Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Weak PlanetLiterature and Assisted Survival$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Wai Chee Dimock

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226477077

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226477077.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Less Than Tragic

Less Than Tragic

Chapter:
(p.65) 3 Less Than Tragic
Source:
Weak Planet
Author(s):

C. L. R. James

Frank Stella

Amitav Ghosh Dilute Melville

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226477077.003.0004

Chapter 3 begins with the reported demise of still another genre, tragedy. It argues that tragedy is still flourishing in modernity, but in a weaker form, less invested in catastrophe as a necessary end, and becoming user-friendly and user-amended as a result. Featuring Moby-Dick as a case of tragedy at maximum strength, the chapter traces some non-tragic sequels emerging at a tangent from Melville's novel, linking C. L. R. James, Frank Stella, and Amitav Ghosh in an ongoing search for less-than-tragic forms. Especially important to these three is genre-switching, a reversal of background and foreground that allows James to alternate between his hands-on dedication to cricket and his archive-researched faith in the black Jacobins; Stella, between the high-concept abstraction of his painting and the artisan routine of his printmaking; and Ghosh, between the devastations of the opium trade and the vibrant pidgin tongues spoken by the migrant labor of the Indian Ocean. These authors and artists keep alive the idea of catastrophe, but also keep it at bay by taking a second look. Finding a flip-side more habitable, they bring to light a dimension of the world not paralyzed by tragedy and only sometimes under its jurisdiction.

Keywords:   tragedy, non-tragic sequels, Melville, C. L. R. James, Frank Stella, Amitav Ghosh, genre-switching, background to foreground, migrant labor, pidgin English

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.