Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of Witswatersrand is holding a book launch for Prof. Ato Quayson’s new book Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature. Quayson is a Professor of English at Stanford University, California. He has published many books on African literature. This book explores “tragedy and tragic philosophy from the Greeks through Shakespeare to the present day.”

Fellow professors of literature Jeanne-Marie Jackson (Johns Hopkins University) and Anki Mukherjee (Oxford University) will engage Quayson in discussion.

Date: Jun 10, 2021

Time: 6:00 PM (Johannesburg Time)

Venue:  Virtual (Register here).

Read the publisher’s description of the book below. If you’d like to get a copy of the book, order here.

This book examines tragedy and tragic philosophy from the Greeks through Shakespeare to the present day. It explores key themes in the links between suffering and ethics through postcolonial literature. Ato Quayson reconceives how we think of World literature under the singular and fertile rubric of tragedy. He draws from many key works – Oedipus Rex, Philoctetes, Medea, Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear – to establish the main contours of tragedy. Quayson uses Shakespeare’s Othello, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Tayeb Salih, Arundhati Roy, Toni Morrison, Samuel Beckett and J.M. Coetzee to qualify and expand the purview and terms by which Western tragedy has long been understood. Drawing on key texts such as The Poetics and The Nicomachean Ethics, and augmenting them with Frantz Fanon and the Akan concept of musuo (taboo), Quayson formulates a supple, insightful new theory of ethical choice and the impediments against it. This is a major book from a leading critic in literary studies.