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.Cruelty and Desirein the Modern TheaterCruelty and Desirein the Modern TheaterAntonin Artaud, Sarah Kane,and Samuel BeckettLaurens De VosFAIRLEIGH DICKINSON UNIVERSITY PRESSMadison • TeaneckPublished by Fairleigh Dickinson University PressCo-published with The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706www.rlpgbooks.comEstover Road, Plymouth PL6 7PY, United KingdomCopyright © 2011 by Laurens De VosAll rights reserved.No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote passages in a review.British Library Cataloguing in Publication Information AvailableLibrary of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataLibrary of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data on file underLC#2010014197ISBN: 978-1-61147-044-4 (cl.: alk.paper)eISBN: 978-1-61147-045-1The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992.Printed in the United States of AmericaIn memory of my mother,Anita GhysselsIn the still of the night, in the world’s ancient lightWhere wisdom grows up in strifeMy bewildering brain, toils in vainThrough the darkness on the pathways of life—Bob DylanAcknowledgmentsONE OF THE MOST AGREEABLE THINGS IN WRITING A BOOK ARE THE acknowledgments, not so much in saying thanks as in the enjoyable awareness of approaching the end after a seemingly never-ending journey.My first steps into academia were meticulously supervised by Jürgen Pieters, who not only supported the idea that would lead to this book, but closely followed the often slow process of developing and analyzing my hypotheses, and put me back on track when I was lost in my own conundrums, dreams, or laziness.I am also grateful to Ilka Saal, who made some very useful suggestions that have contributed to the coherence of this book.Jozef De Vos ploughed his way through every single chapter at an early stage.Special thanks are also due to Manchester University Press and Louis Armand and Litteraria Pragensia for their kind permission to copy from previously published articles.Other people who, knowingly or unknowingly, had a share in the development of this book are Marc De Kesel, Graham Saunders, Paul Verhaeghe, Freddy Decreus, Johan Callens, Wilma Siccama, Steven Connor, and drive, that had a share in everything.A Note on TranslationsIN ORDER TO AVOID AN AMALGAM OF LANGUAGES, I CHOSE TO RENDER ALL quotes in English.Due to flawed translations or to the loss of signification which the English translation brought along, this option posed some minor problems sometimes, which I resolved by either citing the French original in a note or by providing my own translation.Overall, translations referring to non-English texts are mine, unless otherwise indicated.For Lacan, I mostly made use of the existing translations if available.To quote from Artaud’s Heliogabalus and The Monk, I relied on the translations published by Creation Books.For the other texts by Artaud, I quoted from either Susan Sontag’s Selected Writings or the Collected Works published by John Calder.Below is a short list of the abbreviations used.As for Freud, all quotes are taken from the Standard Edition translated by James Strachey.References are made to the volume.In the case studies, I refer to the plays by only mentioning the page.For Kane and Beckett, I made use of respectively the Complete Plays and The Complete Dramatic Works.OC Oeuures ComplètesSW Selected WritingsCW Collected WorksTU The UnnamableCruelty and Desirein the Modern TheaterIntroductionBLASTED WAS A SLAP IN THE FACE, BACK IN 1995, WHEN SARAH KANE debuted with this play, no good words were wasted on “this disgusting feast of filth” (Tinker 1995).It was considered a juvenile, not to say infantile, attempt to shock by means of sexually graphic and violent scenes, which left its audience with more questions than answers.From the very start of her career as a playwright, Kane had hard-boiled opponents and—though much fewer—fervent supporters.The former accused her of being a “rape-play girl” aiming at cheap success by selling sex and violence on the stage.Most of them were disgusted by Blasted’s scenes depicting eye-gouging, incest, rape, and cannibalism, saying what Kane needed was not so much a theater reviewer but a psychiatrist.Kane was catapulted to fame, but whereas she reached newspaper headlines and television programs such as Newsnight and The World At One, she was immediately stigmatized as the “rape play girl.” Critics were almost unanimously scathing about the play.1Those who defended her—though no less disgusted—thought there was something in Kane’s plays that placed her in a historical line of major theater reformers.Was not all the bloodspilling, after all, a reference to one of the greatest innovators of the Western theater, Antonin Artaud? Surely her plays were a testimony to a sincere inspirational inheritance of the French theater maker.Several critics have since referred to the parallels between Artaud’ s Theater of Cruelty and Blasted, the then most talked-about British play since Edward Bond’s Saved three decades earlier.Connections were initially made because of the extreme violence Blasted depicted.One cannot deny that cruelty is abundantly present in Kane’s plays—at least from Blasted to Cleansed [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]