By Anthony James Kubiak
From the earliest Puritan screens of piety and rectitude to the present-day epidemic of staged tuition massacres, the heritage of the USA has been characterised via a twin impulse: to solid public occasion and personality as excessive drama, and to brush off theater and theatricalization as un-American, even evil. This booklet rethinks American heritage as theater, and theater because the ethos and substance of yankee lifestyles, satirically repudiated at each flip by means of the tradition it produces. starting with the writings of John Winthrop and others, during the Federalist and ''romantic'' phases of yank cultural lifestyles, and into the trendy and modern sessions, Anthony Kubiak unearths an the USA no longer frequently chanced on by means of conventional or materialist methods to heritage. He deploys the psychoanalytic concept of Jacques Lacan, the cultural idea of SlavojZizek, and the functionality thought of Herbert Blau in an unprecedented reappraisal of dominant American identification, tradition, and background. Anthony Kubiak is affiliate Professor of English, collage of South Florida. he's additionally writer of phases of Terror: Terrorism, Ideology, and Coercion as Theatre background .
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Additional info for Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of Cruelty
This empty signifier of the self's paradoxical disappearance and gravity, its zero-mass and infinite density, appears in the absent/present figure of the murdered child in modern Ameri- can drama-a bastard child, the infans of a silenced cogito, either Sym- bolic in O'Neill's Desire under the Elms, Imaginary in Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or rottenly Real in Sam Shepard's Buried Child. And in the end we rest at this present and final recursion; the perfor- mance scenarios of Karen Finley, and the plays of Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks, lead us back through the very themes of this Ameri- can jeremiad.
It is a dialectical formulation, in other words, and an infinite regression Introduction/Second Manifesto 21 of the theatrical that not only enmeshes the culture/subject, but the act of critique itself. The permeation of political culture by theater-a far more important hegemonic function than theater's permeation by the political-influences all aspects of cultural practice. Theater becomes, as I have suggested elsewhere, the equivalent of Derridean writing shifted to the registers of enunciation and gaze, articulating (disjoint- ing) the real at each level of discourse.
When the doctor advises him that marriage might offer physical comfort, the matter is more or less settled in Wigglesworth's mind. The idea that someone might someday read his words and be rightly appalled at such an egomaniacal after- thought seems far from his mind. " (86)18 The tantalizing, even seductive timbre of the phrasing raises more questions than it answers. ) witness such an intimate occur- rence? This is the reason, one might at first suppose, for the use of Latin, but while such phrasing might elude the prying eyes of his fiancee or other uneducated women or men, it would certainly not fool his audi- ence of colleagues or students, who were required to converse in Latin while at Harvard College.