Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy

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Written by one of the best-known interpreters of classical literature today, Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy presents a revolutionary take on the work of this great classical playwright and on how our understanding of tragedy has been shaped by our literary past. Simon Goldhill sheds new light on Sophocles' distinctive brilliance as a dramatist, illuminating such aspects of his work as his manipulation of irony, his construction of dialogue, and his deployment of the actors and the chorus. Goldhill also investigates how nineteenth-century critics like Hegel, Nietzsche, and Wagner developed a specific understanding of tragedy, one that has shaped our current approach to the genre. Finally, Goldhill addresses one of the foundational questions of literary criticism: how historically self-conscious should a reading of Greek tragedy be? The result is an invigorating and exciting new interpretation of the most canonical of Western authors.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 152.4 x 238.76 x 27.94mm | 498.95g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • n/a
  • 0199796270
  • 9780199796274
  • 600,844

Review quote

With this latest book, Simon Goldhill brings his customary acumen and verve to reading the 'language' of Sophoclean tragedy from two very different perspectives. ... By placing between the same covers 'profoundly conservative' and 'rashly revolutionary' critical perspectives (3), Goldhill instills in the reader a new awareness of the interpretive practices that have sustained tragedy scholarship for centuries at the same time that he defamiliarizes them. His eye for telling detail, moreover, combined with his panoramic sweep of intellectual history, is...enthralling. New England Classical Journal

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About Professor of Greek Literature and Culture and Fellow and Director of Studies in Classics Simon Goldhill

Simon Goldhill is Professor of Greek Literature and Culture at the University of Cambridge. His previous books include Jerusalem: City of Longing, How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today, and Reading Greek Tragedy.

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Table of contents

Introduction: Entrances and Exits ; Section 1: Tragic Language ; 1: Undoing: Lusis and the Analysis of Irony ; 2: The Audience on Stage: Rhetoric, Emotion and Judgment ; 3: Line for Line ; 4: Choreography: The Lyric Voice of Tragedy ; 5: The Chorus in Action ; Section 2: The Language of Tragedy ; 6: Generalizing about Tragedy ; 7: Generalizing about the Chorus ; 8: The Language of Tragedy and Modernity: How Electra Lost her Piety ; 9: Antigone and the Politics of Sisterhood: The Tragic Language of Sharing ; Coda: Reading With or Without Hegel: From Text to Script ; Glossary ; Bibliography

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