Tragic Manhood and Democracy: Verdi's Voice and the Powers of Musical Art

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $14.67
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 51%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $14.67   
  • New (5) from $22.21   
  • Used (5) from $14.67   


Exploration of the tragic impact of patriarchy on democratic voice is at the heart of the power and appeal of Verdi's innovations in musical voice. At its core is a complex psychic geography of patriarchal practices imposed on personal and political relationships (parents to children, siblings to one another, and adult men and women). Such practices - fundamental to the family, politics, and religion - enforce demands by forms of physical and psychological violence directed by men and women at anyone who deviates from its demands. Verdi's tragic musical drama speaks of an emotional loss that literally cannot under patriarchy be spoken, namely, what the author calls the tragedy of patriarchy - a divided psychology that lives in the tension between patriarchal practices and democratic principles, and between the psychological demands of patriarchy and democratic manhood.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In this complex but rewarding book, Richards . . . challenges the ill effects that patriarchal societies have placed in the way of individual voices of both men and women, and the ways in which tragedy, as fashioned by ancient Greek playwrights, has occupied a problematic ground between patriarchy and democracy. Recommended.”  —Choice

“Characterizing tragedy as an art and a scientific investigation into human psychology, Richards uses it to approach the dilemma of manhood under democracy. He expands tragedy to include music drama in particular and the operas of Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) in particular, and explores its contribution to a truthful democratic understanding of the personal and political psychology of manhood under democracy.”  —Book News

“This brilliant, original book illuminates how the reigning conception of manhood ineluctably leads to tragedy. In Verdi’s operas, Richards finds a parallel to Greek tragedy—a musical art, honed at a moment of historical transition, that reveals the irreconcilable antagonism between patriarchy and democracy. He explains why Verdi’s operas move us so powerfully, and shows us how Verdi’s music dramas give expressi on to a voice that is psychologically and politically vital. This is creative scholarship at its best, a book written at a place where disciplines intersect. Illustrating how Verdi’s operas illuminate tragic breaks in human relationships, the author also shows how a personal and political psychology elucidates Verdi’s genius. For opera lovers, this book is a gift; to novices it extends an invitation to discover in music drama a way of ‘hearing the underworld’ and thus coming to understand emotions and experiences that we resist knowing.”  —Carol Gilligan, New York University, author, In a Different Voice and The Birth of Pleasure

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845190422
  • Publisher: Sussex Academic Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 210
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

David A. J. Richards is Edwin D. Webb professor of law at New York University, where he teaches constitutional law and criminal law. He is the author of 11 books, including The Racializing of an Ethnic Identity and A Theory of Reasons for Action.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 The idea of tragedy and the dilemma of democratic manhood : Verdi's analytics of traumatized voice under patriarchy 3
2 Tragic art : patriarchy in ancient Athens and Verdi's Italy 17
3 Music as the memory of suppressed voice in Verdi's mature operas 46
4 Verdi and Italian nationalism 69
5 Parents and children 79
6 Siblings 130
7 Lovers 139
8 Tragedy as the dilemma of democratic manhood 157
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)