Read e-book online Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of PDF

By Anthony James Kubiak

ISBN-10: 047209811X

ISBN-13: 9780472098118

From the earliest Puritan screens of piety and rectitude to the present-day epidemic of staged institution massacres, the heritage of the US has been characterised by way of a twin impulse: to solid public occasion and personality as excessive drama, and to brush aside theater and theatricalization as un-American, even evil. This booklet rethinks American background as theater, and theater because the ethos and substance of yankee lifestyles, mockingly repudiated at each flip through the tradition it produces. starting with the writings of John Winthrop and others, throughout the Federalist and ''romantic'' phases of yank cultural lifestyles, and into the fashionable and modern sessions, Anthony Kubiak reveals an the USA no longer often came across via conventional or materialist methods to background. He deploys the psychoanalytic conception of Jacques Lacan, the cultural conception of SlavojZizek, and the functionality concept of Herbert Blau in an exceptional reappraisal of dominant American id, tradition, and historical past. Anthony Kubiak is affiliate Professor of English, collage of South Florida. he's additionally writer of levels of Terror: Terrorism, Ideology, and Coercion as Theatre background .

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Additional info for Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of Cruelty

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He creates a true fiction, or what Jean Genet calls a "false spectacle born of a true illusion," through the form of the diary and uses it to translate his perceptions into "facts" that could be scrutinized over and over again. He utilizes, more than anything else, his memory of the day's events, and his memory turns those events into something like the fact of memory-identity. The diary thus represents the contents of memory, as well as what that memory could not contain. " And yet the memory that the diary represents also resists historicization, just as any personal memory resists histori- cization unless it is ratified by others who can verify what memory gives over.

In Finley, we return to the diaretic and Enthusiastic excesses of Puritan American origins, the endless replay of the ecstasies of social and political violence. In Parks we see the reiteration of the anxieties about authenticity and the theaters of the Real, the multiplica- tion of selves and their insubstantialities. In Kushner we confront the endless mutations of materialist desire and its bodies caught in the Mormon guise of Artaud's Plague. 32 Each approaches the "positive" gap in memory, the split that gives access to a political and cultural unconscious, and within it the site of trauma, but then falters in the face of the American blindness to its theaters.

It is, of course, unknowable if these men were as sinful as they say they were, or if they seemed or even acted so. To sug- gest that they "really" didn't want to be good and were just acting merely underscores my point-at one level at least the Puritan experi- ence seems to suggest that one cannot change the lineaments of will or desire to conform to ideology (indeed, at some level this is one of the central issues in the history of Western drama). The failure, finally, to construct that life through an unrealized theatrical ontology links Artaud and Puritanism.

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Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of Cruelty by Anthony James Kubiak

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