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BOOK REVIEWS 575 semantic and lyric formation of pure feelings. The universal comprehensibility of music is not due to any true universality of its language--which also varies according to the period but to its "great latitude of interpretability" which is even superior to the one achieved in hermetic and symbolistic poetry. A word exhibits two elements: suggestivity and "icasticity" (denotation). A "total work of art" (Gesamtkunstwerk) in the Wagnerian sense is not possible of realization because in such a work either the literary or the musical element would have to be dominant. Calogero's aesthetics unites subtlety of argumentation with concreteness in preSentation . He illustrates his point by examples often taken from English poetry (Shakespeare, Keats and Shelley). In criticizing Croce, Calogero tries to preserve his valuable insights, for instance, when quoting him on the difference between natural and artistic beauty; the former lacks an "authentic interpretation" which we may achieve when presented with works of art. The aesthetic attitude requires according to Calogero an initial detachment from its subject matter. But the work of art achieves more than "detachment" alone. It heals the emotional conflict inherent in the subject matter by the lyrical equilibrium . Philosophy may achieve an "equilibrium of thought." But the latter encompasses the whole of human existence while the lyrical equilibrium accomplished in art deals only with some aspects of this existence. Max RIESER New York City Tragic Being. Apollo and Dionysus in Western Drama. By N. Joseph Calarco. (Minneapolis : The University of Minnesota Press, 1969) "Tragedy always begins with quotidian life, with history experienced concretely, not in terms of a systematic science or philosophy, but then moves beyond that experience. It sees the universal contradictions in the ground of Being behind the particular contradictions of the world and the heart of man.... Tragedy unites man with man, and both with the sacred context of their suffering, in the flood of Dionysiac perception. Yet the suffering remains at the same time individual, bounded.... Tragic man imitates eternal archetypes.., yet he also transcends the archetype in his concrete particularity. And quotidian experience, secular reality, remains a fact of the tragic vision, the source of its necessary paradox" (pp. 182-183). "Tragedy provides a rehearsal of the contradictions in the ground of Being as they relate to man, concretely" (p. 177). It is clear from statements like these (and Professor Calarco's study is filled with such statements) that Calarco is interested not only in defining the nature of the tragic experience but has accepted a set of rather rigid standards by which he measures that experience. Tragedy based on a systematic philosophy (say Marxism, or Hegelianism), Calarco maintains, has a tendency to exist "beyond" tragedy since the tragic hero is swallowed up in some deterministic scheme of things and is denied "a search for metaphysical meaning," or his existence has value only in the historical telos toward which his efforts move him. The suffering of the hero must be both individual and universal and must reveal somehow "the universal contradictions in the ground of Being." Calarco has arrived at these conclusions by taking as his manifesto Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy and adding to it certain insights about "historical" and "anhistorical" man which he has derived from Mircea Eliade's Cosmos and History. From Nietzsche come the categories of the Apollonian and the Dionysiac. The Dionysiac illusion is characterized by "rapt vision," "ecstasy and an awe beyond cognition ," something called "Dionysiac wisdom" arrived at by "a shattering of the principium 576 H/STORY OF PHILOSOPHY individuationis"; the Apollonian illusion is characterized by the principium individuationis , serenity, balance, order, delightful illusions "where all shapes speak to us directly, nothing seems indifferent or redundant." From Eliade comes what Calarco calls "the central thesis of his book--the question of tragic ontology" (p. 6), i.e., how and in what forms human suffering and human existence are given value in tragedy. Does tragic man in his essence ultimately become in a sense anhistorical man or does "he make himself within history"? Equipped with these theoretical tools Calarco now hopes to show by an analysis of certain tragedies found in the long history of tragedy from Aeschylus to Genet that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 575-578
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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