Article Title

The Five Voices of The Birth of Tragedy


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Friedrich Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy remains the most controversial modern document in the debate over the origin and nature of dramatic art. From our current vantage point, looking back over a century of scholarship, dramatic theorizing, and theatrical practice since the essay first appeared in 1872, it is clear that no other single work has proved more durable in influence. Nietzsche has been read (and misread), it seems, by nearly everyone. The impact of The Birth of Tragedy has been felt by dramatists as diverse as Ibsen, Strindberg, Wedekind, Yeats, Shaw, O'Neill, Williams, Genet, and Ionesco as well as by more recent playwrights such as David Storey and Peter Shaffer. Directors who have found The Birth of Tragedy indispensable include Antonin Artaud, Jig Cook, Robert Earl Jones, Jean Louis Barrault, Julian Beck and Judith Malina, Richard Schechner, Peter Brook; and Jerzy Growtowski. In addition, the aesthetic formulated by Nietzsche based on his famous Dionysian/ Apollinian polarity became a fertile source for such modernist luminaries as D. H. Lawrence, Marcel Proust, Thomas Mann, André Gide, Wallace Stevens, and Albert Camus.1

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