Drama: Between Poetry and Performance / Edition 1

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An engaging book spanning the fields of drama, literary criticism, genre, and performance studies, Drama: Between Poetry and Performance teaches students how to read drama by exploring the threshold between text and performance.

  • Draws on examples from major playwrights including Shakespeare, Ibsen, Beckett, and Parks
  • Explores the critical terms and controversies that animate the performance and study of drama, such as the status of language, the function of character and plot, and uses of writing
  • Engages in a theoretical, disciplinary, and cultural repositioning of drama, by exploring and contesting its position at the threshold between text and performance
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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"So very, very few scholarly studies in the field have been useful in the classroom. In this context, Worthen's book is nothing short of god-sent."
Martin Puchner, Harvard University

"An impressive—indeed, brilliant—book, a powerful defence of dramatic textuality in its relationship to performance […] In addition to its deft negotiation of print practices and other early social technologies, it is refreshingly up-to-date in its awareness of the ways that digital technologies have transformed the delivery and reception of textual performance today."
Stanton B. Garner Jr, University of Tennessee

"Essential reading not only for all drama and theatre studies students from undergraduate level upwards, but for anyone involved in teaching them, researching in the field, or interested in the state of theatre history, theory and criticism today."
Robert Shaughnessy, University of Kent

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405153423
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/19/2010
  • Series: Wiley Desktop Editions Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

W. B. Worthen is Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre at Barnard College, Columbia University. He is the author of The Idea of the Actor (1984), Modern Drama and the Rhetoric of Theater (1992), Shakespeare and the Authority of Performance (1997), Shakespeare and the Force of Modern Performance (2003), and Print and the Poetics of Modern Drama (2006). He is also the editor of several volumes, including A Companion to Shakespeare and Performance (with Barbara Hodgdon, Wiley-Blackwell 2005), and the Wadsworth Anthology of Drama, 5th edition (2006).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface: Drama, Poetry, and Performance xi

Introduction: Between Poetry and Performance 1

i Shakespeare 3.0 2

ii Images of Writing/Metaphors of Performance 8

The score 8

The blueprint 12

Information/software 13

Dramatic tools, performance technologies 20

iii Agencies of Drama: Burke, Poetry, and Performance 22

Writing as agency: "Antony in Behalf of the Play" 29

1 From Poetry to Performance 35

i Dramatic Performance and its Discontents: The New Criticism 39

Drama, poetry, and "interpretation" 39

"An arrangement of words" 45

Acts of speech 50

Heresy, responsibility, and performance 56

ii Dramatic Writing and its Discontents: Performance Studies, Drama Studies 64

Antigone's bones 64

The "theater of acting" 69

Rethinking writing 77

2 Performing Writing: Hamlet 94

i Hamlet's Book 97

Playing the book 97

The law of writ 101

Speaking by the card 106

ii Corrupt Stuff; or, Doing Things with (Old) Words 112

The crux of performance 113

Enseamed beds 118

iii "OK, we can skip to the book": The Wooster Group Hamlet 123

Theatrofilm by Electronovision 127

(Re)playing Burton, performing Hamlet 130

3 Embodying Writing: Ibsen and Parks 139

i Can We Act What We Say?: Rosmersholm 142

Inscribing character 147

Acting the role 150

Confession, disclosure, detour 152

Doing (unspeakable) things with words 158

ii Footnoting Performance: The America Play and Venus 161

A wink to Mr. Lincolns pasteboard cutout 172

Diggidy-diggidy-diggidy-dawg 178

4 Writing Space: Beckett and Brecht 192

i Quad: Euclidean Dramaturgies 196

ii By Accepting This License 205

iii What Where: Brechtian Technologies 211

Notes 216

Works Cited 239

Further Reading 258

Index 261

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