From Mimesis to Interculturalism

Overview

From Mimesis to Interculturalism offers a series of critical readings of key texts in the history of European and American theatrical and performance theory. It answers the need for a detailed critique of theatrical theory from its origins in Greek antiquity to the present day, asking the reader to re-examine the basis of what have become assumptions, but are all too often perceived as truths. The book complements existing studies of the major modern theorists by giving close attention to the European tradition ...

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Overview

From Mimesis to Interculturalism offers a series of critical readings of key texts in the history of European and American theatrical and performance theory. It answers the need for a detailed critique of theatrical theory from its origins in Greek antiquity to the present day, asking the reader to re-examine the basis of what have become assumptions, but are all too often perceived as truths. The book complements existing studies of the major modern theorists by giving close attention to the European tradition before Stanislavski, and to the theorists who have gained prominence after Grotowski. The use of language and the creation of meaning is the primary concern of all the readings.
 
Part One considers classical and classicizing theorists from Greece and the European enlightenment, and Part Two twentieth-century theorists after Grotowski; a concluding Part Three indicates how the approach might be applied to exemplary theorists from the modern canon, and to certain contemporary theoretical proposals.

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Editorial Reviews

Studies in Theatre and Performance
“Refreshingly scholarly—and entirely accessible—discussion of a range of writers and ideas from Plato to interculturalism which impresses by its research and stimulates and educates the reader.” –Studies in Theatre and Performance, Vol 20, no 2 (June 2000)
Speech and Drama
“It’s good to see a book like this challenging conventional notions and categories of postmodernism head-on.” –Speech and Drama, Vol. 50, No. 2, Autumn 2001
Theatre Research International
“This is a hard book to read and one that makes no pretence of being anything else. It does not offer itself as a sourcebook of readings in theatrical theorists. Rather, it offers a critique of the rhetorical devices employed by Plato and Aristotle, Rousseau and Diderot, Peter Brook, Victor Turner, Richard Schechner, and concludes with “Some observations on Stanislavski and Brecht” and a short essay on “The Significance of Theory” . . . The fact that Ley is equally at home in Ancient Greek, eighteenth-century French and the discourses of modern American theatre anthropology, makes it possible for him to give readings of his chosen texts which are consistently well-informed, densely structured and highly intelligent . . . a treasury of detailed discourse analysis.” –Theatre Research International, Vol. 27:1, 2002
Studies in Theatre and Performance
Refreshingly scholarly—and entirely accessible—discussion of a range of writers and ideas from Plato to interculturalism which impresses by its research and stimulates and educates the reader.
David Bradby
The fact that Ley is equally at home in Ancient Greek,eighteenth-century French and the discourses of modern American theatre anthropology,makes it possible for him to give readings of his chosen texts which are consistently well-informed,densely structured and highly intelligent.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Graham Ley is professor emeritus of drama and theory at the University of Exeter.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Part One: Before . . .
1. The Idea of Sight: Plato and Aristotle
1.1 Plato
    1.1.1 Plato and the narration of dialogue
    1.1.2 Phaedo and the prison-house of the body
    1.1.3 Republic (a): narration and imitation in the education of ‘guardians’
    1.1.4 Excursus on the meaning of mimesis and cognate terms
    1.1.5 Republic (b): mimesis and the corrupting pleasure of sympathy
1.2 Aristotle
    1.2.1 Platonic invitation and the Aristotelian treatise
    1.2.2 Poetics (a): an anatomy of method
    1.2.3 Poetics (b): towards a theory of the emotions
1.3 Between Academy and Lyceum: the idea of sight
2. Performances of the Mind: Rousseau and Diderot
2.1 Rousseau
    2.1.1 The degenerative arts in Rousseau’s academic Discourses
    2.1.2 The Letter to d’Alembert
2.2 Diderot
    2.2.1 The dissatisfactions of Dorval: the Conversations on The Natural Son
    2.2.2 The question of a third genre in the third Conversation
    2.2.3 The Discourse on Dramatic Poetry
    2.2.4 The Paradox on the Actor
Part Two: . . . and After
3. Brook and the Rhetoric of Theory
3.1 Metaphor and dismissal in The Empty Space
3.2 The genesis of theory: the ‘Theatre of Cruelty’ season in 1964
3.3 Intertextuality: The Empty Space and Orghast at Persepolis
3.4 Theoretical ‘failure’ and Conference of the Birds
3.5 A metaphoric formula
3.6 Mystery, but no secrets
4. Theatre Anthropology
4.1 Victor Turner
    4.1.1 Symbolism and social process: ritual theory and the drama analogy
    4.1.2 Further components of a performance theory: ‘liminality’, ‘communitas’ and the ‘social drama’
    4.1.3 From ‘liminal’ to ‘liminoid’
    4.1.4 Some case studies from an anthropology of performance
4.2 Richard Schechner
    4.2.1 The eye of theory in Public Domain and Environmental Theater
    4.2.2 The discursive figures of performance theory
    4.2.3 Cultures and theories transported and transformed
4.3 Eugenio Barba
    4.3.1 Barba and Grotowski: theatre in the laboratory
    4.3.2 Isolation and the “social cell”: the Third Theatre
    4.3.3 Going beyond technique: the discourse of a theatre anthropology
    4.3.4 Revising the anatomy of theory: later essays
Part Three
5. Some Observations on Stanislavski and Brecht
5.1 Stanislavski
5.2 Brecht
6. The Significance of Theory
6.1 Disposing of interculturalism: Bharucha, Schechner and Pavis
6.2 A modest look at the discourse of semiology and semiotics: Pavis and de Marinis
6.3 The significance of theory

Notes and References
Bibliography
Index

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