Sounding the Classics: From Sophocles to Thomas Mann

Sounding the Classics: From Sophocles to Thomas Mann

by Rudolf Binion

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This book is a comparative study of 12 works of fiction broadly representative of the Western canon. Its aim is to discover what gives these 12 works their lasting appeal and vitality over and beyond their formal qualities. It focuses on the interplay of text and subtext within each work after defining these terms at the outset. It then compares its 12 sample classics systematically in a conclusion that argues from the works themselves to classics in general.

Binion's key finding is that for a piece of fiction to feel deep, whole, and great, as classics do, its text must be underpinned from start to finish by a subtext, or alternative reading, which calls that text itself into question. A book for scholar, student and educated public alike, no serious reader will be able to consider what makes a classic without reference to this work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275959654
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/26/1997
Series: Contributions to the Study of World Literature Series , #83
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 1490L (what's this?)

About the Author

RUDOLPH BINION is Leff Professor of History at Brandeis University. He is the author of numerous works including Hitler Among the Germans (1979) and Love Beyond Death (1993).

Table of Contents

Text and Subtext

The Trouble with Oedipus: Sophocles' Oedipus the King

Blood for Blood: The Gospel According to Matthew

In You My Death, In You My Life: The Tristan Legend

Lust Forever: Dante's Inferno - The Francesca Episode

Strange Mutations: Shakespeare's King Lear

In Flames and In Tears: Racine's Phaedra

A Wanderer on Earth: Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther

On Death Row: Stendhal's The Red and the Black

Like An Echo Fading: Flaubert's A Simple Heart

Mankind Revisited: Dostoyevsky's The Grand Inquisitor

A Lamed and Tamed Duck: Ibsen's The Wild Duck

Death Beckoning: Thomas Mann's Death in Venice

From Plagued Thebes To Plagued Venice

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