With Wilde's Salome (1893) as an exemplary text, this book examines the conditions under which speech «constructs» ecstatic experience. The author considers Wilde's text as a complex Symbolist «system» of relations between rhetorical devices and attitudes toward language. By identifying the components of the system, the book provides a theoretical model for understanding the power of language to «construct» specific emotional states. The dramatic nature of Wilde's play further indicates that, contrary to popular perception, ecstasy is not «beyond» language but in it. Rapture possesses a «voice», but this voice emanates from a communication system which is actually «outside» of the body which speaks it. Movement toward ecstasy is therefore not a release from system but a supreme manifestation of it.
|Publisher:||Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated|
|Series:||American University Studies Series: Series 26: Theatre Arts , #7|
About the Author
The Author: Karl Toepfer is Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at San Jose State University, where he is also Graduate Coordinator. He is the author of Theatre, Aristocracy, and Pornocracy (1990), and the forthcoming Ideology and Iconography of Cinematic Ecstasy, as well as articles in Theater Three, Performing Arts Journal, The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and Scandinavian Studies.