"Terry Eagleton's titanic tryst with the Tragic muse crowns a career devoted to exploring the ideology of aesthetic and political form ... This is a brave and bracing book that bridges Eagleton's secular, socialist ideals with his metaphysical and theological aspirations: a remarkable comedic spirit hovers over this passionate reflection on the temper of tragedy." "Homi K. Bhabha, Harvard University"
""Sweet Violence" has all the characteristics that compel the reader, however tested and exasperated, to admire its author. It is long, discursive, packed with illustrations drawn from enormous reading in world literature, perverse and even, quite often, funny." "New York Times"
"Eagleton has raised a banner for a terrifying but beautiful new seriousness in the arts, directly drawn from our contemporary world. It is an extraordinary achievement and ... an inspiration." "The Guardian"
"The best book Terry Eagleton has yet written." "English Studies"From the Publisher:
Terry Eagleton provides a comprehensive study of tragedy, all the way from Aeschylus to Edward Albee, dealing with both theory and practice, and moving between ideas of tragedy and analyses of particular works and authors. This amazing tour-de-force steps out beyond the stage to reflect not only on tragic art but also on real-life tragedy. It explores the idea of the tragic in the novel, examining such writers as Melville, Hawthorne, Stendhal, Tolstoy, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Manzoni, Goethe and Mann, as well as English novelists. With his characteristic brilliance and inventiveness of mind, Eagleton weaves together literature, philosophy, ethics, theology, and political theory. In so doing he makes a major political - philosophical statement drawn from a startling range of Western thought, in the writings of Plato, St Paul, St Augustine, Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Sartre and others. This book takes serious issue with the idea of 'the death of tragedy', and gives a comprehensive survey of definitions of tragedy itself, arguing a radical and controversial case. It examines such notions as justice, death, suffering, the demonic, sado-masochism, heroism, sacrifice, freedom, determinism, and modernity. Most dramatically, it looks in a new light at why tragedy gives pleasure, and explores the reasons it has so often been seen as an affirmative mode, in a way that suppresses the wretchedness and suffering it involves.
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