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The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy (Cambridge Companions to Literature) 1st Ed. Edition

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521423519
ISBN-10: 0521423511
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Editorial Reviews


"No dry handbook purveying conventional wisdom with an air of authority, this volume is the product of a group of scholars doing some of the most exciting work on Greek tragedy. They contribute essays on such subjects as the civic context of Athenian theater, Dionysus, the composition of the audience, pictorial representations of tragedy, the sociology of tragedy (gender, class), tragic language, and the construction of the plot, concluding with chapters on modern adaptations and performances and recent critical approaches. One may consult the volume on particular topics or read it cover to cover: the essays are lively and the treatments thorough without suppressing individual styles and views....Highly recommended for all classics collections." D. Konstan, Choice

"It is not merely ironic, but a welcome sign of growing theoretical sophistication among classicists, that the book should demonstrate so convincingly the benefits - indeed, the necessity - of studying Greek tragedy from more than merely literary perspectives. The general quality of the essays is remarkably high: they address topics of central interest with both methodological awareness and (where appropriate) command of relevant textual detail. In sum, I believe that serious students of Greek tragedy will find this to be a boon Companion indeed, and will return to their primary texts with excitement and gratitude for a heightened appreciation of tragedy's complex cultural significance." Southern Humanities Review

Book Description

This book presents ancient Greek tragedy in the context of late twentieth-century reading, criticism and performance. The twelve chapters, written by seven distinguished scholars, cover tragedy as an institution in the civic life of ancient Athens, a range of approaches to the surviving plays, and changing patterns of reception, adaptation and performance from antiquity to the present.


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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Companions to Literature
  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1st Ed. edition (October 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521423511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521423519
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #740,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Shaun King.com on November 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a rigorous companion to Greek tragedy studies. These essays are not meant to merely summarize but to actually contribute to the scholarly literature on Greek tragedy. The first three essays are about the social context of Greek tragedy and its function in Greek civic life, the festival of Dionysus, and its direct relationship to the audience. The essay "The pictorial record" is an interesting approach to discussing our historical knowledge of Greek tragedy with particular attention to Greek pottery (there are many pictures in this essay). Edith Hall's "The Sociology of Athenian tragedy" has a good discussion of tragedy's depiction of Athens, gender, class, and democracy (the latter is rather short).
All the essays are dripping with substance including helpful citations to other sources making this collection of essays important for anyone beginning to do research on Greek tragedy. Particularly useful in this respect is Goldhill's essay "Modern critical approaches to Greek tragedy."
Another noteworthy feature is the glossary of approximately 75 Greek words and their meaning in English.
This book will interest all who study Greece during the Periclean Age (between the Persian Wars and through the Peloponnesian Wars), poetry, Homer, tragedy, and the history of the theatre.
Another good, similar, and complimentary source to this book is Nothing to Do with Dionysos? Athenian Drama in Its Social Context edited by John J. Winkler and Froma I Zeitlin (although this latter book has only in common with the former the social and political context of Greek tragedy).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Maclellan on March 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
As you can probably tell from the other reviews, this book's intended audience is a serious academic one (or, at least, one pretty familiar with tragedy). As a Classicist, this collection has been an indispensible introduction to the different paths that fellow scholars are taking in their research.

For the more casual reader, Richard Lattimore's "The Poetry of Greek Tragedy" is a great start (it divides its sections among specific authors and works, making it a good beginner's reference tool as well.):


For those more inclined to the cultural, performative and general aspects of tragedy, look no further than Oliver Taplin's "Greek Tragedy in Action". It is indispensible (HUGE influence in the field of classics!) and a personal favorite:


Happy reading!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By jago on January 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Despite what some have said in reviews here, this is a very good book if one would like to learn about the form, structure, history, social impact, etc. of Greek tragedy. If you want analyses of particular plays this is not the book to get. All you have to do to understand that is to read the publisher's review to learn what is inside this book. This is a valuable collection of very informed esays. Ignore the those who have given this a bad review. They obviously did not inform themselves before they bought the book.
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