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Rethinking verbatim dramaturgies

Responding to the resurgence of verbatim theatre that emerged in Britain, Australia, the United States and other parts of the world in the early 1990s, this book offers one of the first sustained, critical engagements with contemporary verbatim, documentary and testimonial dramaturgies. Offering a new reading of the history of the documentary and verbatim theatre form, the book relocates verbatim and testimonial theatre away from discourses of the real and representations of reality and instead argues that these dramaturgical approaches are better understood as engagements with forms of truth-telling and witnessing. Examining a range of verbatim and testimonial plays from different parts of the world, the book develops new ways of understanding the performance of testimony and considers how dramaturgical theatre can bear witness to real events and individual and communal injustice through the re-enactment of personal testimony. Through its interrogation of different dramaturgical engagements with acts of witnessing, the book identifies certain forms of testimonial theatre that move beyond psychoanalytical accounts of trauma and reimagine testimony and witnessing as part of a decolonised project that looks beyond event-based trauma, addressing instead the experience of suffering wrought by racism and other forms of social injustice.

Ian Cornelius

A missing term Parrhēsia means outspokenness, frankness or boldness – literally, speech that says all there is to say, holding nothing back (< πᾶς ‘all, whole’ + ῥῆσις ‘speech’). A parrhēsiastēs is a person who gives voice to such speech. First recorded from fifth-century BCE Athens

in Medieval literary voices
Performing the ethico-political imperatives of witnessing
Amanda Stuart Fisher

used by minoritarian communities to highlight and expose the injustices and violence these communities are subjected to by state agencies, such as the police. Smith’s enactment of Niya is carefully and skilfully undertaken, producing a compelling performance of an angry young woman who is determined to call out the injustice she observes. In her enactment, Smith positions Niya not only as a witness to this event, but as someone performing what Michel Foucault describes as parrhesia; a mode of truth telling in which the parrhesiastes, the speaker, risks everything to

in Performing the testimonial
Joanne Paul

themselves: they ought to speak truth to power but doing so in non-ideal circumstances could lead to that counsel being ignored, or, worse, to their imprisonment or death. The key word often used to describe such dangerous counsel was parrhesia, variously understood as ‘plain speaking’ or ‘liberty of speech’. No Tudor writer had more to say about counsel and frank speech than Thomas Elyot, whose thought on the topic was shaped by the increasingly restricted space for counsel-giving in England in the 1530s.3 Elyot, especially in his writings of 1533, tackled both the

in Freedom of speech, 1500–1850
From ‘effet de retour’ to unnaturalness
Pascale Drouet

Abuses of power that take the form of banishment can be interpreted as a direct consequence of parrhesia , insofar as parrhesia has been experienced by the interlocutor as speech abuse. Abusive banishment may thus be taken as an ‘ effet de retour ’ of abusive speech. 1 Naturally, this abuse is not presented as such, as ‘wrong or improper use’, 2 but is openly justified by (mis

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
Banishment, abuse of power and strategies of resistance

This book analyses three Shakespearean plays that mainly deal with abusive forms of banishment: King Richard II, Coriolanus and King Lear. These plays present with particular clarity the mechanism of the banishment proclamation and its consequences, that is, the dynamic of exclusion and its repercussions. Those repercussions may entail breaking the ban to come back illegally and seek revenge; devising strategies of deviation, such as disguise and change of identity; or resorting to mental subterfuges as a means of refuge. They may also lead to entropy – exhaustion, letting go or heartbreak. Each in its own way, they invite us to reflect upon the complex articulation between banishment and abuse of power, upon the strategies of resistance and displacement employed to shun or endure the painful experience of ‘deterritorialisation’; they put into play the dialectics of allegiance and disobedience, of fearlessly speaking and silencing, of endurance and exhaustion; they question both the legitimacy of power and the limits of human resistance. This study draws on French scholars in Shakespearean studies, and also on contemporary French historians, theorists, anthropologists, psychoanalysts, essayists and philosophers, who can help us read Shakespeare’s plays in our time. It thus takes into account some of the works of Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Gaston Bachelard, Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant, Boris Cyrulnik and Emmanuel Housset. The hope is that their respective intellectual approaches will shed specific kinds of light on Shakespeare’s plays and initiate a fruitful dialogue with Anglo-Saxon criticism.

Rethinking reception in Victorian literary culture

Dante Beyond Influence provides the first systematic inquiry into the formation of the British critical and scholarly discourse on Dante in the late nineteenth century (1865–1921). Overcoming the primacy of literary influence and intertextuality, it instead historicises and conceptualises the hermeneutic turn in British reception history as the product of major transformations in Victorian intellectual, social and publishing history.

The volume unpacks the phenomenology of Victorian dantismo through the analysis of five case studies and the material examination of a newly discovered body of manuscript and print sources. Extending over a sixty-year long period, the book retraces the sophistication of the Victorian modes of readerly and writerly engagement with Dantean textuality. It charts its outward expression as a public criticism circulating in prominent nineteenth-century periodicals and elucidates its wider popularisation (and commodification) through Victorian mass-publishing. It ultimately brings forth the mechanism that led to the specialisation of the scholarly discourse and the academisation of Dante studies in traditional and extramural universities. Drawing on the new disciplines of book history and history of reading, the author provides unprecedented insight into the private intellectual life and public work of Christina Rossetti, Matthew Arnold, William E. Gladstone, and introduces a significant cohort of Dante critics, scholars and learned societies hitherto passed unnoticed.

As it recaptures a long-neglected moment in Dante’s reception history, this path-breaking book illuminates the wider socio-cultural and economic impact that the Victorian hermeneutic turn had in advancing women’s access to literary and scholarly professions, educational reform and discipline formation.

David Womersley

to free speech or parrhesia could be exhilarating and inspiring. But they tended also to be, on inspection, scrupulously qualified. Only some people might speak freely, and they might do so on only a limited range of topics, at carefully-defined times, in specified places and to selected audiences. For example, consider the phrasing of statements relating to free speech (parrhesia) in three plays by Euripides.5 The first is spoken by Phaedra, in Hippolytus: I want my two sons to go back and live in glorious Athens, hold their heads high there, and speak their minds

in Freedom of speech, 1500–1850
Peter Lake

to counsel the prince. Here was the classic locus, perhaps the only locus outside the Council chamber or the court, in which the subject could exercise parrhesia, the frank or free speech which all good counsellors owed to their princes. Again, this was public business; quintessentially concerned with the public, that is with the common good, and, in certain aspects, justified by the claim that what was being presented here for royal consideration represented the grievances of the subject. What the prince was learning about in these exchanges was the truth about

in Freedom of speech, 1500–1850
Abstract only
Conversation, friendship and democratic possibilities
Ruth Sheldon

read? From 1918 …’ I paused before beginning; I was accustomed to remaining silent at public meetings in this fieldwork and my own voice sounded alien to me. Yet now, when in contrast to my guarded exchange with Justin (discussed in Chapter 2) I confessed myself unable to pronounce the Hebrew words, Sahir and Simone again responded in unison. In this way, their shared knowledge of this language undermined their ostensibly opposed positions. Ordinary ethics 153 Parrhesia: speaking frankly and truthfully We moved rapidly through the events of the 1930s, with Sahir

in Tragic encounters and ordinary ethics