Proseminar: The Tragedy in America

Dozentin: Christina Caupert M.A.
Termin: Blockseminar, 8.-12. September 2014, jeweils 11.00-15.00 Uhr                 
Raum: 1087a

The genre of the tragedy has been pronounced dead numerous times. Modern times do not seem compatible with ideas of an inevitable fate or inescapable higher powers. These ideas may appear particularly outdated in the US, where individual liberty and an optimistic, matter-of-fact approach to difficult situations have a strong tradition – the American Dream with its promise of limitless opportunity is just one obvious case in point. And yet, in the US as well as in other places, the tragedy keeps showing signs of life. Rather than a manifestation of an unacceptably antiquated world view, many playwrights and literary critics consider the tragedy a vital cultural form capable of lending dignity and nobility to modern life by "reconcil[ing] material and scientific progress to spiritual needs" (Lowell A. Fiet). In this seminar, we will try to account for the continuing attractivity of the genre. Participants will be introduced to a variety of theoretical writings on tragedy, and to plays ranging from Oedipus the King (5th century BC) to The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (2002).

Teilnahmevoraussetzungen: Reading of all assigned texts; active participation.

Leistungsnachweis: Term paper

Modulsignaturen: siehe Digicampus

Sophocles, Oedipus the King
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Eugene O’Neill, Mourning Becomes Electra
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman
Edward Albee, The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?