On contemporary drama: Sur l'avenir de la tragédie by Albert Camus
This article aims to shed some light on a little-known conference that Albert Camus held in Athens in 1955: Sur l’avenir de la tragédie. The conference is part of that secondary theoretical-theatrical production, which the Nobel-winning author committed to for his whole life. To this day, this production is a very fruitful source when investigating the historical and political dynamics of post-World War II Europe.
As it is often the case with Camus’ essays, the discours proceeds from a conceptual leap, linking the democratic policies of the XX century to Greek theatre in an original way. Following this same epistemological method, my essay pursues to uncover this connection and relate it to the political climate of today’s Western societies. Making use of the works of renowned scholars like Lukács and Szondi, I am going to apply the tools of historical comparative studies to justify recontextualizations and parallels that would otherwise seem unfounded or random.
I will thus try to set Camus in the framework of an “alternate” political debate, which in the XX century was often overshadowed by the hegemony of Marxist and engagée critique. Today more than ever, this perspective proves extremely useful when attempting to understand the fragile balance between neo-liberal motivations and nationalistic, centralizing impulses, which marks out the third-century European man as a new tragic entity.
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