Paul Woodruff

in The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780199279456
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577239 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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Philosophy of art began, for European cultures, with Plato's criticism of theatre and Aristotle's account of tragedy; modern philosophical discussion of the arts has been less oriented to theatre, which has generally been submerged in the broader topics of literature and fiction and, most recently, obscured by the rising interest in film. This article explains what theatre is threadbare. Theatre has become increasingly hard to define; traditional theories allowed theatre to melt into literature, while ideas that were new in the twentieth century shattered the comfort of what was thought to be the Aristotelian model and demanded that thinkers about theatre recognize the unique implications of theatre in religion, politics, and the life of community.

Keywords: European cultures; theatre; literature; fiction; Aristotelian model; religion

Article.  5125 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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