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Performance Philosophy

The Theatre of Death – The Uncanny in Mimesis

Tadeusz Kantor, Aby Warburg, and an Iconology of the Actor

Authors: Twitchin, Mischa

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  • ISBN 978-1-137-47872-6
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About this book

This book is concerned with such questions as the following: What is the life of the past in the present? How might “the theatre of death” and “the uncanny in mimesis” allow us to conceive of the afterlife of a supposedly ephemeral art practice? How might a theatrical iconology engage with such fundamental social relations as those between the living and the dead? 

Distinct from the dominant expectation that actors should appear life-like onstage, why is it that some theatre artists – from Craig to Castellucci – have conceived of the actor in the image of the dead? Furthermore, how might an iconology of the actor allow us to imagine the afterlife of an apparently ephemeral art practice? This book explores such questions through the implications of the twofold analogy proposed in its very title: as theatre is to the uncanny, so death is to mimesis; and as theatre is to mimesis, so death is to the uncanny.

Walter Benjamin once observed that: “The point at issue in the theatre today can be more accurately defined in relation to the stage than to the play. It concerns the filling-in of the orchestra pit. The abyss which separates the actors from the audience like the dead from the living…” If the relation between the living and the dead can be thought of in terms of an analogy with ancient theatre, how might avant-garde theatre be thought of in terms of this same relation “today”?

About the authors

Mischa Twitchin is a British Academy Post-doctoral Fellow at the Drama Department, Queen Mary, University of London, UK. Besides his academic work, he is a founder-member of the performance collective Shunt.

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  • Introduction: Three Instances of Reading the Past in the Present

    Twitchin, Mischa

    Pages 1-13

  • Chapter 1 Thinking of the Dead Through a Concept of Theatre (The Dead Class)

    Twitchin, Mischa

    Pages 17-81

  • Chapter 2 Precedents (Craig and Artaud, Maeterlinck and Witkiewicz)

    Twitchin, Mischa

    Pages 85-115

  • Chapter 3 Survivals and the Uncanny

    Twitchin, Mischa

    Pages 117-146

  • Chapter 4 Superstition and an Iconology

    Twitchin, Mischa

    Pages 147-171

Buy this book

eBook $84.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-47872-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-47871-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Theatre of Death – The Uncanny in Mimesis
Book Subtitle
Tadeusz Kantor, Aby Warburg, and an Iconology of the Actor
Authors
Series Title
Performance Philosophy
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-47872-6
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-47872-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-47871-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 336
Number of Illustrations and Tables
1 b/w illustrations
Topics