Questioning Racinian Tragedy
Noting significant differences between the individual tragedies of Racine and the many current notions of what "Racinian tragedy" is deemed to imply, John Campbell explores the identity and meaning of the modern "Racine." He asks if any one critical paradigm, propounded to explain what is commonly called "Racinian tragedy," even permits a convincing interpretation of any single play. He expresses skepticism as to whether the various tragedies can together constitute a body of work methodologically and ideologically cohesive enough to demonstrate any set of clearly identifiable patterns.
Campbell's examination of the individual tragedies suggests the works are marked by difference, difficulty, uncertainty, and irresolution. This focus is a reminder that "Racine" is a critical fiction, and that "Racinian tragedy" is in reality a series of separate entities, individual dramatic works created as such.
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