Incapacity: Wittgenstein, Anxiety, and Performance Behavior

Incapacity: Wittgenstein, Anxiety, and Performance Behavior

by Spencer Golub


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In this highly original study of the nature of performance, Spencer Golub uses the insights of Ludwig Wittgenstein into the way language works to analyze the relationship between the linguistic and the visual in the work of a broad range of dramatists, novelists, and filmmakers, among them Richard Foreman, Mac Wellman, Peter Handke, David Mamet, and Alfred Hitchcock. Like Wittgenstein, these artists are concerned with the limits of language’s representational capacity. For Golub, it is these limits that give Wittgenstein’s thought a further, very personal significance—its therapeutic quality with respect to the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from which he suffers.

Underlying what Golub calls “performance behavior” is Wittgenstein’s notion of “pain behavior”—that which gives public expression to private experience. Golub charts new directions for exploring the relationship between theater and philosophy, and even for scholarly criticism itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810129924
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 08/08/2014
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

SPENCER GOLUB, a professor of theater arts and performance studies, Slavic languages, and comparative literature at Brown University, is the author of Infinity (Stage) (1999), The Recurrence of Fate: Theatre and Memory in Twentieth-Century Russia (1994), and Evreinov: The Theatre of Paradox and Transformation (1984).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

List of Abbreviations of Works by Wittgenstein xiii

Introduction: Thoughts Thinking Themselves 3

Chapter 1 Tractatus Illogico-Philosophicus 15

Chapter 2 Wittgenstein's Anatomy 35

Chapter 3 Catastrophists 59

Chapter 4 Doors of Misperception 89

Chapter 5 Rules of the Game

Chapter 6 Non-Sleeper Agents 147

Chapter 7 Masterminds 179

Chapter 8 The Idiot's Anxiety at the Object's Disappearance 207

Chapter 9 Homeless 233

Notes 249

Index 285

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