Journal Article

Theology and Marxism: The Tragic and Tragi-Comic

Kenneth Surin

in Literature and Theology

Volume 19, issue 2, pages 112-131
Published in print June 2005 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/fri015
Theology and Marxism: The Tragic and Tragi-Comic

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Despite attempts to claim that tragedy is ‘dead’, powerful restatements of the concept continue to be made. Some, and here Raymond Williams and Terry Eagleton come to mind, argue that tragedy remains salient even if it can no longer be understood in terms of classical Aristotelian principles. Others argue that tragedy retains its significance because it can now be understood in terms of the sublime. This paper starts with Kierkegaard's attempt to revise the notion in a way that frees it from Aristotelian canonical principles. Kierkegaard's reformulation hints at the idea of an unconscious. In considering Freud's notion of a ‘symptomatic act’, the paper argues that tragedy glossed in ways that accommodate such acts becomes difficult to demarcate from comedy, this in some way being Kierkegaard's fundamental insight.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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