Philosophy and Literature
Tragedy and Trauerspiel
This course will explore the history and theory of tragedy in antiquity and the early modern period, with special attention to affect theory. Our main theoretical text with be Walter Benjamin’s Trauerspiel book, but we will also read works by Aristotle, Descartes, Mendelssohn, Lessing, and Hume; and tragedies by Euripides, Lohenstein, Shakespeare, Calderon, Corneille, Racine, and Milton. Secondary reading in Vernant, Vidal Naquet, Lacoue-Labarthe, Szondi and others. A central concern of our course will be the vexed relationship, both in antiquity and in the early modern period, between tragedy and philosophy, or tragedy and theory. Reading knowledge of French or German is useful but not required.