Tragedy and the Tragic in German Literature, Art, and Thought
The many catastrophes of German history have often been described as tragic. Consequently, German literature, music, philosophy, painting, and even architecture are rich in tragic connotations. Yet exactly what "tragedy" and "the tragic" may mean requires clarification. The poet creates a certain artful shape and trajectory for raw experience by "putting it into words"; but does putting such experience into words (or paintings or music or any other form) betray suffering by turning it into mere art? Or is it art that first turns mere suffering into tragic experience by revealing and clarifying its deepest dimension? What are we talking about, exactly, when we talk about tragic experience and tragic art, especially in an age in which, according to Hannah Arendt, evil has become banal? Does banality muffle or even annul the tragic? Does tragedy take suffering and transform it into beauty, as Schiller thought? Is it in the interest of truth for suffering to be "beautiful"? Is it possible that poetry, music, and art are important because they in fact create the meaning of suffering? Or is suffering only suffering and not accessible to meaning, tragic or otherwise? This book comprises essays that seek to clarify the meaning of tragedy and the tragic in its many German contexts, art forms, and disciplines, from literature and philosophy to music, painting, and history. Contributors: Jeffrey A. Bernstein, Steve Dowden, Wolfram Ette, Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei, Karsten Harries, Joseph P. Lawrence, James McFarland, Karen Painter, Bruno Pieger, Robert Pirro, Thomas Quinn, Mark Roche, Helmut Walser Smith. Stephen D. Dowden is Professor of German at Brandeis University. Thomas Quinn is an independent scholar.
Subjects: Language & Literature, History
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