Tragic Failures Alexandrian Responses to Tragedy and the Tragic

This study focuses on the reception of tragedy and the tragic in Hellenistic poetry. It illustrates how classical tragedy and the tragic idea were incorporated in the poems of Callimachus and Theocritus, Apollonius’ Argonautica, the iambic Alexandra and late Hellenistic poetry. It demonstrates that ‘the tragic’ was not doomed to failure in the postclassical world but lived on through the works of the great Alexandrian poets and their followers.


Introduction: From Tragedy to the Tragic

  1. Tragedy, from Athens to Alexandria

The contexts of Hellenistic tragedy

Ptolemaic cultural politics and tragedy

Performing, reciting or reading tragedy?

Tragedy enters the Library

  1. The Metaclassical Tragic

Tragedy as philosophy and its Hellenistic reworking

The impossibility of Aristotelian tragedy

Callimachus on (not) writing tragedy

Establishing tragedy and the tragic in Alexandria

  1. Alexandrian Tragedy

The star system of the Alexandrian tragedians

Rupture and revival of tragic myth

Historical tragedy makes a comeback

Generic divergences and tragic crossovers

  1. Callimachus Displaces the Tragic

Transcending the tragic in the Hymns

Tragic fragmentariness in the Aetia

Hecale, a mundane tragedy

  1. Redefining the Tragic in the Idylls of Theocritus

A messenger speech without a messenger

The bucolic world’s a stage

Simaetha’s tragic failures

  1. Tragedy into Epic in Apollonius’ Argonautica

Distilling Attic tragedy into the Argonautica

Epic teleologies and tragic modalities

An Alexandrian epic on tragic passions

  1. In the Metatragic Cosmos of the Alexandra

The Alexandra, a metatragic play

From the tragedy of Cassandra to ‘becoming Alexandra’

Tragedy as textual unconscious

  1. The Romantic Tragic

Domesticizing tragedy

The tragedy of love

Parthenius, from tragedy to melodrama

Conclusion: Tragic Failures and Hellenistic Challenges



De Gruyter, juillet 2016

Marque éditoriale :  De Gruyter

ISBN :  9783110480634


Auteur : Christophe Cusset

Ancien élève de l'ENS Fontenay/ Saint-Cloud. Agrégé de Lettres classiques. Docteur ès Lettres (Université Lyon II). Professeur de littérature grecque à l'ENS de Lyon.

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