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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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The Antiquity of Tragedy

The Antiquity of Tragedy

(p.45) Chapter 2 The Antiquity of Tragedy
Genealogy of the Tragic

Joshua Billings

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the antiquity of tragedy. Thought about tragedy feeds on ulterior discussions of ancient political systems and of ancient epic, but the most significant factor may be a change in the status of poetics, and a diminution of Aristotle's authority. This development is associated in Germany with the Sturm und Drang, and receives much of its impetus from discussions in England. However, it is parallel to discussions in France, where normative Aristotelianism was similarly being criticized as inadequate to the task of grasping changes in the genre of tragedy. Across Western Europe, then, one can discern a broad shift away from the foundations of neoclassicism, and towards a philhellenism that emphasizes the singularity of antiquity. Taken together, these new ways of conceiving Greek literature within history represent a fundamental shift in thought about antiquity, which has tragedy as an important focal point.

Keywords:   antiquity, tragedy, ancient epic, poetics, Aristotle, Sturm und Drang, Aristotlelianism, neoclassicism, philhellenism, Greek literature

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