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Tragic Pleasure from Homer to Plato

Tragic Pleasure from Homer to Plato


  • Date Published: April 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107184442

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • This book offers a resolution of the paradox posed by the pleasure of tragedy by returning to its earliest articulations in archaic Greek poetry and its subsequent emergence as a philosophical problem in Plato's Republic. Socrates' claim that tragic poetry satisfies our 'hunger for tears' hearkens back to archaic conceptions of both poetry and mourning that suggest a common source of pleasure in the human appetite for heightened forms of emotional distress. By unearthing a psychosomatic model of aesthetic engagement implicit in archaic poetry and philosophically elaborated by Plato, this volume not only sheds new light on the Republic's notorious indictment of poetry, but also identifies rationally and ethically disinterested sources of value in our pursuit of aesthetic states. In doing so the book resolves an intractable paradox in aesthetic theory and human psychology: the appeal of painful emotions.

    • Presents a new solution to an unresolved problem in aesthetic theory, using archaic poetry and philosophy to contribute to modern debates about aesthetics
    • Proposes a new interpretation of Plato's famous critique of poetry and the arts, improving our understanding of the foundations for his hostility
    • Offers a new, psychosomatic model of aesthetic engagement based on ancient sources, providing a corrective to cognitively oriented approaches to aesthetic value
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107184442
    • length: 226 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the pleasure of tragedy
    1. The taste of archaic poetry
    2. Emotional satisfaction in archaic poetry
    3. Tragic pleasure in Plato's Republic
    Epilogue: poetry and privacy: towards an Aristotelian defense of poetry and a Platonic alternative.

  • Author

    Rana Saadi Liebert, Bard College, New York
    Rana Saadi Liebert is a site director and faculty member of the Bard Prison Initiative, and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at Bard College, New York. Her research focuses on the relationship between ethics and aesthetics in ancient literature and philosophy, ancient and modern theories of emotion, and the history of conceptualizing fiction.

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