The Mourning Voice

9780801438301: Hardback
Release Date: 15th May 2002

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 144

Series Cornell Studies in Classical Philology

Cornell University Press

The Mourning Voice

An Essay on Greek Tragedy

Written by
Nicole Loraux
Translated by
Elizabeth Trapnell Rawlings
Foreword by
Pietro Pucci

Loraux presents a radical challenge to what has become the dominant view of tragedy in recent years: that tragedy is primarily a civic phenomenon.

Hardback / £55.00

In The Mourning Voice, Nicole Loraux presents a radical challenge to what has become the dominant view of tragedy in recent years: that tragedy is primarily a civic phenomenon, infused with Athenian political ideology, which envisions its spectators first and foremost as citizens, members of the political collective. Instead, Loraux maintains, the spectator addressed by tragedy is the individual defined primarily in terms of his or her humanity, rather than in terms of affiliation with a political group. The plays, she says, involve the spectators in the emotional expressiveness of tragic suffering, thereby creating a theatrical identity. Aroused by the experience of suffering, the audience is reminded that it is witnessing a theatrical representation of the instability of the human condition—a state that Loraux asserts tragedy is uniquely suited to convey.

The late Nicole Loraux was the author of many books. Elizabeth Trapnell Rawlings is an independent translator whose most recent translations appear in Greek Thought: A Guide to Classical Knowledge, edited by Jacques Brunschwig and Geoffrey E. R. Lloyd. Pietro Pucci is Goldwin Smith Professor of Classics at Cornell University and the author of many books.

"Nicole Loraux's work throughout her career has been bold, original, and provocative. The subtlety of her thought and depth of knowledge established new standards for the interpretation of political and social institutions in fifth-century Athens that have since become indispensable for our understanding of ancient Greece. In this new book, she turns away from the body politic to focus on the central role of lamentation in tragedy. Once again, with characteristic energy, Loraux challenges deeply cherished notions and compels us to read Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides in fresh ways."

Froma Zeitlin, Princeton University

"In her many publications, the author has never ceased to provide new and exciting perspectives on Greek culture. Although one many not agree with every detail of her findings in the present book, the work is nonetheless a stimulating contribution to our understanding of Greek tragedy."

Jennifer Clarke Kosak, Bowdoin College
The Classical Bulletin