Emotion in Action: Thucydides and the Tragic Chorus. Leiden: Brill, 2015. x + 290 pp. $149.00. isbn 978-90-04-26929-3 (hbk).A book about how to manage the emotions within a democracy seems a strangely timely enterprise at this moment in late 2016, when as far as many commentators can see, voters in the uk and usa took the opportunity to express multiple emotions of anger, hurt, and distrust, in ways that seem likely to harm the voters themselves far more than they are the objects and instigators of those emotions. In Emotions in Action: Thucydides and the Tragic Chorus (Mnemosyne Supplement 377) Eirene Visvardi examines how different Athenian genres explore the ways in which collective emotion may be harnessed to the goals of ‘social cohesion and collective prosperity in the polis’ (p. 1). Her study is thorough and thoughtful, if a little selective in terms of what choruses she actually analyses; currently it may also seem oddly optimistic.The introductory first chapter gives definitions of key terms and lays out the research context. Fifth-century Athens is said to be a ‘culture of passions’ (p. 3) by which is meant that the polis gives place to emotions in its public discourses, and does
Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought – Brill
Published: Apr 12, 2018
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