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Words, Space, and the Audience

The Theatrical Tension between Empiricism and Rationalism

Authors: Bennett, M.

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  • ISBN 978-1-137-05259-9
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Hardcover $100.00
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  • ISBN 978-0-230-11680-1
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $29.99
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  • ISBN 978-1-349-29740-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

In this unique study, Michael Y. Bennett re-reads four influential modern plays alongside their contemporary debates between rationalism and empiricism to show how these monumental achievements were thoroughly a product of their time, but also universal in their epistemological quest to understand the world through a rational and/or empirical model. Bennett contends that these plays directly engage in their contemporary epistemological debates rather than through the lens of a specific philosophy. Besides producing new, insightful readings of heavily-studied plays, the interdisciplinary (historical, philosophical, dramatic, theatrical, and literary) frame Bennett constructs allows him to investigate one of the most fundamental questions of the theatre - how does meaning get made? Bennett suggests that the key to unlocking theatrical meaning is exploring the tension between empirical and rational modes of understanding. The book concludes with an interview with performance artist Coco Fusco.

About the authors

Michael Y. Bennett is Associate Professor of English and affiliated faculty in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, USA, where he teaches courses on modern drama. He is the author of: Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd (2011/2013); Words, Space, and the Audience (2012); Narrating the Past through Theatre (2012). He is the editor of Refiguring Oscar Wilde s Salome (2011) and the co-editor of Eugene O'Neill's One-Act Plays (2012). He is also Editor of The Edward Albee Review.

Reviews

'Through thoughtfully researched and engagingly argued case-studies, Bennett accomplishes two overlapping aims: to offer new readings of these canonical works and, more significantly, to develop a heuristic for considering the key question from reception theory [i.e., 'how does meaning get made in the theatre?'] as it relates to modern dramatic texts . . . In all, these chapters were an exemplum of new historicism in the ways they discussed the interplay and interdependence of philosophy, history, politics, and drama . . . The reason that Bennett's argument proves so effective is that he carefully traces the tensions between empiricism and rationalism . . . Because of this, Bennett's argument has far-reaching implications for considering other dramatic texts and for theatrical performance . . . Words, Space, and the Audience is a welcome addition to the field of reception theory.' - Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry

"Complex notions of individual subjectivity are the subject of Michael Y. Bennett's Words, Space, and the Audience: The Theatrical Tension between Empiricism and Rationalism, which includes a chapter on Wilde's Salome and The Importance of Being Earnest . . . Bennett situates Wilde's work within Victorian debates over Hegelian idealism and British materialism, demonstrating how the two plays explore ontology and the notion of the self." - The Year's Work in English Studies

"Michael Y. Bennett's Words, Space, and the Audience provokes investigation into what will hopefully become more complex cross-fertilization between histories of philosophy and drama . . . this book provides substantive insight into histories of plays and playwrights . . . Overall, Bennett dares to ask difficult questions about the relationships between histories of thought and drama, and shows there is still much answering to be done." - Theatre Survey

"Bennett's work proves to be a valuable contribution for charting the overlap between philosophy and theatre, an overlap that could prove elucidating to scholars of dramatic literature and reception theorists alike." Theatre History Studies


Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • Introduction: Words, Space, and the Audience

    Bennett, Michael Y.

    Pages 1-26

  • Victorian Ideals: Wilde Performances in the Importance of Being Earnest and Salome

    Bennett, Michael Y.

    Pages 27-56

  • After the Great War: Contextualizing the Self in Italy and Six Characters in Search of an Author

    Bennett, Michael Y.

    Pages 57-80

  • 1952 Paris: Waiting for Godot and the Great Quarrel

    Bennett, Michael Y.

    Pages 81-101

  • Cold War Tactics: Fear in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    Bennett, Michael Y.

    Pages 103-123

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-05259-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $100.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-230-11680-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $29.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-349-29740-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Words, Space, and the Audience
Book Subtitle
The Theatrical Tension between Empiricism and Rationalism
Authors
Copyright
2012
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
Michael Y. Bennett
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-05259-9
DOI
10.1057/9781137052599
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-230-11680-1
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-29740-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
X, 179
Topics