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The Phaedra Syndrome

Of Shame and Guilt in Drama

Series:

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.

Embodied Texts

Symbolist Playwright-Dancer Collaborations.

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Mary Fleischer

Embodied Texts: Symbolist Playwright-Dancer Collaborations explores the dynamic relationship between Symbolist theatre and early modern dance across Europe from the 1890s through the 1930s. Gabriele D’Annunzio’s projects with Ida Rubinstein; Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s pantomimes for Grete Wiesenthal; W. B. Yeats’s work with Michio Ito and Ninette de Valois; and Paul Claudel’s collaborations with Jean Börlin and the Ballets Suédois are studied in depth to shed new light on an evolving dance-theatre form within Symbolist culture. Buoyed by the era’s heightened interest in the expressive qualities of the body, these playwrights were highly invested in the authority of language, yet were drawn to the capacity of dance to evoke spiritual or psychological states which words could not completely capture. In its belief of fundamental correspondences among the arts, Symbolism encouraged experimentation across disciplines, and this study traces interconnections among many of its significant figures including Max Reinhardt, Claude Debussy, Gertrud Eysoldt, Edward Gordon Craig, Bronislava Nijinksa, Isadora Duncan, Jaques Dalcroze, Darius Milhaud, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Mariano Fortuny, Terence Gray, George Antheil, Eleonora Duse, and Michel Fokine.

Performative Body Spaces

Corporeal Topographies in Literature, Theatre, Dance, and the Visual Arts

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Edited by Markus Hallensleben

The human body as cultural object always has and is a performing subject, which binds the political with the theatrical, shows the construction of ethnicity and technology, unveils private and public spaces, transgresses race and gender, and finally becomes a medium that overcomes the borders of art and life. Since there cannot be a universal definition of the human body due to its culturally performative role as a producer of interactive social spaces, this volume discusses body images from diverse cultural, historical, and disciplinary perspectives, such as art history, human kinetics and performance studies. The fourteen case studies reach from Asian to European studies, from 19th century French culture to 20th century German literature, from Polish Holocaust memoirs to contemporary dance performances, from Japanese avant-garde theatre to Makeover Reality TV shows.
This volume is of interest for performance studies artists as well. By focusing on the intersection of body and space, all contributions aim to bridge the gap between art practices and theories of performativity. The innovative impulse of this approach lies in the belief that there is no distinction between performing, discussing, and theorizing the human body, and thus fosters a unique transdisciplinary and international collaboration around the theme performative body spaces. (I. Biopolitical Choreographies, II. Transcultural Topographies, III. Corporal Mediations, IV. Controlled Interfaces.)

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Garrett P.J. Epp

Abstract

While the Wycliffite Tretise of Miraclis Pleyinge famously condemns religious theatre as sinful idleness and ‘signs without deed,’ biblical drama has the potential to be highly productive, as a form of performative theology. Much like the meditative mode of affective piety, likewise common in the later Middle Ages, when undertaken seriously by or for those who believe in what it represents, the performance of biblical drama can create rather than merely represent theological meaning. This paper examines a variety of texts and performances, medieval and modern, in order to demonstrate how religious belief and theatrical make-believe can intertwine.


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Emilie Morin

-born baby, whom the intruder comes to fetch in L’Intruse , is depicted as a “child of wax” (my translation) ( Théâtre : 229). His only cry is the cry that marks his death. The elderly grandfather evokes his belief that the baby will be “deaf, and perhaps mute,” and he concludes: “This is what consanguinity

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Aleksandra V. Jovanović

imagination” (Deane: 75–91); while the other is marked by Beckett’s belief that “there is nothing to express” (“Proust:” 103): that words fall into the “unfathomable abysses of silence” ( Disjecta : 172). Ultimately, it is to Beckett that Banville turns, stating that “I go in a Beckettian direction” (Schwall

Odún

Discourses, Strategies, and Power in the Yorùbá Play of Transformation

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Cristina Boscolo

A poetic ‘voice’ scans the rhythm of academic research, telling of the encounter with odún; then the voice falls silent. What is then raised is the dust of a forgotten academic debate on the nature of theatre and drama, and the following divergent standpoints of critical discourses bent on empowering their own vision, and defining themselves, rather, as counterdiscourses. This, the first part of the book: a metacritical discourse, on the geopolitics (the inherent power imbalances) of academic writing and its effects on odún, the performances dedicated to the gods, ancestors, and heroes of Yorùbá history.
But odún: where is it? and what is it? And the ‘voice’? The many critical discourses have not really answered these questions. In effect, odún is many things. To enable the reader to see these, the study proceeds with an ‘intermezzo’: a frame of reference that sets odún, the festival, in its own historico-cultural ecoenvironment, identifying the strategies that inform the performance and constitute its aesthetic. It is a ‘classical’ yet, for odún, an innovative procedure. This interdisciplinary background equips the reader with the knowledge necessary to watch the performance, to witness its beauty, and to understand the ‘half words’ odún utters.
And now the performance can begin. The ‘voice’ emerges one last time, to introduce the second section, which presents two case studies. The reader is led, day by day, through the celebrations – odún edì, Morèmi’s story, and its realization in performance; then confrontation by the masks of the ancestors duing odún egúngún (particularly as held in Ibadan). The meaning of odún becomes clearer and clearer.
Odún is poetry, dances, masks, food, prayer. It is play ( eré) and belief ( ìgbàgbó). It is interaction between the players (both performers and spectators). It is also politics and power. It contains secrets and sacrifices. It is a reality with its own dimension and, above all, as the quintessential site of knowledge, it possesses the power to transform. In short, it is a challenge – a challenge that the present book and its voices take up.

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Maciej Witek

is that the proper function of conventional patterns of verbal interaction is to help achieve mental coordination between conversing agents, i.e. , to help them produce and maintain a preferred correspondence between their individual representations of their shared mental states: beliefs, desires

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Marina Sbisà

‘total speech situation’ (cf. ibid. , p. 52 and p. 148), with respect to the ‘historical situation’ referred to. And what makes it the ‘right thing’, is not merely the participants’ belief (or even justified belief), but also, and primarily, how the world actually is. Austin’s theory of truth has been