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

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Overview

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.
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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

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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.

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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
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