In this course we will consider the African American essay as a form in its own right, one that rewards close formal analysis. We will consider the matter of incompletion in two respects -- the essay as it engages the topic of the incomplete project of black freedom, and the essay as ongoing experiment in form—with a goal of puzzling out how the two are related. Additional Readings will be collected in a Reader available at Copy Central on Bancroft and on bcourses. This course will follow the traces of this explosion as well as contextualize the America that was being born.
It will include films, popular music, Life Magazine, advertising culture and television as well as novels, poetry and discussions of visual images. English B Section: 1 Instructor: No instructor assigned yet. As we shall see, the formal features and thematic representations of these novels have been influenced to a large degree by a broad range of experiences: living in the borderlands of nationality, language, politics, and culture; growing up female in a male-centered environment; fighting racism; engaging in class struggle; encountering various forms of organized state repression; migration and immigration; getting involved in political movements; sometimes becoming complicit with the forces of domination; and expressing these experiences in art and literature.
Because this is a reading intensive course, we will spend considerable time in class discussing the novels and doing collective close readings of selected passages. We'll be attentive to the manner in which the act of storytelling in these novels contributes to the formation of complex and sometimes contradictory cultural identities.
Forster, E. This course will explore the intersection of theories of gender and sexuality and the postcolonial world. We will consider how gender and nation are shaped and represented in literature and film. Why are nations routinely imagined as women, and imperial dominion expressed in terms of sexual conquest? Western academic models of gender and sexuality provide one set of frameworks by which to discuss desires, identities, and affects—in this class we will ask how well they travel to a postcolonial context.
How do theories, practices, and identity categories translate? What do they elide? We will suggest alternative frameworks for describing sexuality around the world and for exploring non-Western literary representations of non-normative gender identities and sexualities. Readings and films may include work by Joseph Conrad, E. Time: MW Location: Barrows. Students will work on individual projects and will also be asked to collaborate on group performances of creative work.
Projects incorporating material from non-written sources graphic art, for example will be encouraged; projects incorporating material from unpublished sources folklore, family stories, etc. This class will be conducted as a writing workshop. We will discuss the stories in the assigned anthology and writing by students in the class. Assignments will include three short writing exercises, two new short stories, and critiques of classmates' work. If you are submitting an excerpt from a longer story or novel, indicate this on the first page. A fiction workshop in which students will be expected to turn in material approximately every third week, to be edited and discussed in class.
Emphasis will be upon editing and revising. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit double-spaced pages of your fiction, by clicking on the link below; fill out the application you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or. Our emphasis will be on recent possibilities, with an eye and ear to renovating traditions. We will also read a number of poems by graduates of my B sections who have gone on to publish books and win prizes. If the past is any guarantee, the course will be fun and will make you a better poet. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5 of your poems, by clicking on the link below; fill out the application you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or.
Physical or digital copies of several other books will be provided. At a pivotal moment in the development of her practice, the experimental composer Maryanne Amacher is said to have conducted a notebook-based self-analysis that revolutionized her relationship to composition. The semester will culminate in some form of public presentation or presentations — through live readings or talks, print or digital publication, or other media — of our ongoing investigations. Students interested in translation and who work across language, genre, and media are encouraged to apply.
Time: MW Location: Wheeler. Much of American literature has had to do with a sense of motion. Note the journeys, e. The point of this course is multiple and full of inquiry. What things are we heir to? What are our responsibilities and blindnesses? The point in this—and any writing—is to write consciously and to be mindful of the political import of our writing.
A third field is the defining of the relation between travel and place and imagination. What are the elements of the sentimental here and what assumptions? Writing assignments. Field trips. Butler, J. Are genre, meter, and grammar mere forms of constraint? Or are we free only when released by formal constraint from instrumental communication? Do political and psychic repression merely inhibit free speech, or is our idea l of free speech an effect of these repressions? And what do physical constraints on speech, from aphasia to stuttering, have to tell us of the relation of literary form to speech freedom?
Does the global hegemony of English threaten a speech freedom that ought to be understood as dependent upon a polyglot diversity? Finally, to what extent is free speech a diminished form of freedom itself? We will end by considering the current situation of free speech in the U. Barron, W. Weinberg, eds. Lacy, Geoffrey Ashe, and Debra N. This course will focus on medievalism, i. The point of the course is not to separate historical facts about the Middle Ages from literary fictions, but rather to trace the ways in which the imagined medieval past and the wide and often contradictory range of ideas associated with it middleness, disruption, origin, nostalgia, primitivism, chivalry, absolutism, etc.
We will ask what each society's medievalism says about the society itself, and trace the ways that ideas about the Middle Ages have been used to promote or critique particular values.
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The course will center on English literature and one of its most persistent "medieval" subjects, the "Matter of Britain," tales of Arthur and his knights. We will explore several historical moments and places in which Arthurian medievalisms have flourished, using literary work as a lens into the cultures' complex engagement with their pasts. The goals of the course will be to gain a broad familiarity with the themes and history of the Arthurian tradition and at the same time to understand the perdurance of that tradition, both the reasons why the Arthurian world and its medievalism remain so useful a setting and the key changes in the conceptualization of that world over time.
Our main objects of study will be works of British and American literature, but we will frequently supplement them with Arthuriana from other media and cultures. Oscar Wilde's jokes, and his pathos, can seem out of place in Victorian literature: they leap off the dusty page and into a present moment where their author seems to fit more happily. Without wishing to consign him back to that potentially hostile past, the task of this course is to understand Wilde's engagement with the histories and cultures around him.
A trenchant critic of Victorian sexual morality and hypocrisy, Wilde was also a voracious consumer of his contemporaries' writing and a prominent public intellectual. An historical understanding of Wilde will help shed new light on crucial questions such as: in the final decades of the British colonial occupation of Ireland, how did Wilde's Irishness enable and constrict his construction of a public indentity?
To what extent do his poems and plays generate new forms for the English language, or conversely how are his apparent innovations mere translations from French and German Romanticism? These and related questions will help us not only shed new light on the uniqueness of Wildean writing, but connect the author himself with the broader political questions from which he is usually thought exempt. We will explore techniques developed by scientists, theologians, and poets to represent other life forms. We will also track how new approaches to the physical investigation of animals and plants affected their traditional status as natural symbols of various vices and virtues, for example.
Finally, we will consider the special challenges and opportunities posed by representing creatures that continued to elude empirical study, such as angels. All readings will be made available on the course site; students may also purchase them in the form of a course reader. Foucault urges us to suspend judgment and listen to the voices of revolt, even as they seem entangled in a history of inescapable, recurrent violence. On occasion, we will take up theoretical writings on the subject of revolt, liberation, and violence by Kant, Benjamin, Arendt, Zizek, and—of course—Foucault.
Before the twentieth century, "queer" usually just meant strange or peculiar; it suggested an unusual way of living or being. The word gradually became a slur to describe someone sexually different, and we have now rehabilitated it as the polite way to designate a broad but fractious coalition of identities. Queer theory today is exploring the limits of this guiding concept, debating whether and how queerness must entail resistance to socio-political norms and if so, whether it must still entail same-sex desire at all.
Time: TTh P. Location: Wheeler. For this course there are no required texts to purchase; all assigned and most recommended readings will be photocopied, or available electronically, or both. Reading, discussing, and writing about British prose of the later 17th century. This course for juniors and seniors will help students develop writing skills through intensive focus on the demands of three very different modes: academic argument, popular and creative food writing essay, poetry, travel, memoir, manifesto , and grant-writing.
Reading and thinking together about good food, slow food, food memory, food access, sustainability, health, hunger, student food insecurity and food justice, we will alternate between 1 working on key skills for sophisticated academic writing, 2 writing creatively, meditatively, politically and playfully about food, and 3 collaborating on drafting an actual grant application in partnership with a local community organization.
This last will be at the heart of this service-learning course. Students in this class will hone argumentative and creative writing skills, learn the basics of the grant-writing process, gain valuable real-world writing experience, and explore ways of using writing as a tool for integrating action, intention and reflection. Plus we'll eat well and maybe cook together. Dante: Inferno ; Donne, J. Her bosom was wrapped in smooth thin bark; her slender arms were changed to branches and her hair to leaves; her feet but now so swift were anchored fast in numb stiff roots; her face and head became the crown of a green tree.
The Roman poet of mythic transformation and urbane seduction, of distant longing and alien exile, Ovid infused the Renaissance with gorgeous pagan forms of desire, loss, and strangeness. His influence on literary culture was made only the more thrilling, and more pervasive, by the distance of fifteen centuries and by the radically contrary values and beliefs of Christian religion. We'll read most of Ovid's major works in translation-- Metamorphoses , his epic book of changes; Amores , his erotic lyric poems; Heroides , his collection of letters from the lovelorn women of myth; and Tristia , the lamentations of his exile to the barbarian frontier of the Roman Empire.
We will trace how the greatest writers of sixteenth-century England engaged Ovid's strange pleasures and griefs in producing the richness and the strangeness of their own poetry and drama. This course has two goals: to explore visual culture and the role of visuality in renaissance England, and to develop research skills. Elizabeth I's long reign saw a remarkable flowering of the arts. Her unique position as a female monarch surrounded by male courtiers produced a dynamic in which all artistic production seemed to reflect back upon her, the powerful focus of men's desires and aspirations.
From the building of stately houses to the writing of poetry, a rhetoric of courtship and persuasion would underlie England's renaissance. Following on a long period of state-sponsored iconoclasm, the status of the visual arts and their relationship to verbal expression also had to be redefined. We will treat poetry, painting, and pageantry; rhetoric, architecture and urban development. We will also pay close attention to the applied and domestic arts--furnishings, clothing, embroidery. This course involves interdisciplinary, research-based learning.
The evaluation of your work will be based not on examinations but on a multi-part project, on which you will have extensive, structured guidance from the professor, the GSI, and the library staff. You will write an original interdisciplinary research paper using primary sources available online. In this course, we will investigate the strangely vital links between literature and music. What can the scientific study of mind tell us about literature? And what can literature tell us about the ways our minds and brains do—and do not—work?
Looking at literature, philosophy, and the sciences of mind from the past three hundred years, these are some of the questions this course will try to answer. Philosophical topics will include: the relation between literary form and empirical problems of mind, such as self-knowledge and other minds; a priori knowledge; language acquisition and use; reductionism, physicalism, and theories of mind-brain identity i.
English Section: 1 Instructor: Miller, D. But as anyone who has seen a Hitchcock film knows, the director primes us to be considerably more alert than this spoon-feeding requires. In addition to our instrumental attention, we find ourselves possessed of a surplus watchfulness that has no object or use. To watch a Hitchcock film is thus always to come under the spell of a hidden Hitchcock, and to want, somehow, to focus our surplus attention on this imaginary thing or being.
That esoteric dimension of his cinema will be the subject of this course. In contradistinction to the games that Hitchcock is known to play with his Pavlovianly trained mass audience, I postulate a game he would be playing with that absurdly, pointlessly watchful spectator who dwells within us all, but whom, as members of a mass audience, or as critics in loyal alignment with it, we mostly put on lockdown; and whom I call the Too -Close Viewer.
In this game, and for this viewer alone, Hitchcock would cultivate, alongside his manifest style with its hyperlegible images, a secret style that sows these images with radical duplicity. This class will be organized around three questions that have been of perennial concern to literary writers and philosophers: who are we? What can we know? How should we live? Along the way we will also think about the intersections between philosophy and literature, the unique constraints and possibilities of each genre, and what it means to read them together.
Final reading-list to be determined; may also include film. Bauby, J-D. This course will examine autobiography as a literary genre. What are the forms and techniques autobiographers use to tell their stories? The texts we are reading are all written by people with disabilities, so we will also discuss the impact that disability has on life-writing. Autobiographies written by people with disabilities offer readers a glimpse into lives at the margins of mainstream culture, and thus can make disability seem less alien and frightening.
Disability rights activists, however, have criticized these texts because they tend to reinforce the notion that disability is a personal tragedy that must be overcome through superhuman effort, rather than a set of cultural conditions that could be changed to accommodate a wide range of individuals with similar impairments. Are these texts agents for social change or merely another form of freak show? Both the story that it narrated the conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans and the particular form that the story took the genre of the epic would become foundational building blocks of the Western literary tradition.
This course will follow these two threads from antiquity to the Renaissance. At the same time, we will see what happens to the genre of epic over time, as historical circumstances change and cultural priorities shift. And will ask ourselves how the epic as a genre contributes to shaping the limitations and possibilities imagined by these texts. This course explores major works of Anglo-American fiction that link the value of the novel as a literary genre to the ethical, social or political good of encountering people different from oneself.
Students should be prepared to read widely. Class discussion will focus on the narrative techniques that each novelist develops in response to the value and difficulty of knowing and representing social others. Course requirements include two seven-page papers, a take-home final, and one class presentation. Time: Location: Wheeler. This class will explore the literature, film, and art of the s in America, with a particular focus on the complex interactions between various forms of modernism and the social movements whose politics, aesthetics, and cultural ambitions most powerfully challenged the conventions of everyday life in the period.
While the legacies and mythologies of these movements are especially strong here in the Bay Area, we will be just as concerned with the global contours of s culture as it registered in the United States, and with transformations in high art and cinema that reflected on the internal tensions and limits of radical politics. Please read the paragarph about English on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.
At what past moment did the future grow so dark? Formal liteary dystopia has been with us prominently since at least , with the arrival of Swift's Gulliver. But the tendency to critique the present by imagining a darkly extrapolated future surely extends back much further—and grew in prevalence and popularity until the twentieth became the veritable dystopic century. Today central components of dystopian satire—global climate destruction, nuclear annihilation, terrorist states—have become commonplaces of our politics. In such a world has dystopia become prophetic, or redundant?
In this seminar we will grapple with that question, and with the complex strategies of prophetic satire, as we explore the literature of dystopia present and past, plumbing increasingly murky visions of destruction to come. Authors whose work we will read include Margaret Atwood, J. Dick, P. Welles, and Yevgeny Zamyatin. Please read the paragraph about English on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course. Close readings of Henry James' notoriously difficult final novels.
This will be a very demanding class, but a rewarding one too, I hope. Two ten-page essays will be required, along with regular attendance and participation in class discussion. Kingston Noir.
- Good Little Thomas Hardy.
- Carrier CCN.
- The Making of the President 1972.
- Mimi and Toutou Go Forth: The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika.
- Abnormal: Lectures at the College de France, 1974-1975?
- Great thinkers A-Z;
- Search form.
Film and Television: Raoul Peck, dir. In this seminar we will explore recent issues in postcolonial studies by focusing on cities. Moving through a diverse set of texts and very different cities—London and Lagos, Kingston and Mumbai, New York and Johannesburg, New Orleans among them—we will wonder: What makes a city postcolonial? For that matter, what makes a text postcolonial?
Are there postcolonial ways to experience a city? What subjective experiences, and what narrative or aesthetic modes to describe them, emerge out of the urban postcolonial? In what sense might the United States be considered postcolonial? You'll write weekly response papers and work up to a final research project on a Bay Area city and text of your choice. Plese read the paragraph about English on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.
In this course, we will investigate the literary and cultural landscape of contemporary Britain. After several introductory sessions on the postwar period , we'll spend the bulk of our time working our way from the s to the present. You will be responsible for writing 2 essays: a page close reading and a page research paper. Jonson did not stop to consider the difficulties of comparing plays that derive from different eras, different cultures, and different conceptions of the theater. But our class will.
At the same time, we will explore how Renaissance dramatists both imitated their extraordinary precursors and strove to outdo them. This section of English satisfies the pre requirement for the English major. We might think of physical matter as being simply present, but the stuff of the world is and has been understood very differently in different times and cultures. This research seminar will explore a broad range of understandings of matter, from the Book of Genesis and early creation myths to recent documentaries on hoarders and self-help books on purging personal belongings.
We will consider some of the major approaches to interpreting matter: philosophical, anthropological, ecological, psychoanalytic and Marxist. Throughout the semester, we will bring these ideas to bear on literary representations of physical material, as we read closely works by a wide range of writers including Ovid, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickenson, W.
Kazuo, I. We will read romantic and modernist poetry that tries to capture the flowing rhythms of lived experience, and we will examine novelistic representations of artificial and unholy life--the undead and monstrous beings that test the very limits of life as a normative and scientific category. Moving into the contemporary era, we will investigate how the romantic interest in the ambiguity of life reemerges in recent debates around the politics and ethics of synthetic biology and biotechnological interventions into human and nonhuman bodies.
From drinking songs and poems of seduction to works of religious meditation and devotion, the lyric reflects a variety of subjects and concerns. This course serves as an extensive introduction to lyric poetry from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, from anonymous authors to Chaucer to Spenser. How has that definition changed? What happens to lyric form in the shift from the medieval to the renaissance? We will also investigate what these poems say concerning sexuality and gender, religious faith, and subjectivity.
Recordings of the music to be studied can be purchased through the Musical Offering or from other sources. In the early s, in England Shakespeare was exploring new ways of creating drama through language, with music often playing an important role, but a mostly distinct one. In those same years, in Italy Monteverdi was exploring new ways of combining language with music to create the new dramatic genre of opera.
Poems of Dryden and of Milton, for example, figured especially prominently in musical works of Purcell and Handel. Because the illusion of equilibrium permanently turns itself into its opposite. The axiomatic conception after what the author the writer, the artist etc. He has a contradictory personality himself, in which the wish for equilibrium and the possibility to reach it alternate all the time with the non-equilibrium, as an artist on wire whose on the left and on the right oscillation may bring him sometimes on the string, but other times The paradox is that the equilibrist never falls down, because the two extremes permanently attract and sustain themselves.
Between Page and Stage: The Happy Medium for Romantic Drama
A little dramatic jewel is Antique Tragedy, in what the three sacred monsters of the Greek theatre, Eschyl, Eurypide and Sofocle are brought in the same period and put to speak each other. The paradoxism of the play is realized not in structure and form, but in ideation and language. The author proves an excellent knowledge of the antique Greek theatre and reality and of the socratian heuristic method and, most of all, of the human and the artistic personalities of the three playwrights.
He puts them to talk in a complex style in what the excellence of the speeches is given by the vast culture of the three ones, by a deep Had you enough of seeing me high? We think that it would be interesting and useful a comparative research as concerns the popular origin of some ideas and paradoxist motifs, with adequate lecture criteria, in some smarandachian creations!. Spontaneous and brilliant, the speeches of this drama are full of concision and fluency. The author exposes his idea easily and believable, in a permanent interference with the conceptions and the mentalities of his famous precursors.
Too much logic is bad! What they just have done, in fact! The three ones -two different orientations, the tradition and the renewal, in fact, - are joined by a single fact -the tragedy; that is the literature, because -allegorically says Smarandache -the innovations brought by non-literature have in common with the literature just Smarandache considers the renewal of the literature as an essential condition for its survival. The earth sleeps. The poetry breaths! It is decoded also by the fact that from the beginning Eschyl is put to speak in This task belongs to the creation Destiny that announces the subsequent Metahistory.
The play has an exquisite power of suggestion. It is maybe the only one among the dramatic creations of Smarandache that could stand near those from Metahistory, they contrasting only through the registers of expression: to the sarcastic virulence and humoristic verve in trilogy, correspond the lyrical-philosophic wave that traverses the little play Destiny. Moreover, we assist here to a certain essentiality of the dramatic art. To be able to say such many things in less than one page is, we have to recognize, a true performance that could be equalized only by At the same time, the dramatism in Destiny does not dissolve itself, does not disappear, the play could been performed at any time.
Tens of little and big studies and articles or even books or only chapters have been written about these models of the genre— the drama from the mentioned cycle9 The quality and Paraphrasing the paradoxist playwright, the examples could be multiplied n times. The trueborn popular vocabulary from the region of Nea Marin, himself also recognized here and there is full of charm and taste. He wakes up in the night and smokes. So that the salesman gives him two portions, Pulls after him A wonder- child But stupid Turcaibes Doarme de-l gasesc toti dracii!
Noaptea se scoala si fumeaza, N-o lua necuratu foc Ca sa-i dea vinzatoarea doua portii, Tine dupa el Si-un copil minuneDe prost.
Some Literary Criticism quotes
Ce-au inteles din toate astea, nu se-ntelege Parinti si copii. The imitation of the popular speech becomes accurate copy, including the pronunciation, as well as in the linguistic questionnaires: After I looked for him Till I broke the earth I had also such a desire Ce sa-ti povestesc!
Bawdy expressions are found everywhere. In comparison, Arghezi appears like a puritan! Undeliberatelly, maybe, nostalgically or on his bent knees, he is however conscious that the literature means, though, sentences, words and not in the last time - littera, from what it inherits its own name. He recognizes openly this thing, joking Strong arguments in this sense brings the paradoxist himself through the series of volumes published on the second half of this decade.
In this way, the lyrico-epic character of the volume is, paradoxistly talking, a man without country , who still has roots, or a Romanian adapted under stress of Many of them are Romanian as concerns the language, in any case or universal verses, it been given the omnipresence of the contemporary realities. The style itself is genuinely paradoxist, the one that has been invented when Smarandache has still lived in Romania.
The juiciness and the truculence of this show of words recall the channel Pann - Arghezi- Sorescu - Anca. As well as in all other books- we would add. In fact, Smarandache has not emigrated in a definite place, but where he could apply without hindrances spiritual and ideological, not merely material his unconformist literary programme. As regards the translation art, it is easy to notice that the subtleties of Romanian language and of paradoxism alike, cannot always be expressed in other language.
Nu sau da? No bit! The characterization made by Smarandache in His capacity of essentiality proved in The silence bell Haiku, edition in three languages, , but also in other paradoxist creations -in verses, prose or drama, is important also in these poems. We insisted on this aspect because Ovidiu Ghidirmic tends to consider this volume as But right here it is the essence of the matter: the paradox is not a smarandachian invention, indeed, but its transformation in poetry and system- it is!
The strong, hard sometimes and always shocking metaphors in the smarandachian poems appear like this just because they are based on paradoxes- these notions converted in figures of speech forming a great part in the originality of this gifted writer.
The title of the volume is as shocking as these of the other smarandachian creations. This is the highest point or the lowest, it is the same thing of human alienation- that is, to feel strange in front of yourself, to have the sensation to be removed beyond time and space, beyond life, although you live.
After Introduction in the empire of error a manifesto of the paradoxism too, but covered with another Then in the shape of prose texts or verses it is risky to name them prose or poetry! Also among his memories we met -true nightmares of the author- the caricatural portraits of the previous leaders, lampoons worthy of an Arghezi. Florentin Smarandache! The paradoxes, puns, antonymies and other paradoxist figures of speech are met everywhere, they seeming to be like a glue of the different styles used.
More than in anyone of his other creations, in Defective writings Florentin Smarandache seems to aspire for the achievement of a synthesis of the all vanguard and neo vanguard experiences of the 20th century, reduced to the common denominator of the paradoxism. As we expected, Baldwin admitted that the play would offer its share of staging difficulties. He particularly felt that the long poetic passages and minimal stage directions suggested that Shelley wrote it—not as an unstageable play but—without any idea of how to stage it.
As with Sardanapalus , the text needed cutting, perhaps even more ruthlessly, in fact. During the actual performance, actors were positioned all across the stage as well as in the aisles. He split the lines up between several actors who would recite them either individually or in tandem from the aisles. She elaborated:. The Manfred staging reinforced many of the lessons learned a few years previously with Prometheus Unbound. Barakiva was inspired by the many challenges posed by Manfred. He wanted to create the most playable version of Manfred possible and therefore removed most of its dense poetry.
Neither mortal nor immortal, Manfred played by Jason Butler Harner stood isolated on the stage throughout the entire performance, which stressed his status as an outcast caught in a liminal space between the human and superhuman worlds. Throughout the show, while the mortals the Chamois Hunter, the Abbot of St. Maurice, Manuel, and Herman sat upstage right behind Manfred, the immortals the Spirits, the Witch of Alps, Destinies, Nemesis, and Arimanes were seated opposite them upstage left.
All the while, the audience was made continuously aware that Manfred could neither identify nor connect with any other being—not even the Phantom of Astarte. A good example of this was in Act II, scene four when the Destinies, Nemesis, and Arimanes all appeared together on stage—aghast and indignant that Manfred, through the use of his supernatural power, had gained access into the Hall of Arimanes.
When the actors read their lines either in unison or in rapid succession, the characters came across as a threatening and intimidating collective unit; whether the actors varied their tempo or pitch, they produced the haunting effect called for by the scene. Her manipulation of sound and facial expression as well as her distinctive delivery of the word itself signaled to me once again the benefits of translating this play from the page to the stage.
Another Barakivan eccentricity included communal readings of the stage directions: instead of having one person solely charged with reading them aloud, he randomly assigned each of them among all the actors. I appreciated this decision, as it resonated with the instabilities of voice and voicing so central to Manfred as Diego Saglia has compellingly argued in his essay in this volume.
Barakiva also had a triangle rung for any reference to Astarte. During rehearsals and performances, the literary scholar assumed a different role outside the academy, becoming a resident dramaturge and textual expert in a local theater. We provided a service to both theater professionals during rehearsals as well as to members of the community who wished to know more about the dramas during the post-show discussion. The collaboration also allowed for some professional crossover, as Baldwin incorporated into his vision one of my own dramaturgical suggestions. These rewards were indeed mutual, as this opportunity opened up a stimulating interpretive space.
The professional actors bring out certain aspects of the prosody that might not come across as forcefully on the page, offering the audience a communal interpretation of these texts that is markedly different from a private reading. Moreover, we discovered that close reading can also happen on stage in illuminating ways.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn, for instance, that Baldwin recognized opportunities for humor in Prometheus Unbound. This occurs in Act I, for instance, when Mercury fails to persuade the obstinate Prometheus to succumb to Jupiter and reveal his secret knowledge to the god. Combine such writing with a talented actor who can use silence and bedazzled facial expressions to his advantage to yield a comical reaction from the audience.
Needless to say, the crowd at the Loreto Theater roared with laughter. Along with many other similar opportunities, it became clear that the play has the capacity to be performed in a way that brings out light-hearted, humorous moments. The performance pushed the generic expectations of Manfred by shedding light on its ambiguities as a hybrid work between the tragic and the comic.
For me, this interpretation seems to be a misreading. To my mind, the character of Astarte must exhibit both calmness and detachment, for she models the kind of stoic disposition that Manfred will fully acquire by the end of the play. In addition to the foregoing benefits, I wish to highlight the rewards of making these Romantic-era dramas come performatively alive through a staged reading, an auspicious alternative when a full production is not feasible.
Despite my initial hope back in of producing full stagings of these works, it was through this unintended and initially less desirable medium, in fact, that I discovered an apposite vehicle for realizing even the most unplayable of these dramas as successful theatrical experiences. The staged reading is unusual in that it fuses the conventions of silent, individual, and private reading practices with that of communal and public performance. The medium permits actors, readers, spectators, and auditors to intersect in a space where all groups experience the text simultaneously yet differently.
Actors perform by dramatically reading their lines aloud, while using minimal gesturing to evoke action, interaction, and movement. They serve as the intermediaries between the text and the audience members who absorb the drama as spectators and auditors. While having actors read aloud from scripts might appear to restrict the suspension of disbelief that audience members might enjoy in more traditional theatrical milieus, the austere, minimalist format of this performance style heightens the reading experience in some ways.
By this I mean that audience members are permitted the benefits afforded to them in a conventional encounter with a text, as the silent, individual reading practice transforms into an enhanced communal experience in which texts are read physically, interpetively, and imaginatively. As they envision the dramatic scenes in their minds, they conduct an interpretation of text within an alternate and stimulating site for reading and analysis outside of the classroom or the library. This reading community also has its pedagogical advantages by being a pragmatic way to invite students into the world of these difficult dramatic works.
Beyond the benefits for these diverse groups, the staged reading offers new ways to confront old challenges that scholars have identified in thinking about closet dramas. As the actors performed by reading from their scripts during each Red Bull performance, they negotiated the balance between voice and gesture and between language and the body. They partook of an in-between or mediated space where speech and writing became interdependent.
What I am suggesting is that the staged reading converts theory into practice by transmuting this imaginative style of drama into the material reality of a theatrical space. This take on the possibilities of the staged reading expands upon similar reflections recorded in the last few years with regard to other Byron productions. In the end, the success of these staged readings became possible because of a series of negotiations and compromises between literary critics and theater experts.
The Red Bull team showed that professional talent, direction, and even adaptation can animate even the most experimental and rhythmically dense among these dramas. The staged reading enabled us to meet on middle ground—to discover a happy medium between poetry and drama, theater artists and scholars, art and criticism, theory and practice, page and stage, and the public and private spheres.