DepositGreek Tragedy, Agonistic Space, and Contemporary Performance

In this article Stephe Harrop combines theatre history and performance analysis with contemporary agonistic theory to re-conceptualize Greek tragedy’s contested spaces as key to the political potentials of the form. She focuses on Athenian tragedy’s competitive and conflictual negotiation of performance space, understood in relation to the cultural trope of the agon. Drawing on David Wiles’s structuralist analysis of Greek drama, which envisages tragedy’s spatial confrontations as a theatrical correlative of democratic politics, performed tragedy is here re-framed as a site of embodied contest and struggle – as agonistic spatial practice. This historical model is then applied to a recent case study, Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women as co-produced by Actors Touring Company and the Lyceum, Edinburgh, in 2016–17, proposing that the frictious effects, encounters, and confrontations generated by this production (re-staged and re-articulated across multiple venues and contexts) exemplify some of the potentials of agonistic spatial practice in contemporary re-performance of Greek tragedy. It is contended that re-imagining tragic theatre, both ancient and modern, as (in Chantal Mouffe’s terms) ‘agonistic public space’ represents an important new approach to interpreting and creatively re-imagining, interactions between Athenian tragedy and democratic politics.

DepositPoetic Language and Corporeality in Translations of Greek Tragedy

The translation of ancient tragedy is often considered at a linguistic level, as if the drama consisted simply of words being written, spoken and heard. This article contends that translation for the stage is a process in which literary decisions have physical, as well as verbal, outcomes. It traces existing formulations concerning the links between vocal and bodily expression, and explores the ways in which printed texts might be capable of suggesting modes of corporeality or systems of movement to the embodied performer. It sketches some of the ways in which the range of possible relationships between language and physicality might be explored and understood, drawing upon recent practice-based research into the work of three modern poetic translators of Greek tragedy.

DepositJean Terrasson: cette Pièce pernicieuse oder de la Tragédie, ancienne & moderne

Part of a much larger study in the intellectual history of Sophocles (and Greek tragedy in general) in the 18th century, this chapter brings to light, for the first time, Jean Terrasson’s incisive and highly influential attempt to dismantle Christianising and Neo-Classicist interpretations of both Greek tragedy and Aristotle’s Poetics and to replace ancient tragedy and theory of tragedy as dangerous and outdated products of pagan religion and mentality with a new, and in his view vastly superior, concept of modern tragedy

DepositAudience Psychology and Censorship in Plato’s Republic

In Republic X, the “problem of the irrational part” is this: Greek tragedy interacts with non-reasoning elements of the soul, affecting audiences in ways that undermine their reasoned views about virtue and value. I suggest that the common construal of Socrates’s critique of Greek tragedy is inadequate, in that it belies key elements of Plato’s audience psychology; specifically, the crucial role of the spirited part and the audience’s cognitive contribution to spectatorship. I argue that Socrates’s emphasis on the audience’s cognitive contribution to spectatorship allows him to anticipate a non-authoritarian solution to the problem of the irrational part.

DepositSophokles’ Oedipus Rex und die Krise des europäischen Geistes [1687–1788]

Part of a much larger project, this part of the book developed, for the fist time, a history of intellectual engagement with Greek tragedy and tragic theology in general and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex in particular as one of the central intellectual contests in the 18th century Europe, from the early stages of the Quérelle des Anciens et des Modernes to the French Revolution.

MemberPhillip Zapkin

I am a lecturer in English at Penn State University, University Park campus. I teach first year rhetoric and composition. In the Spring of 2017 I took my doctorate at West Virginia University, with a dissertation arguing that contemporary adaptations of Greek tragedy evoke a cosmopolitan cultural commons to resist neoliberal capitalism. I am currently turning that project into a book manuscript.

DepositBook Review Tragic Views of the Human Condition: Cross-Cultural Comparisons between Views of Human Nature in Greek and Shakespearean Tragedy and the Mahabharata and Bhagavadgita by Lourens Minnema, Prabuddha Bharata March 2015

Book Review Tragic Views of the Human Condition: Cross-Cultural Comparisons between Views of Human Nature in Greek and Shakespearean Tragedy and the Mahabharata and Bhagavadgita by Lourens Minnema, Prabuddha Bharata March 2015

DepositA Beginner’s Guide to Homer

In this guide we pick our way through a range of themes and issues that help negotiate the distance between Homer’s time and our own: the question of who, or what, Homer is and how to approach reading his poetry (the Introduction); the epic cosmos that Homer inherits, challenges and changes forever (Ch. 1); the Iliad’s examination of politics through its depiction of the Achaeans’ coalition against the Trojans (Ch. 2); its emotional core that invites the audience inside Troy to experience war from the ‘other’ perspective (Ch. 3); the disarming humanity of the Iliad’s final vision of the meeting of godlike Achilles and the old man whose son he has killed (Ch. 4); the Odyssey’s rollercoaster ride through epic as we catch up on what has been happening since the fall of Troy (Ch. 5); a storytelling master-class from Odysseus himself including his great escape from the cave of the Cyclops (Ch. 6); the Odyssey’s show-stopping finale as Odysseus takes on the suitors (Ch. 7); and a brief tour through many receptions of Homer from Greek tragedy to science fiction (the Epilogue).