Tragedy and the Law

17 May 2010, 12:45 - 14:00

CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge

Dr Andrew Zurcher (Faculty of English, Queen's College, Cambridge)

Whilst at CRASSH I will begin research on material for my next monograph, a study of law and tragedy. The language, arguments, and forms of English common law provided early modern dramatists with a mode for thinking through, and enacting, ethical, epistemological, and metaphysical problems. Early modern playwrights undoubtedly felt a push toward the legal, arising from the traditional philosophical preoccupations of Athenian tragedy. My study will be the first to analyze the legal reception of both Greek and Latin tragic drama in the Elizabethan period, and to chart the specific debts of early modern English playwrights to the legal thought not only of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Seneca, but of Plato, Aristotle, Sextus Empiricus, and Epictetus. This interdisciplinary and comparative study will demonstrate the indispensability of English legal culture to the great flowering of English tragedy between 1580 and 1642, as well as the surprising way in which this culture both mediated and came to describe the relation between early modern tragedies and their classical sources.

 

Work-in-Progress seminars
The work-in-progress seminar features the work of our termly Visiting Fellows and Early Career Fellows.

Seminars begin at 12.45 and end at 2pm. Presentations are no more than 25 minutes long to allow plenty of time for discussion. Tea, coffee and sandwiches are provided.  All welcome.  The seminar is open to all - no need to register.

Readings for the Work in Progress sessions are available by clicking on the  link on the right.  People attending from outside the Centre can request access to the readings by contacting Michelle Maciejewska  for information.