Notions of the Tragic in Western Literature, Part 2 of 4

Peter Burian, Eugene Falk, and Peter Smith discuss important continuities and divergences that connect ancient and modern conceptions of tragedy. Robert ter Horst joins the conversation by addressing how some of these notions of the tragic find literary and dramatic expression at personal, social, and transcendent levels in Greek classical literature. Among examples they give of the tragic in plays are Aeschylus’s Oresteia and Euripides’s Heracles.

In the second segment [14:35] Robert Ter Horst, Peter Smith, and Peter Burian discuss the role of social ideas in tragedy, citing Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra.

At the time of this interview, Burian was professor of classics at Duke University. Falk, a Fellow at the National Humanities Center (1982-83), was professor of comparative literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smith was professor of classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ter Horst, a Fellow at the Center (1982-83), was professor of Spanish at the University of Arizona.

This edition of Soundings was conducted by Wayne J. Pond.

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