British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (2):184-198 (2007)

Stacie Friend
Birkbeck College
Two assumptions are common in discussions of the paradox of tragedy: (1) that tragic pleasure requires that the work be fictional or, if non-fiction, then non-transparently represented; and (2) that tragic pleasure may be provoked by a wide variety of art forms. In opposition to (1) I argue that certain documentaries could produce tragic pleasure. This is not to say that any sad or painful documentary could do so. In considering which documentaries might be plausible candidates, I further argue, against (2), that the scope of tragic pleasure is limited to works that possess certain thematic and narrative features.
Keywords Paradox of tragedy  Documentary
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayl055
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

References found in this work BETA

Imagining and Believing: The Promise of a Single Code.Shaun Nichols - 2004 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 62 (2):129-39.
The Pleasures of Tragedy.Susan L. Feagin - 1983 - American Philosophical Quarterly 20 (1):95 - 104.
Tragedy.Aaron Ridley - 2003 - In Jerrold Levinson (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics. Oxford University Press.
Tragedy Anbd Self-Sufficiency: Plato and Aristotle on Fear and Pity.Martha Nussbaum - 1992 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 10:107-159.
Tragedy and the Community of Sentiment.Flint Schier - 1983 - In Peter Lamarque (ed.), Philosophy and Fiction: Essays in Literary Aesthetics. Aberdeen University Press. pp. 73--92.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Art and Painful Emotion.Matthew Strohl - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (1):e12558.
Documentaries, Docudramas, and Perceptual Beliefs.Enrico Terrone - 2020 - Wiley: The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (1).

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Why Does Tragedy Give Pleasure?A. D. Nuttall - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
The Poetry and the Pity: Hume's Account of Tragic Pleasure.Elisa Galgut - 2001 - British Journal of Aesthetics 41 (4):411-424.
The Feels Good Theory of Pleasure.Aaron Smuts - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (2):241-265.
Tragedy and Philosophy.N. Georgopoulos (ed.) - 1993 - St. Martin's Press.
The Paradox of Painful Art.Aaron Smuts - 2007 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 41 (3):59-77.
Six Theses About Pleasure.Stuart Rachels - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):247-267.
A Theory of Tragic Experience According to Hegel.Julia Peters - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):85-106.


Added to PP index

Total views
7,244 ( #248 of 2,446,186 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
581 ( #594 of 2,446,186 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes