Jos de Mul, Destiny Domesticated: the Rebirth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Technology, Suny Press, Albany NY 2014
In The Death of Tragedy, George Steiner argued that tragedy, both as a literary genre and a specific worldview, is behind us once and for all. On the contrary, the thesis of this book is that «especially in modern technology all elements are present to reawaken tragic awareness» (p. XXI). Our technological control over nature has led to some impressive success, but «[t]aking God’s place turned out to be less simple than we had hoped» (p. 19). Such a thesis is defended on the basis of several examples. Firstly, current events of the last decade such as the tragicomic adventures of the politician James Stockdale, the murder of Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh in 2004, and the lawsuit regarding Terri Schiavo. Secondly, de Mul deals with the classical Greek tragedy, with the well-known Antigone, Medea, and the Prometheus trilogy as well as with the lesser known Orestea. Thirdly, the author does not neglect those philosophers who have to some extent reflected on the tragic.