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The Phaedra Syndrome

Of Shame and Guilt in Drama

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Albert S. Gérard

Originating probably in some oral cautionary tale, the Phaedra story illustrates a peculiar pattern of transgression and retribution. This Phaedra syndrome provided inspiration for many major writers from Euripides to Gabriele d'Annunzio. The present book offers a close re-reading and a re-assessment of four acknowledged masterpieces - Euripides' Hippolutos, Seneca's Phaedra, Lope de Vega's Castigo sin venganza and Racine's Phèdre: together with Lope's Italian source. Matteo Bandello's Novella 44, they all deal with the old tale or none of its analogues. While paying minute comparative attention to the texts, it aims at clarifying the relevance of each work for the meandrous evolution of religious beliefs and ethical criteria in the history of European society, ranging from Democritus' effort to react against his contemporaries' archaic shame-culture attitudes to Latin Stoicism, to the syncretic Baroque outlook in siglo de oro drama and to the radical puritanical inwardness of French Jansenism. The last two chapters offer an original interpretation of Phèdre as the supreme poetic utterance of Racine's confusion and perplexity in front of the unresolved contradictions in his faith; a case is made in the Conclusion the view that the puzzled and puzzling mood of this mysterious play exemplifies the new mind-set that was paving the way for Enlightenment rationalism and the ensuing dechristianisation of the Western intelligentsia.

The Art of Commedia

A Study in the Commedia dell’Arte 1560–1620 with Special Reference to the Visual Records

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M A Katritzky

Italian comedians attracted audiences to performances at every level, from the magnificent Italian, German and French court festival appearances of Orlando di Lasso or Isabella Andreini, to the humble street trestle lazzi of anonymous quacks. The characters they inspired continue to exercise a profound cultural influence, and an understanding of the commedia dell’arte and its visual record is fundamental for scholars of post-1550 European drama, literature, art and music. The 340 plates presented here are considered in the light of the rise and spread of commedia stock types, and especially Harlequin, Zanni and the actresses. Intensively researched in public and private collections in Oxford, Munich, Florence, Venice, Paris and elsewhere, they complement the familiar images of Jacques Callot and the Stockholm Recueil Fossard within a framework of hundreds of significant pictures still virtually unknown in this context. These range from anonymous popular prints to pictures by artists such as Ambrogio Brambilla, Sebastian Vrancx, Jan Bruegel, Louis de Caulery, Marten de Vos, and members of the Valckenborch and Francken clans. This volume, essential for commedia dell’arte specialists, represents an invaluable reference resource for scholars, students, theatre practitioners and artists concerned with commedia-related aspects of visual, dramatic and festival culture, in and beyond Italy.

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Edited by Wim Hüsken, Konrad Schoell and Leif Søndergaard

Farcical elements were incorporated into non-comic drama ever since the theatre had been rediscovered in the Middle Ages. Already at a very early stage, comic scenes proved to be popular additions to liturgical music drama and, later, to religious plays in the vernacular. Some scholars believe that the genre of farce developed out of these farcical elements. The suggestion was made that farces, similar to the stuffing of meat or poultry, had been added to plays to increase audience involvement. Other researchers see quite different origins for the farce. The present volume does not aspire to solve the question of the relationship between the two types of “comedy” on the medieval stages but its editors hope that it will nevertheless contribute to this discussion. In addition, it will enable its readers to form an impression of the huge variety of the comic in the vast area of medieval and early Renaissance theatre and drama.

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Edited by Mark S. Byron

This collection of essays – the first volume in the Dialogue series – brings together new and experienced scholars to present innovative critical approaches to Samuel Beckett’s play Endgame. These essays broach a broad range of topics, many of which are inherently controversial and have generated significant levels of debate in the past. Critical readings of the play in relation to music, metaphysics, intertextuality, and time are counterpointed by essays that consider the nature of performance, the history of the theater and the music hall, Beckett’s attitudes to directing his play, and his responses to other directors. This collection will be of special interest to Beckett scholars, to students of literature and drama, and to drama theorists and practitioners.

Remembering Patrick White

Contemporary Critical Essays

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Edited by Elizabeth McMahon and Brigitta Olubas

Remembering Patrick White presents the first major study of the full range of White’s work in over twenty-five years, and aims to bring this important author up to date for new generations of readers and scholars. Patrick White is a writer of moods and perspectives and the essays collected here range in their focus over his public presentations, his formal challenges, his spiritual leanings and dramatic gestures. They examine the breadth and significance of White’s intellectual contribution and consider the ongoing legacy of his thought and his art within national and international frames. As a collection, they focus our attention on what Patrick White means at the juncture of the present, reading his work through contemporary critical perspectives that further underscore the dynamism and substance of his writing.
Contributors: Bill Ashcroft; Veronica Brady; Bernadette Brennan; Lorraine Burdett; Greg Graham-Smith; John McCallum; Lyn McCredden; Elizabeth McMahon; Brigitta Olubas; Brigid Rooney; Jennifer Rutherford; Anthony Uhlmann.

The Legacy of Opera

Reading Music Theatre as Experience and Performance

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Edited by Dominic Symonds and Pamela Karantonis

The Legacy of Opera: Reading Music Theatre as Experience and Performance is the first volume in a series of books compiled by the Music Theatre Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research. The series explores the widening of the meaning of the term “music theatre” to reflect new ways of thinking about this creative practice beyond the genres circumscribed by discourses of theatre studies and musicology. Specifically it interrogates the experience of music theatre and its performance energies for contemporary audiences who engage with the emergence of new expressive idioms, new performative paradigms, new technologies and new ways of thinking. The Legacy of Opera considers some of the ways in which opera’s influence has informed our understanding of and approach to the musical stage, from the multiple perspectives of the ideological, historical, corporeal and artistic. With contributions from international scholars in music theatre, its chapters explore both canonic and experimental examples of music theatre, spanning a period from the seventeenth century to the present day.

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Edited by Freda Chapple and Chiel Kattenbelt

Intermediality: the incorporation of digital technology into theatre practice, and the presence of film, television and digital media in contemporary theatre is a significant feature of twentieth-century performance. Presented here for the first time is a major collection of essays, written by the Theatre and Intermediality Research Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research, which assesses intermediality in theatre and performance. The book draws on the history of ideas to present a concept of intermediality as an integration of thoughts and medial processes, and it locates intermediality at the inter-sections situated in-between the performers, the observers and the confluence of media, medial spaces and art forms involved in performance at a particular moment in time. Referencing examples from contemporary theatre, cinema, television, opera, dance and puppet theatre, the book puts forward a thesis that the intermedial is a space where the boundaries soften and we are in-between and within a mixing of space, media and realities, with theatre providing the staging space for intermediality. The book places theatre and performance at the heart of the ‘new media’ debate and will be of keen interest to students, with clear relevance to undergraduates and post-graduates in Theatre Studies and Film and Media Studies, as well as the theatre research community.

"All Sturm and no Drang"

Beckett and Romanticism. Beckett at Reading 2006

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Edited by Dirk Van Hulle and Mark Nixon

This new issue of Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui contains three sections: Beckett and Romanticism, the conference proceedings of Beckett at Reading 2006, and finally a collection of miscellaneous essays. In the past few decades there have been scattered efforts to address the topic of Beckett and Romanticism, but it remains difficult to fathom his ambiguous and somewhat paradoxical attitude toward this period in literature, music and art history. Although far from being a comprehensive examination, the dossier on “Beckett and Romanticism” represents the first sustained attempt to give an impetus to the study of this complex theme. Presented here are contributions on Beckett’s attitudes toward Romantic aesthetics in general, including notions such as the sublime, irony, failure, ruins, fragments, fancy, imagination, epitaphs, translation, unreachable horizons, the infinite, the infinitesimal and the unfinished, but also on Beckett’s reading about the Romantic period, his affinity with specific Romantic artists and their influence on works such as Murphy, the trilogy, Krapp’s Last Tape and All Strange Away. The second part of the current issue presents a selection of papers given at the Beckett at Reading 2006 conference in Reading, organised by the Beckett International Foundation to honour the writer’s centenary. Reflecting the importance of the Beckett Foundation’s Archive to scholars, many of these essays present new empirical research in the field of manuscript studies. Further areas of research are illuminated by other contributions which, together with the essays contained in the ‘Free Space’ section, show the importance and benefits of scholarly dialogue and cross-fertilization between different approaches in current Beckett Studies.

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Edited by Jürgen Siess, Matthijs Engelberts and Angela Moorjani

The thematic part of this volume of Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui is devoted mainly to Beckett’s texts of the forties and later, and particularly to those he composed after his adoption of the French language. The essays presented in this part of the current issue attempt to see Beckett as a writer among other authors with whom he connects or competes, to examine his relations with artists, whether Beckett stimulates them or is stimulated by them, and to define his ‘posture’ and his position in the cultural field. How does the budding francophone writer position himself in the cultural field during his difficult beginnings and after his first successes? How can he be situated in relation to the three cultures he is dealing with? What are the parallels between Beckett’s own texts and those of other writers (literary and philosophical), but also between his work and the work of artists of the period? The ten essays in the free-space section of this volume also mainly concern his texts that were first written in French, and situate Beckett in relation to different topics, from Dante to the ‘War on Terror.’