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Genealogy of the TragicGreek Tragedy and German Philosophy$
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Joshua Billings

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159232

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159232.001.0001

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Quarreling over Tragedy

Quarreling over Tragedy

(p.19) Chapter 1 Quarreling over Tragedy
Genealogy of the Tragic

Joshua Billings

Princeton University Press

This chapter begins with a consideration of the comparison of antiquity and modernity. From the Renaissance until around 1800, evaluative comparison of antiquity and modernity was an important mode of thought throughout Western Europe. These inquiries are often grouped under the name of the Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, though, these comparisons began to disappear. They were replaced by an understanding of cultural difference and relativism that is recognizably modern. This change is known as historicization, the assumption that past societies have their own unique modes of existence, which are not necessarily comparable to one another or immediately comprehensible in contemporary terms. The chapter then, as well as the next, traces the rise of historicization and its consequences for thinking about Greek tragedy.

Keywords:   antiquity, modernity, Querelle, cultural difference, relativism, historicization, Greek tragedy

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