The latest volume in the Classical World series, this book offers a much-needed up-to-date introduction to Greek tragedy, and covers the most important thematic topics studied at school or university level. After a brief analysis of the genre and main figures, it focuses on the broader questions of what defines tragedy, what its particular preoccupations are, and what makes these texts so widely studied and performed more than 2,000 years after they were written. As such, the book will be of interest to students taking broad courses on Greek tragedy, while also being suitable for the general reader who wants an overview of the subject.
All passages of tragedy discussed are translated by the author and supplementary information includes a chronology of all the surviving tragedies, a glossary, and guidance on further reading.
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Laura Swift is Lecturer in Classical Studies at the Open University, UK. Her books include The Hidden Chorus (2010) and Euripides: Ion (Bloomsbury 2008).
Chapter One: Tragedy as a Genre
Chapter Two: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides
Chapter Three: Myth
Chapter Four: Heroes
Chapter Five: The Gods
Chapter Six: Contemporary Thought
Chapter Seven: Gender and the Family
Chapter Eight: The Chorus
Glossary of Greek and Technical Terms
Suggestions for Further Reading
A very useful addition to the Bloomsbury Classical World series. It is particularly accessible to the general reader ... and requires no knowledge of the Greek language. ... This well-written and very readable book will inspire readers to discover or return to the plays themselves and to undertake some further study from the succinct, but pertinent, bibliography. * Classics for All Reviews * Judicious, well-informed, clear: a model Introduction to the vigour and variety of ancient Greek tragedy. * Oliver Taplin, Professor Emeritus of Classics, Oxford University, UK * What is 'tragic', and what indeed is Greek, about Greek tragedy? The plays were staged at a great popular festival, and cannot have been just highbrow. Laura Swift brilliantly and lucidly brings out how tragedy combines such accessibility with 'tackling the hard qualities in human life' in ways that are still important and thought provoking today. * Christopher Pelling, Emeritus Regius Professor of Greek, Oxford University, UK * Laura Swift's Greek Tragedy: Themes and Contexts offers a clear and brief answer to undergraduate and advanced school pupils who are seeking a more thorough grounding in the topic. Swift offers general yet often nuanced discussion of the salient elements of Greek tragedy, expertly weaving in multiple examples from a wide range of plays. As such, the book is an effective springboard for more engaged study of tragedy, offering a succinct thematic overview for beginners without privileging particular plays or emphasizing the larger historical context ... This direct approach, coupled with the book's brevity, will appeal greatly to today's students as their first port of call on the topic ... For a small book it packs a hefty punch, with a clear and engaging style that should be accessible to a wide audience. -- Rosa Andujar * Bryn Mawr Classical Review * The book strikes an excellent balance between general comments that can be applied to all tragedies and the consideration of specific examples from individual plays ... Swift's writing is admirably clear, succinct, and easy to read and abstract concepts are framed in a way that is likely to be accessible to the average undergraduate ... This book is best for use in an introductory course. It offers an efficient and palatable way to prepare students to engage in informed discussions about a single tragedy or a selection of plays without predisposing them to any particular interpretation. * Classical Journal *
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