The Politics and Poetics of Contemporary English Tragedy is a
detailed study of the idea of the tragic in the political plays of
David Hare, Howard Barker, Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill, Mark
Ravenhill, Sarah Kane, and Jez Butterworth. Through an in-depth
analysis of over sixty of their works, Sean Carney argues that
their dramatic exploration of tragic experience is an integral part
of their ongoing politics. This approach allows for a comprehensive
rather than selective study of both the politics and poetics of
Carney's attention to the tragic enables him to find a common
discourse among the canonical English playwrights of an older
generation and representatives of the nineties generation,
challenging the idea that there is a sharp generational break
between these groups. Finally, Carney demonstrates that tragic
experience is often denied by the social discourse of Englishness,
and that these playwrights make a crucial critical intervention by
dramatizing the tragic.
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