Beyond the veil
Sensing death in symbolist theatre
in Death in modern theatre
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

manchesterhive requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals - to see content that you/your institution should have access to, please log in through your library system or with your personal username and password.

If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/extracts and download selected front and end matter. 

Institutions can purchase access to individual titles; please contact for pricing options.


If you have an access token for this content, you can redeem this via the link below:

Redeem token

This chapter explores the role death played in the cultural imaginary of the fin de siècle, when spiritualism and other death-related pursuits were in vogue, particularly in bohemian Paris. Spiritualists claimed to be able to contact the dead, thus proving that death did not mean the end of life but simply marked a transformation from a corporeal to a non-corporeal state of being. This chapter connects spiritualism to representations of death in symbolist drama and theatre, outlining how symbolist dramaturgy and mise-en-scène made it possible to ‘admit’ death as paradoxical presence in theatre – as something that could be sensed but not readily defined or contained. Short plays discussed include Rachilde’s Madame La Mort (1891), Charles van Lerberghe’s The Night-Comers (1889), Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Intruder (1890) and Leonid Andreyev’s Requiem (1916). The chapter ends with an analysis of W.B. Yeats’s symbolist-inspired play Purgatory (1938).

Death in modern theatre

Stages of mortality


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 97 34 1
Full Text Views 13 4 0
PDF Downloads 4 3 0