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Life Arts    H4'ed 6/28/19

Simon Critchley on Tragedy's Philosophy (REVIEW ESSAY)

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Next, in Critchley's discussion of Aristotle's famously puzzling comments about how tragedy evokes pity and fear in people participating in a live performance, Critchley turns to Jonathan Lear for help in understanding Aristotle's puzzling words (pages 190-192; also see Critchley's paraphrase of Lear's point on page 279). Critchley says, "Lear's view is that tragedy provides a safe environment in which emotions are raised and then relieved" (page 191). In a word, Lear is describing what is known as containment.

In the glossary in Dr. Justin A. Frank's book Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President (Avery/ Penguin Random House, 2018, pages 239-257), Dr. Frank defines containment in detail (pages 239-241).

In conclusion, Critchley himself has highlighted twelve theses that he develops in his thought-provoking new book. Instead of trying to explain his twelve theses and then critique each of them in turn, I have only highlighted certain points in in his new book about tragedy's philosophy.

For a bibliography of Ong's 400 or so publications, including those twenty-three articles, see Thomas M. Walsh's "Walter J. Ong, S.J.: A Bibliography 1929-2006" in the book Language, Culture, and Identity: The Legacy of Walter J. Ong, S.J., edited by Sara van den Berg and Thomas M. Walsh (Hampton Press, 2011, pages 185-245).

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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