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.
Illustrations and Photographs
1. Theatre and Dance—A Symbolist Dialogue
2. Gabriele D’Annunzio and Ida Rubinstein
D’Annunzio and the Sensorial Body II.
Ida Rubinstein III:
Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien IV.
La Pisanelle, ou La Mort parfumée 3. Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Grete Wiesenthal
Hofmannsthal and the Expansion of Language II.
Grete Wiesenthal III.
The Hofmannsthal-Wiesenthal Pantomimes 4. W. B. Yeats and Michio Ito
Yeats and the Vitality of the Body II.
A Certain Noble Dancer of Japan III.
At the Hawk’s Well 5. W. B. Yeats and Ninette de Valois
Ninette de Valois II.
Fighting the Waves 6. Paul Claudel, Jean Börlin and the Ballets Suédois
Claudel and the Motion of the Body II.
The Ballets Suédois III.
L’Homme et son désir 7. Dance-Theatre as a Collaborative Genre