a guide to greek tragedy for english readers

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III ORIGIN AND GROWTH OF TRAGEDY1 WITHOUT some reference to the rise of tragedy in Attica, any theory of the nature of tragedy is after all unmeaning. We can hardly speak of " tragedy in the abstract" apart from Attic tragedy. For tragedy was made by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and their predecessors. All modern tragedy is really a continuation of the Greek, as with a very slight exaggeration all modern literature may be said to be a continuation or imitation of Greek literature. We do but resolve Greek tragedy into its elements in the attempt to analyse the notion of tragedy generally. Aristotle's outline, however wonderful in its general truth, must in this aspect be pronounced defective. Besides the confusion between imitation and creation, his account lacks depth ofhistorical background. He has to a great extent lost sight of the religious basis of tragedy, and regards it simply, after his manner, as an art having a definite end. Even so regarded, his definition will bear to be amended in the light of subsequent developments. Dryden 1 well observes that, if Aristotle had known Shakespeare, he might in some respects have modified his theory. The so-called " classical" dramas of France and Italy, as well as that of Spain, which was more distinctly rooted in popular favour, reflect some illustration—even through the fact that they are less original—on the true nature of their Greek archetypes. 1 Books to consult: Bentley's Phalaris; Donaldson's Greek Theatre; Muller's History of Greek Literature; Jebb's Primer of Greek Literature ; Jevons's History of Greek Literature; Ency. Brit. art. "Drama." See also Monier Williams' Sakttntala. And the comparison of the beginnings of tragedy in other races, however rudimentary in their development,—the Hindu theatre, more allied...
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