Tragedy In Literature: a Quick Overview

Tragedy is a branch of drama that treats sorrowful or unfortunate events experienced by a heroic individual in a serious, dignified manner, and where the story culminates into a disaster of “epic proportions.” It’s usually used for describing any type of disaster or misfortune, but the term more accurately refers to a work of art probing questions about the role of humans in the universe.

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Among the Greeks of Athica, the ancient state with Athens as its chief city, tragedy was first used in 5th century BCE to describe a particular type of play presented in the country’s festivals. Those events approximated the mood of religious ceremonies, where there were altars to the gods and priests in attendance, along with tragedies around myth and history as the subject.

A tragedy is typically built up in five stages: (1) happy times, (2) introduction of a problem, (3) worsening of the problem into a crisis or dilemma, (4) the characters’ inability to prevent the onset of the problem, and (5) the problem resulting in a catastrophic ending.

English tragedy, first appearing in 1561 with the writings of Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville, includes examples such as the famous works of Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, John Webster, Henrick Ibsen, and Arthur Miller. English tragedies differ from Greek tragedies in that they have several story lines developing at the same time, versus Greek tragedies’ focus on a single theme and plot. Their heroes also come from all walks of life, and the tragic is mixed with the comic.

Not to be ignored are the tragic plays of Shakespeare, esteemed as the most popular of all playwright. He had used a number of Greek themes but modified them to his specific purpose. His works of tragedy include Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and Troilus and Cressida.

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John Eilermann from St. Louis, Missouri is a student of comparative literature. Growing up, he fell in love with literature, beginning with the works of Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, and other authors of their time. Learn more about comparative literature on this website.



Why “High Fidelity” Is a Novel For Music Lovers

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“High Fidelity” is one of those novels that properly captures the role of music in a narrative. This is the main reason it was loved and cherished by a lot of readers. Here

are some of the reasons why it is considered a novel for music lovers.

It’s one thing to name drop a band or a song for a quick grab of the audiences’ attention, but Nick Hornby sticks to the music and makes it work. One of the things that stand out is his inclination toward obscure music. And while a lot of the songs that made it in flashback scenes are chart-toppers, they all serve their purpose in the narrative.

Another way Hornby uses music in the narrative is to show the growth of the characters. We all grow older, outgrow certain music we listen to, develop more sensible tastes. In the story, the main character develops certain phases to music as his relationship progresses. He has phases of elitism, rockism, and spite in different parts of the novel.

The novel a

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lso brings forth a massive sense of nostalgia. Today’s digital technology can let us store thousands of songs on our phones. But before, people only held the music with their own hands in the form of records and the grooves in vinyl.

Lastly, the character is deeply relatable, especially how he hangs on to his record store. People who have music embedded in their generation have great difficulty in accepting changes in the music scene.

John Eilermann from St. Louis, Missouri, is currently in college pursuing a degree in Comparative Literature. Growing up, he read books by Nick Hornby, Roald Dahl, C.S Lewis, and many others. Read more articles like this here.


A Look At Novels, Musicals, And Broadway

While reading a book, it may be difficult for readers to imagine people bursting into song and dance numbers, or characters singing their lines.  However, it’s true that many of the greatest Broadway musicals were based on famous novels.  Let’s take a look at some of them.

Les Miserables:  Les Miserables has been hailed by many theater enthusiasts as arguably the greatest musical ever written and performed.  It was based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of the same name.  It is a lengthy historical narrative that tackles injustices at the time and has been praised by critics throughout the years.

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Wicked:  On a more fantastical note, L. Frank Boum’s “The Wizard of Oz” has spawned numerous adaptations. The latest is a fan-favorite retelling of the tale from the perspective of its antagonist, the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba.  The music for the play was top-notch, and its original run had massive talents such as Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth in the lead roles.

The Phantom of the Opera:  It’s hard to find a Broadway play that has run longer than “The Phantom of the Opera.”  The novel was written and published by Gaston Leroux in 1911.  Since then, the story has been adapted multiple times for screen.  But none of these were as famous as the iconic Broadway play.

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Hi! I’m John Eilermann from St. Louis, Missouri, a college student taking up Comparative Literature. For more on literature and all the things I love, check out this blog.


Studying Comparative Literature: What You Can Become

Comparative literature is considered the right fit for students who have an interest in literature that spans different languages. It cultivates reading that transcends geographical and linguistic boundaries and enables a good glimpse of the world’s best literary works and similarities and differences across nations, genres, and time periods.

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Comparative literature welcomes an inquiry into the different comparisons and connections that can be made among varying texts. It studies the French novel and how Russian folktales, for instance, might have influenced it and the country’s literature as a well. It delves into the gains and losses when texts are translated into English, as well as the representation of monsters across different medieval literature.

From here, the discipline goes beyond literature and explores the links of literature with history, politics, philosophy, and literary theory, as well as the intersections of literature with film, visual arts, drama, music, and other cultural forms. This then effectively harnesses skills under research, critical thinking, communication, and human relations, to name a few.

Students and graduates of comparative literature can explore internship and employment opportunities in a wide range of fields. They can be involved in publishing, advertising and marketing, government service, education, and even non-governmental organizations. They can go from being writers and editors to publishers and media producers to research analysts and policymakers and analysts.

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John Eilermann from St. Louis, Missouri, is currently in college pursuing a degree in Comparative Literature. The cross-disciplinary approach of the program enables John to take courses in philosophy, politics, and culture and intersecting literature with history. More on John and his interests here.


Ray Bradbury And His Tales: Innovative, Ageless, And Indomitable

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Very few writers in history have received as much love as Ray Bradbury. He is a writer of such caliber that even the most prolific writers today lavish praise upon his works. Bradbury has an impressive collection of essays, novels, and short stories under his belt. He has also been called on to help on screenplays for feature film and television on several occasions. Bradbury’s unparalleled imagination as well as mastery of

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the craft of storytelling was nothing short of avant-garde.

The one Bradbury novel that stands out is “Fahrenheit 451.” The story takes readers to a dystopian future and navigates them through harrowing events one after another. In the world Bradbury created, books are burned so as not to encourage people to think of themselves. He wrote this book to show his extreme distaste for people who have burned books before.

However, one of the most memorable stories I’ve ever come across is “Mars is Heaven,” a story which details a group of people who are presented by the innermost desires of their hearts while exploring the Martian landscape. The twist will floor any reader and stick with him as it did with me for years after reading it.

There are still dozens of works from Bradbury that we highly recommend. But the truth of the matter is, each one is just as gripping as the last.

Hi there! I’m John Eilermann from St. Louis, Missouri, and I’m currently in college pursuing a degree in Comparative Literature. Learn more about my love for books here.