Tragedy of Liberty
Civic Concern & Disillusionment in
James Thomson's Tragic Dramas
By Katarina Leandoer
Uppsala University Press
144 pages, illustrated
Early eighteenth-century serious drama often addresses the significance of liberty. This study focuses on the theme of civic and individual liberty in the little known tragedies of James Thomson, Sophonisba, Agamemnon and Tancred and Sigismunda, all of which problematise the condition of liberty under the influence of ideology.
Situating the plays in the political, ideological and philosophical debates of the day, this study, like previous research in the field, recognises Thomson's connection with the political opposition to the Whig ministry. However, the plays are examined from a historical perspective as a response to tenets that, although similar to those embraced by the political opposition, were actually part of government Whig and Tory ideologies, as well as of contemporary thought about the individual as a social being.
Studia Anglistica Upsaliensia, No. 119
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