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ML1205 Introduction to Literary Genre: Tragedy

Terms: 1-2

Convenor: Joseph Harris


Exam (60%) 2 hours and 15 minutes, composed of one commentary exercise and a comparative essay

Coursework (30%) one summative essay (1,200-1,500 words); please check Moodle for details of the deadline.

Moodle online test (10%)

Formative commentary in Term 1.


Murder, passion, ambition, cruelty, suicide, jealousy, anguish: over the centuries, tragedy has explored the extremes of human experience and emotion. This course introduces you to a range of tragedies from ancient Greece onwards, exploring how dramatists have combined themes, characters, plot, stagecraft and emotion to produce some of the most compelling, enduring and powerful literary works we know.

Key Bibliography:

  • Sophocles, Antigone, in The Theban Plays, trans. by Robert Fagles(Penguin, 1999)
  • Shakespeare, Othello, ed. by Michael Neill (Oxford University Press, 2008)
  • Racine, Phaedra, in Iphigenia, Phaedra, Athaliah (London: Penguin Classics)
  • Lorca, Blood Wedding, in Lorca Plays I,trans. and introd. by Gwynne Edwards (London: Methuen Drama, 1987)

Recommended Further Reading

Secondary reading:

  • George Steiner, The Death of Tragedy (London: Faber and Faber, 1995)
  • Adrian Poole, Tragedy: A Very Short Introduction

    (Oxford University Press, 2005)



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