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Publisher's Summary

From the moderator of The New York Times philosophy blog "The Stone", an audiobook that argues that if we want to understand ourselves, we have to go back to theater, to the stage of our lives.

Tragedy presents a world of conflict and troubling emotion, a world where private and public lives collide and collapse. A world where morality is ambiguous and the powerful humiliate and destroy the powerless. A world where justice always seems to be on both sides of a conflict and sugarcoated words serve as cover for clandestine operations of violence. A world rather like our own.

The ancient Greeks hold a mirror up to us, in which we see all the desolation and delusion of our lives but also the terrifying beauty and intensity of existence. This is not a time for consolation prizes and the fatuous banalities of the self-help industry and pop philosophy.

Tragedy allows us to glimpse, in its harsh and unforgiving glare, the burning core of our aliveness. If we give ourselves the chance to look at tragedy, we might see further and more clearly.

©2019 Simon Critchley (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Critchley finds a perspective on tragedy open to its revelatory and transformative power. Readers feel that power as they probe the dazzling words and tempestuous emotions in the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and - above all - Euripides.... Postmodern philosophy collides with ancient drama, generating the heat of passion, the sparks of illumination.” (Booklist)

"[An] intelligent, rigorous book. Dedicated readers will have the sense of being at a thoughtful scholar’s side as he works through an intractable intellectual problem." (Publishers Weekly

“An erudite reconsideration of Greek tragedy.... For students of Greek drama, a revelatory contemplation of the theater's enduring power.” (Kirkus Reviews

What listeners say about Tragedy, the Greeks, and Us

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Enjoyable

I enjoyed this excursion through Greek tragedy and how it took in Gorgias, Socrates, Athenian history, and the great playwrights as well as the history of contemporary philosophy and it's reception of Aristotle's Poetics. Critchley should have thought more about family life and children. He ignores children. if tragedy doesn't speak to us as mom's and dads, it doesn't speak to us. I enjoyed the scholarship and the accessibility but I won't take in any of its points.

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Painful style and narration.

While the subject matter and the ideas are good, the style is really terrible. The writer revels in using highfalutin language. He would repeat the same statement over and over using different words. To complicate matters even further, the narrator speaks in a faux British accent as if he still lives in 1920. Nobody in England speaks like that anymore.

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Expected to like this book, but...

I have a strong interest in Tragedy and in Philosophy which is why I bought this book. Some of it was interesting, but when I realized that Simon Critchley was a student of Ms. Judith Butler an English Prof who supports the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah I decided to return this book. Hezbollah is responsible for the murder not just of Americans and not just of Israelis (this i itself would make her position as welcome as cancer of my finger-tips) but in addition has supported in Syria its murderous President Assad responsible for gassing children. There is irony here; in a book about tragedy the author quotes a Professor who supports terror groups who have visited unspeakable tragedies on on many peoples from Israelis to Syrians, et al.

3 people found this helpful