Notions of the Tragic in Western Literature, Part 3 of 4

Peter Burian, Eugene FalkPeter Smith, and Robert ter Horst discuss how literary and dramatic conceptions of tragedy in Western literature broadly connect to personal issues such as the family and religion and to wide cultural issues such as social classes, institutions, and beliefs. Is there such a thing as the tragic vision? Through a discussion ranging from Aeschylus to Shakespeare and from Calderón to O’Neill, the panelists offer answers and insights about Christian and bourgeois tragedy, literary and philosophical influences upon tragedy (such as determinism and naturalism), and connections between notions of the tragic and values such as honor, responsibility to state and self, and sacrifice.

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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