DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-M042-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 12, 2024, from

References and further reading

  • Aristotle (c. mid 4th century ) Poetics, trans., with intro. and notes J. Hutton, New York: W.W. Norton, 1982.

    (Highly influential account of what could be called a ‘science’ of writing and understanding tragedy, describing its function and how it should be structured to fulfil that function. Established the paradigm of tragedy involving a tragic hero; pity, fear, and suffering; and its effect as catharsis.)

  • Bradley, A.C. (1909) ‘Hegel’s Theory of Tragedy’, in Oxford Lectures on Poetry, London: Macmillan.

    (Lucid discussion of Hegel’s views, extending them to cover cases of conflict between good and evil, not just a reconciliation of various goods.)

  • Hegel, G.W.F. (1835–8) The Philosophy of Fine Art, trans. and intro. F.P.B. Osmaston, London: G. Bell & Sons, 1920, 4 vols.

    (A dense and difficult work in which Hegel integrates theories of tragedy and poetry with his larger metaphysical scheme. He establishes a new paradigm of tragic action as conflict and its resolution, rather than pity, fear and suffering.)

  • Hume, D. (1757) ‘Of Tragedy’, in J.W. Lenz (ed.) Of the Standard of Taste and Other Essays, Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965.

    (A delightful essay attempting to explain why we enjoy tragic drama.)

  • Krutch, J.W. (1929) ‘The Tragic Fallacy’, in The Modern Temper, New York: Harcourt Brace.

    (Passionate – perhaps maddening, but certainly stirring – defence of the nobility of the desire to find meaning in the world. Condemns plays that end in despair, where the pursuit of the good is depicted as not important enough to justify the suffering.)

  • Lessing, G.E. (1767–8) Hamburg Dramaturgy, trans. H. Zimmern, New York: Dover, 1962.

    (A series of essays that turns away from neoclassicism, proposing instead, for example, that the language of tragedy should be more natural and the psychology of its characters more realistic.)

  • Nietzsche, F. (1872) ‘The Birth of Tragedy’, in W. Kaufmann (ed. and trans.) The Birth of Tragedy and the Case of Wagner, New York: Random House, 1967.

    (A dramatic and challenging account of the Apollonian and Dionysian as psychological forces at work in tragedy.)

  • Plato (c. 395–387) Ion, trans. L. Cooper, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1938.

    (Short, accessible dialogue arguing that the abilities to write, appreciate and dramatically recite poetry are not developed through reason.)

  • Plato (c. 380–367) Republic, III and X, trans. B. Jowett, The Dialogues of Plato, 3rd edn, London: Oxford University Press, 1892.

    (A complex dialogue presenting, inter alia, moral, epistemic and metaphysical reasons for why tragedy and mimetic poetry do not have a useful role to play in the ideal state.)

  • Rymer, T. (1693) A Short View of Tragedy, London: Richard Baldwin.

    (A dated but at times amusing critique of tragedies through the centuries, arguing that they should serve the purpose of edifying the public about justice and virtue.)

  • Schopenhauer, A. (1883) The World as Will and Idea, vol. 3, trans. R.B. Haldane and J. Kemp, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

    (A clear and accessible discussion of how tragedy shows us that suffering results from the drive to satisfy our will, and pleasure results from surrendering the will to live.)

  • Steiner, G. (1961) The Death of Tragedy, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

    (Proposes that tragedy arises in cultures that see indomitable and implacable forces as limiting and thwarting human power and reason, leading to suffering and destruction.)

  • Unamuno, M. (1913) The Tragic Sense of Life, trans. J.E. Crawford Flitch, New York: Dover, 1954.

    (A passionate exploration of themes we now identify as existentialist, proposing that human tension and conflict, sorrow and anguish are ‘solved’, paradoxically, only by a longing for eternal life.)

  • Williams, R. (1966) Modern Tragedy, London: Chatto & Windus.

    (A poet and critic, he argues that our understanding of the history of tragedy and tragic theory is coloured by our own perspectives, and this helps us to resolve the conflict between what is accepted as tradition and our own ordinary notion of a tragic event.)

Citing this article:
Feagin, Susan L.. Bibliography. Tragedy, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-M042-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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