16th Edition of the Averroes Encounters

La Méditerranée a son tragique solaire qui n’est pas celui des brumes
(The Mediterranean has it’s solar tradegy that is not the one of haze)
Albert Camus. L’Exil d’Hélène
16th Edition of the Averroes Encounters“The Mediterranean, tragic figures”
What is tragedy? Is it a theatrical form, a singularity born from the “Greek miracle” or an expression of man confronting overcoming forces? Tragedy draws a complex cloud and brings about a number of unresolved questions…
What distinguishes tragedy from fatality? What doesn’t make tragedy simply an act or a fatal moment when introduced in French with the definition “discourse on deplorable subjects”? Can we talk of tragic manners , of an art form or of a way of looking at death in the face giving life a greater intensity?
Which are the tragic figures? Are they, through Sophocles, Aeschylus or Euripides, beautiful references to the past and reverences to the Ancient Times? Can one talk, as Nietzsche invites us, of a “Birth of tragedy”? What does such an advent signify? Is it a short-lived story or a tragedy? Can the conscience of tragedy contribute to enlighten our times or our relationship to the world? Do the aesthetics of tragedy that find an echo in the cante jondo of certain flamenco forms or in the art of bullfighting exist?
The universe of tragedy puts Man at the centre of the world instead of a unique God, creator of the world. How are these visions of the Human Being and the world that have lived through the whole history of the Mediterranean confronted or reconciled? The three monotheisms, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, have each constructed a world order and designed man a place in heaven. On the contrary, tragedy as an expression of the Multiple in One, confronts Man to the flaws of time and to the surprise of the occurrence…Tragedy and God, are they always face to face? Do these two ways of being in the world remain incompatible or can they find themselves side by side? “Tragedy starts when the skies empty themselves”, observes Jean Duvignaud, but what happens when the sky, at least in a certain number of cultures and imaginaries, find its stars once again? “The amazing in essence”, which according to the philosopher Clément Rosset, characterises tragedy, defies the “it’s written” of the great religious texts or of the necessity of history. But where are we when it comes to contemporary tragedy, at the time of the resurgence of religious beliefs?
Does tragedy change character? Can we talk of a “return of tragedy” related to the times of the absurd and to a world deprived of meaning? Are wars and terrorism, the new contemporary tragic figures? Do the inextricable conflicts that divide the Mediterranean world produce the irreconcilable, just like a tragedy wheel which comes back and repeats itself incessantly, leaving men distraught?... Or does an art of the possible exist, an impulse defying the inevitable and maintains, towards and against everything, a “human margin”?
This 16th Edition of the Averroes Encounters will try to explore these many unresolved questions brought up by tragedy in its multiple figures.
[Thierry Fabre]
Translated by Elizabeth Grech

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