Tragedy and Philosophy. A Parallel History


Completed shortly before her death in 2019, Tragedy and Philosophy is the sum of Agnes Heller’s reflections on European history and culture, seen through the prism of Europe’s two unique literary creations: tragedy and philosophy. Part 1 traces their parallel history from ancient Athens to rebirth in early modern London and Paris. Part 2 explores the interactions between post-metaphysical philosophy and post-tragic drama from the eighteenth through to the twentieth centuries. Heller’s perspective is post-Hegelian: the story of European culture can only be told from its end, the generalization of modernity across the globe. In this sense Part 3 is Heller’s farewell to the grand narrative of European history and culture as well as her own personal farewell to philosophy.

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John Grumley, Ph.D. 1986 (University of Sydney), is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. He has published two single-authored books, five edited books and journals and over forty single-authored articles in international journals in the main areas of critical theory, biopolitics, and social and political philosophy. His published monographs are History and Totality and Agnes Heller: A Moralist in the Flux of History. He is the director of the Márkus Archive.

David Roberts, Ph.D 1968 (Monash University), is Emeritus Professor in German Studies, Monash University, and Fellow at the Australian Academy of Humanities. His books include Art and Enlightenment. Aesthetic Theory after Adorno, The Total Work of Art in European Modernism, and History of the Present.

Pauline Johnson, is an Associate Professor (honorary) in the Sociology Department at Macquarie University, Sydney. She has published four single authored books in critical theory. The most recent Critique in a Neoliberal Age was published by Routledge in 2020.

   John Grumley and David Roberts
 1 The Spirit of Agnes Heller
 2 Philosophy and Drama
 3 Agnes Heller’s Commitment to the Future

1 Tragedy and Philosophy
 1 What Do Tragedy and Philosophy Have in Common?
 2 Tragedy: Its Conditions and Constituents
 3 Shakespeare: Tragedy and History
 4 French Classicism: Tragedy and Passion

2 Drama and Philosophy
 1 Bourgeois Drama
 2 Drama and Classical German Philosophy
 3 Modern Drama and Radical Philosophy
 4 The Will to Tragedy and Naturalism
 5 Ibsen and Chekhov
 6 Sartre and Brecht

3 The Endgame of Drama and Philosophy
 1 Hegel and the End of History
 2 Drama and Philosophy: The Endgame


Readers interested in the history of European drama and philosophy from the Athenians through to Beckett and Derrida.