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A Tragedy, Part I
Eugene Stelzig
Bucknell University Press, 2019
Goethe is the most famous German author, and the poetic drama Faust, Part I (1808) is his best-known work, one that stands in the company of other leading canonical works of European literature such as Dante’s Inferno and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This is the first new translation into English since David Constantine’s 2005 version. Why another translation when there are several currently in print? To invoke Goethe’s own authority when speaking of his favorite author, Shakespeare, Goethe asserts that so much has already been said about the poet-dramatist “that it would seem there’s nothing left to say,” but adds, “yet it is the peculiar attribute of the spirit that it constantly motivates the spirit.” Goethe’s great dramatic poem continues to speak to us in new ways as we and our world continually change, and thus a new or updated translation is always necessary to bring to light Faust’s almost inexhaustible, mysterious, and enchanting poetic and cultural power. Eugene Stelzig’s new translation renders the text of the play in clear and crisp English for a contemporary undergraduate audience while at the same time maintaining its leading poetic features, including the use of rhyme. 

Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.

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The Hero and the City
An Interpretation of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus
Joseph P. Wilson
University of Michigan Press, 2003
This work of seemingly conventional, philologically based criticism challenges many of the traditional views of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus. Joseph P. Wilson disputes the received wisdom that Oedipus was a suppliant of the Athenians, arguing rather that the primary relationship that governed Oedipus's dealings with his hosts was xenia (hospitality), not hiketeia (supplication). Likewise, he considers in detail the disputed reading of empolin or empalin in verse 637 and the vexed question of whether Oedipus ever became a citizen of Athens. He concludes by investigating the matter of Oedipus' heroic and oracular capabilities and the role that Oedipus' own will plays in creating his heroic persona. Wilson's study offers a radical rereading of the Oedipus riddle and concludes with a substantial discussion of the play's (and playwright's) role in providing a political and moral education for the troubled Athenian polis in the last decade of the tumultuous fifth century.
Joseph P. Wilson is Professor of Foreign Languages at the University of Scranton.

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The Hidden War
Crime and the Tragedy of Public Housing in Chicago
Popkin, Susan J
Rutgers University Press, 2000

Since the late 1970s, the high-rise developments of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) have been dominated by gang violence and drugs, creating a sense of hopelessness among residents. Despite a lengthy war on crime, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, the CHA has been unable to reduce the violence that makes life intolerable. Focusing on three developments—Rockwell Gardens, Henry Horner Homes, and Harold Ickes Homes—Sue Popkin and her co-authors interview residents, community leaders, and CHA staff. The Hidden War chronicles the many failed efforts of the CHA to combat crime and improve its developments, offering a vivid portrait of what life is like when lived among bullets, graffiti, and broken plumbing.

Most families living in these developments are headed by African American single mothers. The authors reveal the dilemmas facing women and children who are often victims or witnesses of violent crime, and yet are dependent on the perpetrators and their drug-dominant economy. The CHA—plagued by financial scandals, managerial incompetence, and inconsistent funding—is no match for thegang-dominated social order. Even well-intentioned initiatives such as the recent effort to demolish and “revitalize” the worst developments seem to be ineffective at combating crime, while the drastic changes leave many vulnerable families facing an uncertain future. The Hidden War sends a humbling message to policy makers and prognosticators who claim to know the right way to “solve poverty.”


front cover of History of a Tragedy
History of a Tragedy
Joseph Perez
University of Illinois Press, 2006

Few events in the history of Spain have provoked as much controversy as the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. Conflicts within the Catholic Church, suspicions within the newly unified Spain, and the claims of Spanish merchants combined to make the Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella intolerant and inquisitorial. Yet the roots of Spanish anti-Semitism went deeper.  In this concise survey of the expulsion of the Sephardic Jews, Joseph Pérez studies the evolution of the Jewish community in Spain from the time of the Visigoths to the reign of the Catholic kings. He explores the Jewish community’s role in creating and sustaining the vibrant cultural, political, and economic world of medieval Spain, and how growing religious intolerance, a pervasive resentment of the “others,” and a string of escalating encroachments culminated in expulsion.


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Love, Sex & Tragedy
How the Ancient World Shapes Our Lives
Simon Goldhill
University of Chicago Press, 2004
"If you do not know where you come from, you will always be a child." Cicero wasn't talking about being a child in the sense of enjoying life in a state of ignorant bliss. He was, rather, adamant that those who don't understand their origins are consigned to a life without power or authority, without the ability to act fully in the world. Love, Sex & Tragedy is acclaimed classicist Simon Goldhill's corrective to our state of ignorance. Lifting the veil on our inheritance of classical traditions, Goldhill offers a witty, engrossing survey of the Greek and Roman roots of everything from our overwhelming mania for "hard bodies" to our political systems.

Marx, Clark Gable, George W. Bush, Oscar Wilde, and Freud—Goldhill's range here is enormous, and he takes great delight in tracing both follies and fundamental philosophical questions through the centuries and continents to the birthplace of Western civilization as we know it. Underlying his brisk and learned excursions through history and art is the foundational belief, following Cicero, that learning about the classics makes a critical difference to our self-understanding. Whether we are considering the role of religion in contemporary society, our expectations about the boundaries between public and private life, or even how we spend our free time, recognizing the role of the classics is integral to our comprehension of modern life and our place in it.

When Goldhill asks "Who do you think you are?" he presents us with the rarest of opportunities: the chance to let him lead us, firmly but with a wink, back two thousand years to where we are.

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Love Song for the Life of the Mind
An Essay on the Purpose of Comedy
Gene Fendt
Catholic University of America Press, 2007
Love Song for the Life of the Mind develops the view of comedy that, the author argues, would have been set out in Aristotle's missing second book of Poetics. As such it is both a philosophical and a historical argument about Aristotle; and the theory of comedy it elucidates is meant to be trans-historically and trans-culturally accurate.

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Lunar Voices
Of Tragedy, Poetry, Fiction, and Thought
David Farrell Krell
University of Chicago Press, 1995
David Farrell Krell reflects on nine writers and philosophers, including Heidegger, Derrida, Blanchot, and Holderlin, in a personal exploration of the meaning of sensual love, language, tragedy, and death. The moon provides a unifying image that guides Krell's development of a new poetics in which literature and philosophy become one.

Krell pursues important philosophical motifs such as time, rhythm, and desire, through texts by Nietzsche, Trakl, Empedocles, Kafka, and Garcia Marquez. He surveys instances in which poets or novelists explicitly address philosophical questions, and philosophers confront literary texts—Heidegger's and Derrida's appropriations of Georg Trakl's poetry, Blanchot's obsession with Kafka's tortuous love affairs, and Garcia Marquez's use of Nietzsche's idea of the Eternal Return—all linked by the tragic hero Empedocles.

In his search to understand the insatiable desire for completeness that patterns so much art and philosophy, Krell investigates the identification of the lunar voice with woman in various roles—lover, friend, sister, shadow, and narrative voice.

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The Tragedy of Power
Robert E. Sullivan
Harvard University Press, 2009

On the 150th anniversary of the death of the English historian and politician Thomas Babington Macaulay, Robert Sullivan offers a portrait of a Victorian life that probes the cost of power, the practice of empire, and the impact of ideas.

His Macaulay is a Janus-faced master of the universe: a prominent spokesman for abolishing slavery in the British Empire who cared little for the cause, a forceful advocate for reforming Whig politics but a Machiavellian realist, a soaring parliamentary orator who avoided debate, a self-declared Christian, yet a skeptic and a secularizer of English history and culture, and a stern public moralist who was in love with his two youngest sisters.

Perhaps best known in the West for his classic History of England, Macaulay left his most permanent mark on South Asia, where his penal code remains the law. His father ensured that ancient Greek and Latin literature shaped Macaulay’s mind, but he crippled his heir emotionally. Self-defense taught Macaulay that power, calculation, and duplicity rule politics and human relations. In Macaulay’s writings, Sullivan unearths a sinister vision of progress that prophesied twentieth-century genocide. That the reverent portrait fashioned by Macaulay’s distinguished extended family eclipsed his insistent rhetoric about race, subjugation, and civilizing slaughter testifies to the grip of moral obliviousness.

Devoting his huge talents to gaining power—above all for England and its empire—made Macaulay’s life a tragedy. Sullivan offers an unsurpassed study of an afflicted genius and a thoughtful meditation on the modern ethics of power.


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The Masks of Tragedy
Essays on Six Greek Dramas
By Thomas G. Rosenmeyer
University of Texas Press, 1963

"What matters about a play is not the extent to which it is like any other play, but the way in which it is different," writes Thomas G. Rosenmeyer. "This is, I suggest, how the ancient audiences received the performances.... My purpose, then, in writing these essays is twofold: ... to devote enough space to the discussion of each play to allow its special tone and texture to emerge without hindrance and at leisure ... and to include in one collection analyses of plays so different from one another that the accent will come to rest on the variety of the tragic experience rather than on any one narrowly defined norm."

Greek tragedy is a vehicle for many different ideas and many different intentions. From the wealth of material that has come down to us the author has chosen six plays for analysis. He reminds us that the plays were written to be seen and heard, and only secondarily to be studied. The listeners expected each play to have a specific objective, and to exhibit its own mood. These the author attempts to recover for us, by listening to what each play, in its own right, has to say. His principal concern is with the tragic diction and the tragic ideas, designed to release certain massive responses in the large theater-going group of ancient Athens. In exploring the characters and the situations of the plays he has chosen, the author transports his reader to the world of fifth-century B.C. Greece, and establishes the relevance of that world to our own experience.

The essays are not introductory in nature. No space is given, for instance, to basic information about the playwrights, the history of Greek drama, or the special features of the Attic stage. Yet the book addresses itself to classicists and nonclassicists alike. The outgrowth of a series of lectures to nonspecialists, its particular appeal is to students of literature and the history of Western thought. Parallels are drawn between the writings of the philosophers and the tragedies, and attention is paid to certain popular Greek beliefs that colored the tragic formulations. Ultimately, however, the approach is not historical but critical; it is the author's intention to demonstrate the beauty and the craftsmanship of the plays under discussion.


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Musical Design in Aeschylean Theater
William C. Scott
Dartmouth College Press, 2000
Musical Design in Aeschylean Theater

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Musical Design in Sophoclean Theater
William C. Scott
Dartmouth College Press, 2000
William C. Scott extends concepts set forth in his Goodwin Award-winning Musical Design in Aeschylean Theater (1984) by examining scansion patterns in the odes of the seven surviving Sophoclean tragedies. Analyzing the play as performed-its full expression in words, music, and dance-Scott finds that Sophocles' metrical patterns are not a secondary detail of the plays but a central feature of their musical organization. Just as the playwright enhanced awareness of themes with a series of recurring and developing verbal images, he also designed the music to guide the audience's understanding of unfolding, often ambiguous events. The fabric of music and meaning is so tightly woven, Scott argues, that significant portions of the plays cannot be fully realized on stage unless the musical effects created by the poet are incorporated. While his work necessarily centers on the chorus, Scott carefully integrates that role into the meaning of the play as a whole, asserting that the chorus becomes a single persona, a character with partial knowledge, limited perspective, and inconsistent responses. The combination of words, meters, and forms provides a new perspective on each play.

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The Muskegon
The Majesty and Tragedy of Michigan's Rarest River
Jeff Alexander
Michigan State University Press, 2006

Muskegon is a derivation of a Native American word meaning "river with marshes." Jeff Alexander examines the creation, uses of, devastation, and restoration of Michigan's historic and beautiful Muskegon River.
     Four of the five Great Lakes touch Michigan's shores; the state's shoreline spans more than 4,500 miles, not to mention more than 11,000 inland lakes and a multitude of rivers. The Muskegon River, the state's second longest river, runs 227 miles and has the most diverse features of any of Michigan’s many rivers. The Muskegon rises from the center of the state, widens, and moves westward, passing through the Pere Marquette and AuSable State Forests. The river ultimately flows toward Lake Michigan, where it opens into Muskegon Lake, a 12 square-mile, broad harbor located between the Muskegon River and Lake Michigan.
     Formed several thousand years ago, when the glaciers that created the Great Lakes receded, and later inhabited by Ottawa and Potawatomi Indians, the Muskegon River was used by French fur trappers in the 1600s. Rich in white pine, the area was developed during the turn-of-the-century lumber boom, and at one time Muskegon Lake boasted more than 47 sawmills. The Muskegon was ravaged following settlement by Europeans, when rivers and streams were used to transport logs to the newly developing cities. Dams on rivers and larger streams provided power for sawmills and grain milling, and later provided energy for generating electricity as technology advanced.
     There is now an ambitious effort to restore and protect this mighty river's natural features in the face of encroaching urbanization and land development that threatens to turn this majestic waterway into a mirror image of the Grand River, Michigan's longest river and one of its most polluted.


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Nature and Culture in the Iliad
The Tragedy of Hector
James M. Redfield
Duke University Press, 1994
By focusing on the story of Hector, James M. Redfield presents an imaginative perspective not only on the Iliad but also on the whole of Homeric culture. In an expansive discussion informed by a reinterpretation of Aristotle's Poetics and a reflection on the human meaning of narrative art, the analysis of Hector leads to an inquiry into the fundamental features of Homeric culture and of culture generally in its relation to nature. Through Hector, as the "true tragic hero of the poem," the events and themes of the Iliad are understood and the function of tragedy within culture is examined. Redfield's work represents a significant application of anthropological perspectives to Homeric poetry. Originally published in 1975 (University of Chicago Press), this revised edition includes a new preface and concluding chapter by the author.

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Omens of Adversity
Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice
David Scott
Duke University Press, 2014
Omens of Adversity is a profound critique of the experience of postcolonial, postsocialist temporality. The case study at its core is the demise of the Grenada Revolution (1979–1983), and the repercussions of its collapse. In the Anglophone Caribbean, the Grenada Revolution represented both the possibility of a break from colonial and neocolonial oppression, and hope for egalitarian change and social and political justice. The Revolution's collapse in 1983 was devastating to a revolutionary generation. In hindsight, its demise signaled the end of an era of revolutionary socialist possibility. Omens of Adversity is not a history of the Revolution or its fallout. Instead, by examining related texts and phenomena, David Scott engages with broader, enduring issues of political action and tragedy, generations and memory, liberalism and transitional justice, and the possibility of forgiveness. Ultimately, Scott argues that the palpable sense of the neoliberal present as time stalled, without hope for emancipatory futures, has had far-reaching effects on how we think about the nature of political action and justice.

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Origin of the German Trauerspiel
Walter Benjamin
Harvard University Press, 2019

Origin of the German Trauerspiel was Walter Benjamin’s first full, historically oriented analysis of modernity. Readers of English know it as “The Origin of German Tragic Drama,” but in fact the subject is something else—the play of mourning. Howard Eiland’s completely new English translation, the first since 1977, is closer to the German text and more consistent with Benjamin’s philosophical idiom.

Focusing on the extravagant seventeenth-century theatrical genre of the trauerspiel, precursor of the opera, Benjamin identifies allegory as the constitutive trope of the Baroque and of modernity itself. Allegorical perception bespeaks a world of mutability and equivocation, a melancholy sense of eternal transience without access to the transcendentals of the medieval mystery plays—though no less haunted and bedeviled. History as trauerspiel is the condition as well as subject of modern allegory in its inscription of the abyssal.

Benjamin’s investigation of the trauerspiel includes German texts and late Renaissance European drama such as Hamlet and Calderón’s Life Is a Dream. The prologue is one of his most important and difficult pieces of writing. It lays out his method of indirection and his idea of the “constellation” as a key means of grasping the world, making dynamic unities out of the myriad bits of daily life. Thoroughly annotated with a philological and historical introduction and other explanatory and supplementary material, this rigorous and elegant new translation brings fresh understanding to a cardinal work by one of the twentieth century’s greatest literary critics.


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Othello and Interpretive Traditions
Edward Pechter
University of Iowa Press, 1999
During the past twenty years or so, Othello has become the Shakespearean tragedy that speaks most powerfully to our contemporary concerns. Focusing on race and gender (and on class, ethnicity, sexuality, and nationality), the play talks about what audiences want to talk about. Yet at the same time, as refracted through Iago, it forces us to hear what we do not want to hear; like the characters in the play, we become trapped in our own prejudicial malice and guilt.

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A Philosophy of Tragedy
Christopher Hamilton
Reaktion Books, 2016
A Philosophy of Tragedy explores the tragic condition of man in modernity. Nietzsche knew it, but so have countless characters in literature: that the modern age places us squarely before the reflection of our own tragic condition, our existence characterized by utmost contingency, homelessness, instability, unredeemed suffering, and broken morality.
Christopher Hamilton examines the works of philosophers, writers, and playwrights to offer a stirring account of our tragic condition, one that explores the nature of philosophy and the ways it has understood itself and its role to mankind. Ranging from the debate over the death of the tragedy to a critique of modern virtue ethics, from a new interpretation of the evil of Auschwitz to a look at those who have seen our tragic state as inherently inconsolable, he shows that tragedy has been a crucial part of the modern human experience, one from which we shouldn’t avert our eyes. 

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Political Mourning
Identity and Responsibility in the Wake of Tragedy
Heather Pool
Temple University Press, 2021

What leads us to respond politically to the deaths of some citizens and not others? This is one of the critical questions Heather Pool asks in Political Mourning. Born out of her personal experiences with the trauma of 9/11, Pool’s astute book looks at how death becomes political, and how it can mobilize everyday citizens to argue for political change. 

Pool examines four tragedies in American history—the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the lynching of Emmett Till, the September 11 attacks, and the Black Lives Matter movement—that offered opportunities to tilt toward justice and democratic inclusion. Some of these opportunities were taken, some were not. However, these watershed moments show, historically, how political identity and political responsibility intersect and how racial identity shapes who is mourned. Political Mourning helps explain why Americans recognize the names of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland; activists took those cases public while many similar victims have been ignored by the news media. 

Concluding with an afterword on the coronavirus, Pool emphasizes the importance of collective responsibility for justice and why we ought to respond to tragedy in ways that are more politically inclusive.


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Renaissance Revivals
City Comedy and Revenge Tragedy in the London Theater, 1576-1980
Wendy Griswold
University of Chicago Press, 1986
Renaissance Revivals examines patterns in the London revivals of two English Renaissance theatre genres over the past four centuries. Griswold's focus on revenge tragedies and city comedies illuminates the ongoing interaction between society and its cultural products. No cultural object is ever created anew, she argues, but is instead constructed from existing cultural genres and conventions, the visions and professional needs of the artist, and the interests of an audience. Thus, every "new play" is in part a renaissance and every "revival" is in part an entirely new cultural object.

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Richard Wright's Art of Tragedy
Joyce Ann Joyce
University of Iowa Press, 1991
In this first full-length study of Native Son, Joyce Ann Joyce provides a stylistic and thematic reading of one of the most important works of Black American literature, demonstrating how Wright's exquisite use of language merges with his subject to create an American tragedy.

Because many scholars have approached the novel from naturalistic and existential perspectives, Joyce devotes her first chapter to a discussion of the novel's critical history. She compares previous criticism to her own perspective of the novel as tragedy, describing the features shared by each as well as their points of demarcation.

In the following chapters, Joyce explores the setting and structure of Native Son, its characterization and point of view, stylistic technique, and thematic unity. As she explores Wright's technique, she illuminates the ironies and interlocking relationships which embody the salient metaphors and images in the novel. In doing so, she illustrates how each detail of language composes the pattern that makes Native Son a tragedy.

In the same way that traditional critical readings of Native Son have impeded fresh insights into the novel, criticism based on biographical perspectives has resulted in numerous misconceptions about Wright's works. Richard Wright's Art of Tragedy rectifies these misconceptions by shifting the critical emphasis to the artistic vision and masterful crafting of Wright's major work. With this significant volume, students and teachers can discern the stylistic creativity that makes Native Son not only a tragedy but a work of art.

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Shadowed Ground
America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy
By Kenneth E. Foote
University of Texas Press, 2003

Winner, John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize, Association of American Geographers, 1997

Shadowed Ground explores how and why Americans have memorialized—or not—the sites of tragic and violent events spanning three centuries of history and every region of the country. For this revised edition, Kenneth Foote has written a new concluding chapter that looks at the evolving responses to recent acts of violence and terror, including the destruction of the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine High School massacre, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11.


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Shakespeare on Love and Friendship
Allan Bloom
University of Chicago Press, 2000
"No one can make us love love as much as Shakespeare, and no one can make us despair of it as effectively as he does." William Shakespeare is the only classical author to remain widely popular—not only in America but throughout the world—and Allan Bloom argues that this is because no other writer holds up a truer mirror to human nature. Unlike the Romantics and other moderns, Shakespeare has no project for the betterment or salvation of mankind—his poetry simply gives us eyes to see what is there. In particular, we see the full variety of erotic connections, from the "star-crossed" devotions of Romeo and Juliet to the failed romance of Troilus and Cressida to the problematic friendship of Falstaff and Hal.

This volume includes essays on five plays, Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and The Winter's Tale, and within these Bloom meditates on Shakespeare's work as a whole. He also draws on his formidable knowledge of Plato, Rousseau, and others to bring both ancients and moderns into the conversation. The result is a truly synoptic treatment of eros—not only a philosophical reflection on Shakespeare, but a survey of the human spirit and its tendency to seek what Bloom calls the "connectedness" of love and friendship.

These highly original interpretations of the plays convey a deep respect for their author and a deep conviction that we still have much to learn from him. In Bloom's view, we live in a love-impoverished age; he asks us to turn once more to Shakespeare because the playwright gives us a rich version of what is permanent in human nature without sharing our contemporary assumptions about erotic love.

"Provocative and illuminating." —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

"A brilliant analysis of the erotic ugliness and the balancing erotic grace of The Winter's Tale . . . and Bloom makes more sense of [Measure for Measure] than anyone else I have read." —A. S. Byatt, Washington Post Book World

At his death in 1992, Allan Bloom was the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, including Shakespeare's Politics (with Harry V. Jaffa) and The Closing of the American Mind.

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Sophocles’ Tragic World
Divinity, Nature, Society
Charles Segal
Harvard University Press, 1995

Much has been written about the heroic figures of Sophocles’ powerful dramas. Now Charles Segal focuses our attention not on individual heroes and heroines, but on the world that inspired and motivated their actions—a universe of family, city, nature, and the supernatural. He shows how these ancient masterpieces offer insight into the abiding question of tragedy: how one can make sense of a world that involves so much apparently meaningless violence and suffering.

In a series of engagingly written interconnected essays, Segal studies five of Sophocles’ seven extant plays: Ajax, Oedipus Tyrannus, Philoctetes, Antigone, and the often neglected Trachinian Women. He examines the language and structure of the plays from several interpretive perspectives, drawing both on traditional philological analysis and on current literary and cultural theory. He pays particular attention to the mythic and ritual backgrounds of the plays, noting Sophocles’ reinterpretation of the ancient myths. His delineation of the heroes and their tragedies encompasses their relations with city and family, conflicts between men and women, defiance of social institutions, and the interaction of society, nature, and the gods. Segal’s analysis sheds new light on Sophocles’ plays—among the most widely read works of classical literature—and on their implications for Greek views on the gods, moral life, and sexuality.


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The Soul of Tragedy
Essays on Athenian Drama
Edited by Victoria Pedrick and Steven M. Oberhelman
University of Chicago Press, 2005
The Soul of Tragedy brings together top scholars to offer a wide range of perspectives on Greek tragedy. The collection pays homage to this ancient, enduring theatrical and literary genre by offering a deep exploration into the oldest form of dramatic expression. It is a reminder that, for all their years, these dramas still have much to teach us.

Exemplary of the nature and scope of this book, the essays range from Simon Goldhill's comparative study of music, gender, and culture to Martha Nussbaum's inspection of "the comic soul." Through the critical lenses of psychoanalysis, gender, social history, and philology, this compilation looks at Greek tragedy's peculiar power to illuminate the workings of the human soul. Structures of tragic meaning, the relationship between character desire and spectator experience, and investigations of tragedy's extraordinary preoccupation with gender reveal the form's emotional core and explain its rapid ascent through the hierarchy of cultural practices in classical Greece. The Soul of Tragedy is a celebration and a model of collaboration that will be essential reading for scholars in classics, literature, and drama.

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The Tragedy and Comedy of Life
Plato's Philebus
University of Chicago Press, 1993

In The Tragedy and Comedy of Life, Seth Benardete focuses on the idea of the good in what is widely regarded as one of Plato's most challenging and complex dialogues, the Philebus. Traditionally the Philebus is interpreted as affirming the doctrine that the good resides in thought and mind rather than in pleasure or the body. Benardete challenges this view, arguing that Socrates vindicates the life of the mind over the life of pleasure not by separating the two and advocating a strict asceticism, but by mixing pleasure and pain with mind in such a way that the philosophic life emerges as the only possible human life.

Benardete combines a probing and challenging commentary that subtly mirrors and illuminates the complexities of this dialogue with the finest English translation of the Philebus yet available. The result is a work that will be of great value to classicists, philosophers, and political theorists alike.


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Tragedy and the Return of the Dead
John D. Lyons
Northwestern University Press, 2018

Early modernity rediscovered tragedy in the dramas and the theoretical writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Attempting to make new tragic fictions, writers like Shakespeare, Webster, Hardy, Corneille, and Racine created a dramatic form that would probably have been unrecognizable to the ancient Athenians. Tragedy and the Return of the Dead recovers a model of the tragic that fits ancient tragedies, early modern tragedies, as well as contemporary narratives and films no longer called “tragic” but which perpetuate the same elements.

Authoritative, wide-ranging, and thought provoking, Tragedy and the Return of the Dead uncovers a set of interlocking plots of family violence that stretch from Greek antiquity up to the popular culture of today. Casting aside the elite, idealist view that tragedy manifests the conflict between two equal goods or the human struggle against the divine, John D. Lyons looks closely at tragedy’s staging of gory and painful deaths, ignominious burials, and the haunting return of ghosts. Through this adjusted lens Le Cid, Hamlet, Frankenstein, The Spanish Tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, Phèdre, Macbeth, and other early modern works appear in a striking new light. These works are at the center of a panorama that stretches from Aeschylus’s Agamemnon to Hitchcock’s Psycho and are placed against the background of the Gothic novel, Freud’s “uncanny,” and Burke’s “sublime.”

Lyons demonstrates how tragedy under other names, such as “Gothic fiction” and “thrillers,” is far from dead and continues as a vital part of popular culture.


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Tragedy, Authority, and Trickery
The Poetics of Embedded Letters in Josephus
Ryan S. Olson
Harvard University Press, 2010

To prove his sons’ treachery, Herod embellished a letter. To certify his history of Vespasian’s Judaean campaign, Josephus marshaled epistolary testimony. To alleviate a domestic problem, the Israelite king David sent a missive with a man it marks for death. Arguing for the importance of the first-century historian Josephus to the study of classical and Hellenistic literature, Tragedy, Authority, and Trickery investigates letters in Josephus’s texts.

Ryan S. Olson breaks new ground by analyzing classical, Hellenistic, and Jewish texts’ use of letters, comparing those texts to Josephus’s narratives, a virtual archive containing hundreds of letters. An external voice similar to speeches, embedded letters raise questions of authority, drive and color dramatic scenes, and function at textual and meta-textual levels to deceive their readers. Josephus, contextualized in a complex intellectual and cultural milieu, sustains and develops epistolarity in important ways that will be of interest to classicists, historians, theologians, and comparatists.


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Contradiction and Repression
Richard Kuhns
University of Chicago Press, 1991
Drawing on philosophical and psychoanalytic methods of interpretation, Richard Kuhns explores modern transformations of an ancient poetic genre, tragedy. Recognition of the philosophical problems addressed in tragedy, and of their presence up through eighteenth- and nineteenth-century philosophical texts, novels, and poetry, establishes a continuity between classical and modern enactments. Psychoanalytic theory in both its original formulations and post-Freud developments provides a means to enlarge upon and inform philosophical analyses that have dominated modern discussions.

From Aeschylus' classic drama The Persians to the hidden tragic themes in The Merchant of Venice, from the aesthetic writings of Kant to Kleist's narrative Michael Kohlhaas, Kuhns traces the writing and rewriting of the themes of ancient tragedy through modern texts. A culture's concept of fate, Kuhns argues, evolves along with its concepts and forms of tragedy. Examining the deep philosophical concerns of tragedy, he shows how the genre has changed from loss and mourning to contradiction and repression. He sees the fact that tragedy went underground during the optimism of the Enlightenment as a repression that continues into the American consciousness. Turning to Melville's The Confidence Man as an example of Old World despair giving way to New World nihilism, Kuhns indicates how psychoanalytic understanding of tragedy provides a method of interpretation that illuminates the continuous tradition from the ancient to the modern world. The study concludes with reflections on the poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. Each poet's celebration of the body, and the contribution of the senses to reason, perception, and poetic intuition, is seen as an embodiment of the modern tragic sensibility.

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The Tragedy of a Generation
The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism in Eastern Europe
Joshua M. Karlip
Harvard University Press, 2013

The Tragedy of a Generation is the story of the rise and fall of an ideal: an autonomous Jewish nation in Europe. It traces the origins of two influential but overlooked strains of Jewish thought—Yiddishism and Diaspora Nationalism—and documents the waning hopes and painful reassessments of their leading representatives against the rising tide of Nazism and, later, the Holocaust.

Joshua M. Karlip presents three figures—Elias Tcherikower, Yisroel Efroikin, and Zelig Kalmanovitch—seen through the lens of Imperial Russia on the brink of revolution. Leaders in the struggle for recognition of the Jewish people as a national entity, these men would prove instrumental in formulating the politics of Diaspora Nationalism, a middle path that rejected both the Zionist emphasis on Palestine and the Marxist faith in class struggle. Closely allied with this ideology was Yiddishism, a movement whose adherents envisioned the Yiddish language and culture, not religious tradition, as the unifying force of Jewish identity.

We follow Tcherikower, Efroikin, and Kalmanovitch as they navigate the tumultuous early decades of the twentieth century in pursuit of a Jewish national renaissance in Eastern Europe. Correcting the misconception of Yiddishism as a radically secular movement, Karlip uncovers surprising confluences between Judaism and the avowedly nonreligious forms of Jewish nationalism. An essential contribution to Jewish historiography, The Tragedy of a Generation is a probing and poignant chronicle of lives shaped by ideological conviction and tested to the limits by historical crisis.


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The Tragedy of Bukharin
Donny Gluckstein
Pluto Press, 1994

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The Tragedy of Empire
From Constantine to the Destruction of Roman Italy
Michael Kulikowski
Harvard University Press, 2019

A sweeping political history of the turbulent two centuries that led to the demise of the Roman Empire.

The Tragedy of Empire begins in the late fourth century with the reign of Julian, the last non-Christian Roman emperor, and takes readers to the final years of the Western Roman Empire at the end of the sixth century. One hundred years before Julian’s rule, Emperor Diocletian had resolved that an empire stretching from the Atlantic to the Euphrates, and from the Rhine and Tyne to the Sahara, could not effectively be governed by one man. He had devised a system of governance, called the tetrarchy by modern scholars, to respond to the vastness of the empire, its new rivals, and the changing face of its citizenry. Powerful enemies like the barbarian coalitions of the Franks and the Alamanni threatened the imperial frontiers. The new Sasanian dynasty had come into power in Persia. This was the political climate of the Roman world that Julian inherited.

Kulikowski traces two hundred years of Roman history during which the Western Empire ceased to exist while the Eastern Empire remained politically strong and culturally vibrant. The changing structure of imperial rule, the rise of new elites, foreign invasions, the erosion of Roman and Greek religions, and the establishment of Christianity as the state religion mark these last two centuries of the Empire.


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The Tragedy of Empire
From Constantine to the Destruction of Roman Italy
Michael Kulikowski
Harvard University Press

“As Kulikowski presents it, the end of the Roman Empire in the West was mean and dirty—and thoroughly Roman…In a brilliant tour d’horizon of the West from Ireland to the Black Sea, he measures the effect of the fall of Rome on the world beyond Rome.”
—Peter Brown, New York Review of Books

“A tour de force history of the inner workings of the late Roman Empire.”
—Kyle Harper, author of The Fate of Rome

“Kulikowski writes boldly and fluently about imperial politics, incorporating the latest scholarship yet avoiding getting bogged down in academic controversies. Highly recommended.”
—Hugh Elton, author of The Roman Empire in Late Antiquity

“Weaving together…complex family affairs, rebels, battles, coups, and intrigue into engaging prose, Kulikowski’s book is an enjoyable read for anyone who is interested in late Roman history.”
Minerva Magazine

One hundred years before the reign of Julian, the last non-Christian emperor of Rome, Diocletian had come to the conclusion that an empire stretching from the Rhine to the Euphrates could not effectively be governed by one man. He had devised a new system of governance to respond to the vastness of the Roman Empire, its new rivals, and the changing face of its citizenry.

Michael Kulikowski traces two hundred years of Roman history—from the late fourth century to the end of the sixth—during which the Western Empire ceased to exist while the Eastern Empire remained politically strong and culturally vibrant. He captures the changing structure of imperial rule, the rise of new elites, foreign invasions, the erosion of Roman and Greek religions, and the establishment of Christianity as the state religion.


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The Tragedy of King Christophe
Aimé Césaire
Northwestern University Press, 2015
The Tragedy of King Christophe (1963, revised 1970) is recognized as the Martiniquan writer and activist Aime Cesaire’s greatest play. Set in the period of upheaval in Haiti after the assassination of Jean-Jacques Dessalines in 1806, it follows the historical figure of Henri Christophe, a slave who rose to become a general in Toussaint Louverture’s army. Christophe declared himself king in 1811 and ruled the northern part of Haiti until 1820. Cesaire employs Shakespearean plotting and revels in the inexhaustible possibilities of language to convey the tragedy of Christophe’s transformation from a charismatic leader sensitive to the oppression of his people to an oppressor himself. Paul Breslin and Rachel Ney’s nimble, accurate translation includes an introduction and explanatory notes to guide students, scholars, and general readers alike.

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The Tragedy of Religious Freedom
Marc O. DeGirolami
Harvard University Press, 2013

When it comes to questions of religion, legal scholars face a predicament. They often expect to resolve dilemmas according to general principles of equality, neutrality, or the separation of church and state. But such abstractions fail to do justice to the untidy welter of values at stake. Offering new views of how to understand and protect religious freedom in a democracy, The Tragedy of Religious Freedom challenges the idea that matters of law and religion should be referred to far-flung theories about the First Amendment. Examining a broad array of contemporary and more established Supreme Court rulings, Marc DeGirolami explains why conflicts implicating religious liberty are so emotionally fraught and deeply contested.

Twenty-first-century realities of pluralism have outrun how scholars think about religious freedom, DeGirolami asserts. Scholars have not been candid enough about the tragic nature of the conflicts over religious liberty—the clash of opposing interests and aspirations they entail, and the limits of human reason to resolve intractable differences. The Tragedy of Religious Freedom seeks to turn our attention from abstracted, absolute values to concrete, historical realities. Social history, characterized by the struggles of lawyers engaged in the details of irreducible conflicts, represents the most promising avenue to negotiate legal conflicts over religion. In this volume, DeGirolami offers an approach to understanding religious liberty that is neither rigidly systematic nor ad hoc, but a middle path grounded in a pluralistic and historically informed perspective.


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The Tragedy of the Commodity
Oceans, Fisheries, and Aquaculture
Longo, Stefano B
Rutgers University Press, 2015
Winner of the 2017 Paul Sweezy Marxist Sociology Book Award from the American Sociological Association

Although humans have long depended on oceans and aquatic ecosystems for sustenance and trade, only recently has human influence on these resources dramatically increased, transforming and undermining oceanic environments throughout the world. Marine ecosystems are in a crisis that is global in scope, rapid in pace, and colossal in scale. In The Tragedy of the Commodity, sociologists Stefano B. Longo, Rebecca Clausen, and Brett Clark explore the role human influence plays in this crisis, highlighting the social and economic forces that are at the heart of this looming ecological problem.
In a critique of the classic theory “the tragedy of the commons” by ecologist Garrett Hardin, the authors move beyond simplistic explanations—such as unrestrained self-interest or population growth—to argue that it is the commodification of aquatic resources that leads to the depletion of fisheries and the development of environmentally suspect means of aquaculture. To illustrate this argument, the book features two fascinating case studies—the thousand-year history of the bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean and the massive Pacific salmon fishery. Longo, Clausen, and Clark describe how new fishing technologies, transformations in ships and storage capacities, and the expansion of seafood markets combined to alter radically and permanently these crucial ecosystems. In doing so, the authors underscore how the particular organization of social production contributes to ecological degradation and an increase in the pressures placed upon the ocean. The authors highlight the historical, political, economic, and cultural forces that shape how we interact with the larger biophysical world.
A path-breaking analysis of overfishing, The Tragedy of the Commodity yields insight into issues such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.

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The Tragedy of the Sack of Cabrières
Translated by Charles-Louis Morand-Métivier
Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2022
A critical edition and the first English translation of the French play.

April 1542 saw a massacre of epic proportions in the Luberon, in southeastern France, of its Waldensian population, who had been peacefully living there after they settled in a few centuries before. This massacre foreshadowed the wars of religion, which tore apart the kingdom for almost forty years. The Tragédie du Sac de Cabrières is the only play devoted to these events. This is a critical edition and English translation of the French play. Three critical editions of the play have been published in 1927, 1928, and 1998, and this new edition complements the previous works. This is the first English translation of the play and makes it available to an international audience of scholars and students of the early modern period.

This edition “translates” the moment of the play's creation, the representation of the event, and its importance in the narrative of religious persecutions in sixteenth-century France. It explains how history is dramatized through the creation of the scenic story and scenic play of Cabrières. and how the specific retelling of the events of Cabrières makes this a tool of historical narration, thus allowing the audience to participate in the unfolding of history before their eyes. Therefore, they become part of history, because it is played before their eyes so that they can not only witness it but also propagate the glory of the martyrs for future generations. This is not only a translation and a work of literary scholarship, it is an analysis of the literary, political, and religious production of this period, and a multidisciplinary analysis of Waldensianism in southeastern France.

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Tragic Effects
Ethics and Tragedy in the Age of Translation
Therese Augst
The Ohio State University Press, 2012

Tragic Effects: Ethics and Tragedy in the Age of Translation confronts the peculiar fascination with Greek tragedy as it shapes the German intellectual tradition, with particular focus on the often controversial practice of translating the Greeks. Whereas the tradition of emulating classical ideals in German intellectual life has generally emerged from the impulse to identify with models, the challenge of translating the Greeks underscores the linguistic and historical discontinuities inherent in the recourse to ancient material and inscribes that experience of disruption as fundamental to modernity.

Friedrich Hölderlin’s translations are a case in point. Regarded in his own time as the work of a madman, his renditions of Sophoclean tragedy intensify dramatic effect with the unsettling experience of familiar language slipping its moorings. His attention to marking the distances between ancient source text and modern translation has granted his Oedipus and Antigone a distinct longevity as objects of discussion, adaptation, and even retranslation. Cited by Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Bertolt Brecht, and others, Hölderlin’s Sophocles project follows a path both marked by various contexts and tinged by persistent quandaries of untranslatability.

Tragedy has long functioned as a cornerstone for questions about ethical life. By placing emphasis on processes of translation and adaptation, however, Tragic Effects approaches the question of ethics from a perspective informed by recent discourse in translation studies. Reconstructing an ancient text in this context requires negotiating the difficult tension between comprehending the distant past and preserving its radical singularity.


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Tragic Modernities
Miriam Leonard
Harvard University Press, 2015

The ancient Greek tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides have long been considered foundational works of Western literature, revered for their aesthetic perfection and timeless truths. Under the microscope of recent scholarship, however, the presumed universality of Greek tragedy has started to fade, as the particularities of Athenian culture have come into sharper focus. The world revealed is so far removed from modern sensibilities that, in the eyes of many, tragedy’s viability as a modern art form has been fatally undermined. Tragic Modernities steers a new course between the uncritical appreciation and the resolute historicism of the past two centuries, to explore the continuing relevance of tragedy in contemporary life.

Through the writings of such influential figures as Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, tragedy became a crucial reference point for philosophical and intellectual arguments. These thinkers turned to Greek tragedy in particular to support their claims about history, revolution, gender, and sexuality. From Freud’s Oedipus complex to Nietzsche’s Dionysiac, from Hegel’s dialectics to Marx’s alienation, tragedy provided the key terms and mental architecture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By highlighting the philosophical significance of tragedy, Miriam Leonard makes a compelling case for the ways tragedy has shaped the experience of modernity and elucidates why modern conceptualizations of tragedy necessarily color our understanding of antiquity. Exceptional in its scope and argument, Tragic Modernities contests the idea of the death of tragedy and argues powerfully for the continued vitality of Greek tragic theater in the central debates of contemporary culture.


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Transgressions of Reading
Narrative Engagement as Exile and Return
Robert D. Newman
Duke University Press, 1992
It is often claimed that we know ourselves and the world through narratives. In this book, Robert D. Newman portrays narrative engagement as a process grounded in psychoanalytic theory to explain how readers (or listeners or viewers) manage to engage with specific narratives and derive from them a personal experience.
Newman describes this psychodrama of narrative engagement as that of exile and return, an experience in which narrative becomes a type of homeland, beckoning and elusive, endlessly defining and disrupting the borders of a reader's identity. Within this paradigm, he considers a fascinating variety of narrative texts: from the Jim Jones episode in Guyana to Freud's repression of personal history in his story of Moses; from a surrealistic collage novel by Max Ernst to the horror films of Alfred Hitchcock; from the works of James Joyce, Ariel Dorfman, Milan Kundera, and D. M. Thomas to the tales of abjection in pornography.
Transgressions of Reading is itself an engaging work, as interesting for its provocative readings of particular works as for its theoretical insights. It will appeal to readers from all fields in which narrative plays a crucial role, in the study of film and art, modern and contemporary literature, popular culture, and feminist, psychoanalytic, and reader response theory.

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Vision and Stagecraft in Sophocles
David Seale
University of Chicago Press, 1982
In this study, David Seale argues that Sophocles’s use of stagecraft, which has thus far received little attention, was as sophisticated as that of Aeschylus or Euripides. His discussions of the physical and visual elements of Sophocles's seven plays center around the theme of sight; he demonstrates that each play is staged to maximize the implications and effects of “seeing” and not “seeing,” of knowledge and ignorance. This emphasis on visual perception, Seale maintains, harmonizes with Sophocles’s use of verbal and thematic techniques to create dramatic movements from delusion to truth, culminating in climaxes that are revelations—moments when things are truly “seen” by both audience and characters.

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William Z. Foster and the Tragedy of American Radicalism
James R. Barrett
University of Illinois Press, 1999
In this trenchant work, James Barrett traces the political journey of a leading worker radical whose life and experiences encapsulate radicalism's rise and fall in the United States.

A self-educated wage earner raised in the slums of a large industrial city, William Z. Foster became a brilliant union organizer who helped build the American Federation of Labor and, later, radical Trade Union Educational League. Embracing socialism, syndicalism, and communism in turn, Foster rose through the ranks of the American Communist Party to stand at the forefront of labor politics throughout the 1920s. Yet by the time he died in 1961, in a Moscow hospital far from the meat-packing plants and steel mills where he had built his reputation, Foster's political marginalism stood as a symbol for the isolation of American labor radicalism in the postwar era.

Integrating both the indigenous and the international factors that determined the fate of American communism, William Z. Foster and the Tragedy of American Radicalism provides a new understanding of the basis for radicalism among twentieth-century American workers.

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