The Cambridge Introduction to Tragedy
(2007) Cambridge University Press
Tragedy is the art-form created to confront the most difficult experiences we face: death, loss, injustice, thwarted passion, despair.
From ancient Greece theatre up to the most recent plays, playwrights have found, in tragic drama, a means to seek explanation for disaster. But tragedy is also a word we continually encounter in the media, to denote an event which is simply devastating in its emotional power. This engaging introduction provides an overview of the tragic theatre canon – including chapters on the Greeks, Shakespeare, Ibsen and Chekhov, American tragedy and post-colonial drama – and brings a wide spectrum of examples, from both literature and life, into the discussion of this emotional and frequently controversial subject.
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"Wallace’s opening chapter proved so decisive in setting the agenda of a class on contemporary tragedy when I assigned it, that … we consistently returned to her definitions and questions, especially the byplay of aesthetics and social definitions, the ethics of shock, the ambiguity of tragic effects, and the dynamics of bearing witness … as a vindication of why theatre matters"
“Even by the wide-ranging standards of introductory textbooks, The Cambridge Introduction to Tragedy is impressively broad in scope.”
“A lucid, intelligent, wide-ranging introduction to a subject of growing centrality in both criticism and political life”
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