The Burden of Office: Agamemnon and Other Losers
Joseph Tussman’s The Burden of Office is a book about the nature of political authority. Consider the symptoms of our present dilemma: leadership reduced to media “sound bites,” legitimate public power sold off to the marketplace in the name of “privatization,” citizens transformed into dubiously literate consumers in a Global Village. Can we make sense of any of this?
To do so, Tussman turns to some of the oldest and greatest stories in our tradition. He re-reads and re-tells the tales of Moses, Oedipus, Orestes, Antigone and King Lear. The re-tellings, as it quickly becomes apparent, are really new tellings that explore the deepest meanings of our social institutions. Tussman traces the tension between passion and puritanism in an effort to make sense of public office and public authority in a way that leads to neither blind obedience nor fashionable cynicism.
Lucid, original and ultimately wise, The Burden of Office is as much a work of literature as it is of philosophy.
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Foreword by John Dixon
The Orestes Case
O Lear Lear Lear 34
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Aegisthus Agamemnon Alexander Meiklejohn Antigone argument Athena believe better brother burden of office ceremony civil Clytemnestra conflict Cordelia course Creon culture daughter death destroy Edmund Egypt Egyptian Eteocles evil Experimental College faculty father and married freedom Furies gods going Goneril Haemon hand happened Helen human husband idealist infanticide innocent Iphigenia Ismene Israelites Jocasta justice killed his mother King Laius King Lear Laius leader Lear Lear's liberal live loyalty married his mother mean Midian mind moral Moses nature never Oedipus oracle Oresteia Orestes Oswald parent passions Pharaoh political Polybus Polynices poor promised land punishment puritan question rage Regan remember ruler sacrifice seems sense simply sisters slaves Socrates speech story strange struggle suppose tell Thebes things thought Tiresias Troy truth Tussman understand young Zeus