Investigating the origins of Peter Wessel Zapffe’s notion of tragedy in Aristotle’s Poetics: the case of mimesis

Agnieszka Maria Proszewska 1
  • 1 Faculty of Philology & Faculty of Philosophy, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
Agnieszka Maria Proszewska
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  • Faculty of Philology & Faculty of Philosophy, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
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The aim of this paper is to present the philosophical figure of a Norwegian philosopher and writer, creator of biosophy, Peter Wessel Zapffe (1899–1990), and to investigate the origins of his notion of tragedy (tragic experience) which he introduces in his magnum opus Om det tragiske (1941). I attempt to do so by searching its roots in antique theory of tragedy introduced by Aristotle, especially on the pages of Poetics, to which Zapffe himself often refers to. A study of how Zapffe “read” and understood Aristotle’s Poetics, a classical piece for the study of tragedy and tragic experience, seems essential for establishing the roots and foundations of his own vision of tragedy and its functions, finally shifting from the purely literary sphere to the biosophical level of human existence. In this paper I will focus mainly on the notion and art of mimesis, laying the basis for further detailed studies of Zapffe’s biosophical analysis of the subject.

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