Xavier Buxton

But what city or mortal, if they did not train their heart in fear, would still revere justice?(A.Eum.522-5) I study tragic fear: its cultivation and communication on the stage and off it. The core of my thesis will be the extant drama, but I'm currently sifting through historiography, philosophy, lyric and epic for comparable affective patterns. The objective is an ethical rehabilitation of fear: I want to show how Eteocles’ caution, Hecuba’s despair, Agamemnon’s moral cowardice and the infinite anxieties of the chorus all have something to teach us not only about how fear works, but also how this emotion, trained and directed to its proper ends, may form the foundation of a stable and equitable society. This fear would offer a psychological correlate of what has in recent years been called a “politics of vulnerability”.

Other interests that I’m trying to involve in my thesis include contemporary drama, poetry and translation. During term-time, I coordinate the Lyric Translation Group, which meets fortnightly to share and discuss members’ responses to an ancient Greek poem.