RT Book, Whole DB /z-wcorg/ DS http://worldcat.org ID 33078964 LA English T1 The tragedy of origins : Pierre Corneille and historical perspective A1 Lyons, John D.,, PB Stanford University Press PP Stanford, Calif. YR 1996 SN 0804726167 9780804726160 AB Studying the relationship between tragedy and history in early modern France, this book focuses on the work of Pierre Corneille, who was more insistent on the importance of this relationship than any of the other playwrights of the period. The writing of a tragedy takes place within a social context that deeply influences what constitutes "history," "tragedy," "authority," and "poetics." Yet such concepts are also practices that in turn shape the society in which they occur. We cannot look to drama for a kind of fossilized footprint or photographic plate of the period in which a play was written, nor can we assume that a playwright's images are simple escapes from a reality outside the theater. What is the relationship, in early seventeenth-century France, between tragedy and history as ways of telling about human experience? The author's readings of five Cornelian tragedies - Horace, Cinna, Polyeucte, Sertorius, and Attila - lead to a sustained reflection on the tragic structure as a confrontation between the present and the past. The "present" in question is the present of the world of the tragic story, not the present of the play's audience. In this sense, the present of Horace or Cinna is the same now as it was for the French of the 1630's and 1640's. Within these plays a present, a moment of Roman history, is confronted with its past. The author argues that this confrontation, which requires the recognition of an irreversible transformation, founds a new political and social order. The experience of this transformation is, for the protagonists, wrenching dislocation - in historical terms, an origin, and in dramatic terms, a tragedy.