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Disclosing Intertextualities

The Stories, Plays, and Novels of Susan Glaspell

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Edited by Martha C. Carpentier and Barbara Ozieblo

For the first time, this volume brings together essays by feminist, Americanist, and theater scholars who apply a variety of sophisticated critical approaches to Susan Glaspell’s entire oeuvre. Glaspell’s one-act play, “Trifles,” and the short story that she constructed from it, “A Jury of Her Peers,” have drawn the attention of many feminist critics, but the rest of her writing—the short stories, plays and novels—is largely unknown. The essays gathered here will allow students of literature, women’s studies and theater studies an insight into the variety and scope of her oeuvre.
Glaspell’s political and literary thinking was radicalized by the turbulent Greenwich Village environment of the first decades of the twentieth century, by progressive-era social movements and by modernist literary and theatrical innovation. The focus of Glaspell studies has, till recently, been dominated by the feminist imperative to recover a canon of silenced women writers and, in particular, to restore Glaspell to her rightful place in American drama. Transcending the limitations generated by such a specific agenda, the contributors to this volume approach Glaspell’s work as a dialogic intersection of genres, texts, and cultural phenomena—a method that is particularly apt for Glaspell, who moved between genres with a unique fluidity, creating such modernist masterpieces as The Verge or Brook Evans. This volume establishes Glaspell’s work as an “intersection of textual surfaces,” resulting for the first time in the complex aesthetic appreciation that her varied life’s work merits.

Theatrical Events

Borders – Dynamics – Frames. IFTR/FIRT. Theatrical Event Working Group

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Edited by Vicki Ann Cremona, Peter Eversmann, Hans van Maanen, Willmar Sauter and John Tulloch

Theatrical Events. Borders, Dynamics and Frames is written to develop the concept of ‘Eventness’ in Theatre Studies. The book as a whole stresses the importance of understanding theatre performances as aesthetic-communicative encounters of a wide range of agents and aspects. The Theatrical Event concept means not only that performers and spectators meet, but also that the specific mental sets, backgrounds and cultural contexts they bring in, strongly contribute to the character of a particular event.
Moreover, this concept gives space to the study of the role societal developments – such as technological, political, economical or educational ones – play in theatrical events.

Voices of Justice and Reason

Apartheid and Beyond in South African Literature

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Geoffrey V. Davis

Over the past fifty years transformations of great moment have taken place in South Africa. Apartheid and the subsequent transition to a democratic, non-racial society in particular have exercised a profound effect on the practice of literature.
This study traces the development of literature under apartheid, then seeks to identify the ways in which writers and theatre practitioners are now facing the challenges of a new social order.
The main focus is on the work of black writers, prime among them Matsemela Manaka, Mtutuzeli Matshoba and Richard Rive, who, as politically committed members of the oppressed majority, bore witness to the “black experience” through their writing. Despite the draconian censorship system they were able to address the social problems caused by racial discrimination in all areas of life, particularly through forced removals, the migrant labour system, and the creation of the homelands. Their writing may be read both as a comprehensive record of everyday life under apartheid and as an alternative cultural history of South Africa.
Particular attention is paid to theatre as a barometer of social change in South Africa.
The concluding chapters consider how in the current period of transition writers and arts institutions have set about reassessing their priorities, redefining their function and seeking new aesthetic directions in taking up the challenge of imagining a new society.

Moving Subjects

Processional Performance in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

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Edited by Kathleen Ashley and Wim Hüsken

Procession, arguably the most ubiquitous and versatile public performance mode until the seventeenth century, has received little scholarly or theoretical attention. Yet, this form of social behaviour has been so thoroughly naturalised in our accounts of western European history that it merited little comment as a cultural performance choice over many centuries until recently, when a generation of cultural historians using explanatory models from anthropology called attention to the processional mode as a privileged vehicle for articulation in its society. Their analyses, however, tended to focus on the issue of whether processions produced social harmony or reinforced social distinctions, potentially leading to conflict. While such questions are not ignored in this collection of essays, its primary purpose is to reflect upon salient theatrical aspects of processions that may help us understand how in the performance of “moving subjects” they accomplished their often transformative cultural work.

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Edited by Graham Jackman

Unlike many writers from the former GDR, Christoph Hein's reputation and standing - and his creativity - have remained intact despite the demise of the GDR in 1989-90. Christoph Hein in Perspective brings together essays by both established and younger scholars from Britain, Germany and the USA which together cover a wide spectrum of his work, from the early writings of the 1970s to the play In Acht und Bann of 1999 and including his speeches and essays as well as all his major prose works. There is a marked emphasis in the volume on Hein's post- Wende output, with about half the contributions focusing primarily on this period. Another feature is the diversity of perspectives from which the works are examined: historical and political viewpoints are complemented by formal and comparative studies as well as by gender-based perspectives. The volume includes additionally the first published English translation of what is for many Hein's most successful work for the stage, Die wahre Geschichte des Ah Q of 1983 (‘The True Story of Ah Q'). The volume as a whole should be of interest to scholars concerned with the GDR and with contemporary German culture, to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and also the others interested in the history and culture of Germany since 1945. Six of the essays are in English and six in German.

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Edited by Konrad Eisenbichler and Wim Hüsken

From the Fool to the Wildman, from the irate Reformer to the festive Masqueraders, this collection of articles offers a variety of topics, approaches, and agendas in the study of early modern European theatre. With samplings from Scandinavia, Germany, England, France, the Iberian peninsula, and even the New World, this collection also spans time, from the late fifteenth century to the present. In the process, Carnival and the carnivalesque are examined from archival, Bakhtinian, cultural, and even political points of view. The articles in this collection reveal the variety and inherent vitality of scholarship in early modern theatre. The thirteen essays have been selected from presentations made at the Eighth Triennial Congress of the Société Internationale pour l'Etude du Théâtre Médiéval held in Toronto (1995), under the auspices of the Records of Early English Drama project and Victoria University in the University of Toronto.

Edited by Hans van Maanen and S.E. Wilmer

Theatre Worlds in Motion aims to clarify the different theatre traditions and practices in Western Europe from a historical and sociological perspective. The book grew out of a perceived need among theatre scholars who had recognised that, while they understood the theatre system of their own country, they often found it difficult to discover how it compared with other countries. The chapters analyse the basic components and dynamics of theatre systems in seventeen Western European nations in order to elucidate how the systems function in general and how they vary in different cultures. The book provides a sense of what has been happening recently in particular countries, and indicates how the theatre systems have developed over time and have led to the current practices and structures. Each national chapter considers the historical tradition and place of theatre within the country and analyses the role of the state in fostering theatre during the last fifty years. Material from the national chapters has been used in two general chapters at the beginning and end of the book to provide an overview to developments in all Western Europe. The introductory chapter on decentralisation discusses the tendency amongst governments to encourage cultural development outside the national capital by providing subsidy for regional theatre venues and theatre companies and, in many cases, by developing the decision-making and budgetary powers for the theatre to regional and local authorities. The epilogue on the functioning of theatre examines the common structures of theatre in society as described in the seventeen national chapters, and it proposes areas for future research.

Unfinished Business

Tracing Incompletion in Jean Genet’s Posthumously Published Plays

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Brian Gordon Kennelly

This is the first study systematically to appraise Splendid's, «Elle», and Le Bagne, the three plays by Jean Genet published after his death, both in the context of the dramatist's dramatic canon and with respect to one another. After showing that their unusual publishing history necessarily sets these works apart from Haute surveillance, Les Bonnes, Le Balcon, Les Nègres, and Les Paravents, it argues that from Splendid's to Le Bagne, the question of incompletion is 'exteriorized' — moving from a purely thematic to an increasingly formal context — and that the status of each posthumously published work differs: Splendid's is a 'completed' play, thematizing incompletion; «Elle», with its seemingly incomplete form having thematic currency, is a 'properly unfinished' play; and as the intentionally 'fragmentary', purposefully suspended 'beginning' of a play, Le Bagne is shaped by incompletion.

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Jane Plastow

This study, the first book-length treatment of its subject, draws on a large base of elusive material and on extensive field research. It is the result of the author's wide experience of teaching and producing theatre in Africa, and of her fascination with the ways in which traditional performance forms have interacted with, or have resisted, non-indigenous modes of dramatic representation in the process of evolving into the vital theatres of the present day. A comparative historical study is offered of the three national cultures of Ethiopia, Tanganyika/Tanzania, and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. Not only (scripted) drama is treated, but also theatre in the sense of the broader range of performance arts such as dance and song. The development of theatre and drama is seen against the background of centuries of cultural evolution and interaction, from pre-colonial times, through phases of African and European imperialism, to the liberation struggles and newly-won independence of the present. The seminal relationship between theatre, society and politics is thus a central focus. Topics covered include: the function in theatre of vernacular and colonial languages; performance forms under feudal, communalist and socialist régimes; cultural militancy and political critique; the relationship of theatre to social élites and to the peasant class; state control (funding and censorship); racism and separate development in the performing arts; contemporary performance structures (amateur, professional, community and university theatre). Due attention is paid to prominent dramatists, theatre groups and theatre directors, and the author offers new insight into African perceptions of the role of the artist in the theatre, as well as dealing with the important subject of gender roles (in drama, in performance ritual, and in theatre practice). The book is illustrated with contemporary photographs.

Theme and Space

Text-Linguistic Studies in Russian and Polish Drama. With an Outline of Text Linguistics

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A.G.F. van Holk

Since the appearance of Lotman's Poetics of the Artistic Text (1970) and Universe of the Mind (1990), and Eco's Introduction to Semiotics (1972), the investigation of the working of signs in language, the arts and the sciences has witnessed an ever-increasing impact on our understanding of human culture. In this book an attempt is made at developing a linguistic model for the semiotics of culture, and to apply this to the analysis of a number of Russian and Polish dramatic texts, mostly from the nineteenth-century. In the first five chapters such well known plays as Ostrovskij's The Thunderstorm, Turgenev's A Month in the Country and Gogol's The Inspector-General are discussed, alternatively with Stowacki's Fantazy and some of Fredro's comedies. Special chapters are devoted to the performance of drama, and to some urgent issues concerning the structure of semiotic space. The last and most lengthy chapter presents an outline of so-called text linguistics, here conceived as a variety of case grammar, duely revised for application to the analysis of drama and its non-verbal context. The book addresses itself to readers familiar with Slavic languages and interested in the relation between language and literary themes, and the place of drama in culture.