Private Lives, Public Deaths: Antigone and the Invention of Individuality

Private Lives, Public Deaths: Antigone and the Invention of Individuality

by Jonathan Strauss

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Overview

Private Lives, Public Deaths: Antigone and the Invention of Individuality by Jonathan Strauss

In Private Lives, Public Deaths, Jonathan Strauss shows how Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone crystallized the political, intellectual, and aesthetic forces of an entire historical moment—fifth century Athens—into one idea: the value of a single living person. That idea existed, however, only as a powerful but unconscious desire. Drawing on classical studies, Hegel, and contemporary philosophical interpretations of this pivotal drama, Strauss argues that Antigone’s tragedy, and perhaps all classical tragedy, represents a failure to satisfy this longing.

To the extent that the value of a living individual remains an open question, what Sophocles attempted to imagine still escapes our understanding. Antigone is, in this sense, a text not from the past but from our future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823251339
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 07/01/2013
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Strauss is Professor of French at Miami University. He is the author of Subjects of Terror: Nerval, Hegel, and the Modern Self and of Human Remains: Medicine, Death, and Desire in Nineteenth-Century Paris (Fordham).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note on Transliterations
Introduction: Tragedy, the City, and Its Dead
1. Two Orders of Individuality
2. The Citizen
3. Loss Embodied
4. States of Exclusion
5. Inventing Life
6. Mourning, Longing, Loving
7. Exit Tragedy appendixes
Appendix A: Summary of Sophocles's Labdacid Cycle
Appendix B: Timeline of Relevant Events in Ancient Greece
Notes
Works Cited
Index

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