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Faculty-Work-in-Progress – Tears of Compassion in Classical Athens   

Date: Tue. November 13th, 2018, 4:30 pm-5:30 pm
Location: Clark Hall Room 206, 11130 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106

Sternberg Event ImageIn her talk, Rachel Sternberg, Associate Professor in the Department of Classics, argues that Plato’s criticism of tragedy reflected a significant change he observed during his lifetime (c. 429-347 BCE):  that men were crying more freely than they had in his childhood and youth, a change he blamed (plausibly) on the emotionally stirring effects of poetry. Work by cultural anthropologist William M. Reddy can help us interpret this possibility via analogy with a shift that occurred in late 18th-century France as people learning empathy from an energetic new literary genre — the novel — became more sympathetic and began to cry much more than previously. Reddy theorizes that the moment created a new “emotional regime” that changed the entire culture. Sternberg suggests that in the fifth century BCE, an energetic new genre — tragic drama — taught empathy, drew tears, and changed the culture of Athens.

Pre-Lecture reception begins at 4:15 pm.

Free and open to the public.  Registration requested.

Click HERE for Professor Sternberg’s faculty page.

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