Euripides and the Poetics of Nostalgia
by Gary S. Meltzer
Branded by critics from Aristophanes to Nietzsche as sophistic, iconoclastic, and sensationalistic, Euripides has long been held responsible for the demise of Greek tragedy. Despite this reputation, his drama has a fundamentally conservative character. It conveys nostalgia for an idealized age that still respected the gods and traditional codes of conduct. Using deconstructionist and feminist theory, this book investigates the theme of the lost voice of truth and justice in four Euripidean tragedies. The plays' unstable mix of longing for a transcendent voice of truth and skeptical analysis not only epitomizes the discursive practice of Euripides' era but also speaks to our postmodern condition. The book sheds new light on the source of the playwright's tragic power and enduring appeal, revealing the surprising relevance of his works for our own day.