Is there any such thing as tragedy in the 21st century? What use is an old literary term worn thin by tabloid headlines about everything from sporting defeat to starvation? Is it possible to speak of tragedy without shouting about – or at – God? Andrew Tate looks at the evolution of the tragic from Sophocles and Shakespeare to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and John Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River.
Andrew Tate is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Lancaster University. He is the author of three books, the most recent of which is The New Atheist Novel: Fiction, Philosophy and Polemic After 9/11, co-written with Arthur Bradley.