Memory of the Body: Essays on Theater and Death

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1992 Hardcover 810110199. Brand New; BRAND NEW.

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To see through the eyes of essayist and dramaturge Jan Kott is to gain in knowledge not just of the theater but also of human culture. Since his Shakespeare Our Contemporary appeared in English in 1964, Kott's work has altered—and strengthened—the way critics and the public approach the theater as a whole. The Memory of the Body highlights a number of dramatic personalities and personages: authors and directors Witkiewicz, Brecht, Kantor, Grotoswki, Ingmar Bergman, Wedekind; Tilly Newes on the stage in turn-of-the-century Vienna; the all-too-mortal, two-thirds divine Gilgamesh; and a shaman in rural Korea. In a style flecked with passion, poignancy, and wit, Kott moves beyond a mere discussion of theater to speak of eroticism, painting, love, and death.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Kott, an emigre professor and Shakespeare scholar who came to the United States from Poland in 1966, regards the subjects of his essays from an atypical perspective of an outsider but also of an intellectual who carefully perceives and addresses the most significant questions. The first title is largely anecdotal and the second a scholarly treatment of Shakespeare with an emphasis on gender studies. In this latter work, Kott cites specific productions of Shakespeare's plays that serve to illuminate the text, including a splendid discussion on the various manifestations of the ghost of Hamlet's father. The common thread running through both volumes is the linkage between life, death, sex, and theater. Recommended for libraries that collect drama, East European studies, gender studies, or Shakespeare.-- Janice Braun, Oakland, Cal.
From the Publisher
"Kott is a truly outstanding drama critic of a type which goes back to Dr. Johnson, Lessing, Coleridge, Hazlitt, or Edmund Wilson. . . . He has the gift of seeing connections between literature, philosophy, anthropology, political theory, and psychology which are only open to so widely read and so cultured a mind as his."

—Martin Esslin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810110199
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1992
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 153

Meet the Author

Jan Kott, formerly professor of literature at the University of Warsaw, left Poland for the United States in 1966. He has taught at Yale, the University of California at Berkeley, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, as well as overseas in Japan, at the Catholic University at Louvain in Belgium, and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1964 he received the Herder Award in Vienna, and in 1984 the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. His other books include The Theater of EssenceThe Bottom TranslationThe Eating of the Gods, and Four Decades of Polish Essays (editor), all published by Northwestern University Press.

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Table of Contents

The Dramaturge 3
A Lesson in Directing 8
Simulators 12
The Voice of Cassandra: On Stempowski 17
Lec and His Aphorisms 26
On Gombrowicz and Schulz 29
Kantor's Kaddish 43
Kantor, Memory, Memoire (1915-90) 49
Mrozek's Emigres 56
Grotowski, or The Limit 61
A Short Treatise on Eroticism 71
Aloe 76
A Short Treatise on Dying 78
The Sexual Triangle 85
In the Kitchen of a Shamaness 94
The Heart Attack 99
The Memory of the Body 113
Gilgamesh or Mortality 123
Index 151
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