Simon Critchley, author of the critically-acclaimed Stay Illusion, is back with a thought-provoking and timely treatise on how tragedy articulates conflicts and contradiction that we need to address in order to better understand the world we live in. This book seeks to confront where we are now by peering through the lens of Greek tragedy. Tragedy presents a world of conflict and troubling emotion, a world where private and public lives collide and collapse. A world of rage, grief and war. 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 and sugar-coated words serve as cover for clandestine operations of violence. A world rather like our own. Tapping into our collective fascination with the ancient world, at its heart the story Simon tells is a conflict between philosophy and poetry, in which he, a philosopher, is arguing against philosophy. He contends that if we want to understand ourselves better, then we have to go back to theatre, to the stage of our lives. What tragedy allows us to glimpse, in its harsh and unforgiving glare, is the burning core of our aliveness. If we give ourselves the chance to look at tragedy, we might see further and more clearly.
Simon Critchley writes on a wide variety of topics, including literature, suicide, David Bowie, and football. He is currently a Professor of Philosophy at The New School for Social Research in New York City. He is the author of The New York Times column, The Stone. His many books include Very Little . . . Almost Nothing, The Book of Dead Philosophers, The Faith of the Faithless, and Memory Theater.
Cosmo Bjorkenheim is a bookseller and former philosophy aficionado. He is a senior contributor at Screen Slate, for which he has written some 120 articles on cinema. He lives in Queens County, NYC.