Bound by the City

Greek Tragedy, Sexual Difference, and the Formation of the Polis

Edited by Denise Eileen McCoskey & Emily Zakin

Subjects: Literature, Drama, Gender Studies, Ancient Greek Philosophy, Political Philosophy
Series: SUNY series, Insinuations: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Literature
Paperback : 9781438427126, 352 pages, July 2010
Hardcover : 9781438427119, 352 pages, August 2009

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Table of contents


Denise Eileen McCoskey and Emily Zakin

1. City Farewell!: Genos, Polis, and Gender in Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes and Euripides’ Phoenician Women
Peter Burian

2. Antigone: The Work of Literature and the History of Subjectivity
Charles Shepherdson

3. The Laius Complex
Mark Buchan

4. Jocasta’s Eye and Freud’s Uncanny
David Schur

5. Sexual Difference and the Aporia of Justice in Sophocles’ Antigone
Victoria Wohl

6. Tragedy, Natural Law, and Sexual Difference in Hegel
Elaine P. Miller

7. Marrying the City: Intimate Strangers and the Fury of Democracy
Emily Zakin

8. Playing the Cassandra: Prophecies of the Feminine in the Polis and Beyond
Pascale-Anne Brault

9. The Loss of Abandonment in Sophocles’ Electra
Denise Eileen McCoskey

10. Electra in Exile
Kirk Ormand

11. Orestes and the In-laws
Mark Griffith

List of Contributors

Explores the connections between sexual difference and political structure in ancient Greek tragedy.


This collection offers a vibrant exploration of the bonds between sexual difference and political structure in Greek tragedy. In looking at how the acts of violence and tortured kinship relations are depicted in the work of all three major Greek tragic playwrights—Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides—the contributors shed light on the workings and failings of the Greek polis, and explore the means by which sexual difference and the city take shape in relation to each other. The volume complements and expands the efforts of current feminist interpretations of Antigone and the Oresteia by considering the meanings of tragedy for ancient Athenian audiences while also unveiling the reverberations of Greek tragedy's formulations and dilemmas in modern political life and for contemporary political philosophy.

At Miami University, Denise Eileen McCoskey is Associate Professor of Classics and Affiliate Black World Studies, and Emily Zakin is Associate Professor of Philosophy. Zakin is the coeditor (with Ellen K. Feder and Mary C. Rawlinson) of Derrida and Feminism: Recasting the Question of Woman.


"…considers key ancient tragedies and the concept of tragedy itself by means of contemporary Freudian, intertextual and gendered perspectives. In so doing, the collection speaks to the multiple methods of studying classical works and thus of understanding these tragedies as they were then performed and as we experience them now. " — Polis

"This collection, written by distinguished scholars in ancient studies, focuses on the tragic intersection of Athenian civic values and ideas of sexual difference. Unfolding the complexities of the tragedies of the houses of Laius and Atreus, the contributors draw on history, psychoanalysis, and theory to shed new light on how gender defined the culture and politics of the city state. " — Rebecca Bushnell, author of Tragedy: A Short Introduction