Enlightenment: Athenian Political Thought and the Dilemmas of ModernityHardback Classics and Contemporary Thought, 4
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- Publisher: University of California Press
- Format: Hardback | 242 pages
- Dimensions: 159mm x 235mm x 22mm | 599g
- Publication date: 26 February 1997
- Publication City/Country: Berkerley
- ISBN 10: 0520204948
- ISBN 13: 9780520204942
Weaving together ancient Greek texts and postmodernist theory, Christopher Rocco addresses the debate between modernity and postmodernity that dominates contemporary theory. Interpreting Greek drama within a critical framework informed by contemporary theorists Foucault, Habermas, Horkheimer and Adorno, "Tragedy and Enlightenment" makes a sophisticated argument for the continuing relevance of the classical past, focusing on the subject of democracy. The starting point for Rocco's analysis is the impasse in contemporary political and cultural theory over the possibility and desirability of democracy in a postmodern world. After explaining the competing positions in the current debate, Rocco argues that ancient Greek tragedy and dialogue--specifically Sophocles' "Oedipus," Plato's "Republic" and" Gorgias," and Aeschylus' "Oresteia"--suggest alternate constructions for this and other postmodern problems. Rocco gives a detailed analysis of the contemporary divide over the theories of Jurgen Habermas and Michel Foucault and provides a provocative reading of Horkheimer and Adorno's "Dialectic of Enlightenment." This original contribution to political and cultural discourse brings us to a new understanding of familiar texts and will alter the grounds of debate for students and scholars of the classical and the contemporary worlds.
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Christopher Rocco is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut.