Memory

Memory : Theater and Postmodern Drama

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This book examines the theme of memory in a range of plays by contemporary American and European playwrights, including Samuel Beckett, Heiner M ller, Sam Shepard, Adrienne Kennedy, Suzan-Lori Parks, Thomas Bernhard, and Elfriede Jelinek. Jeanette R. Malkin proposes that postmodern drama--that is, drama since the 1970s--can be defined and examined according to the ways it recasts history and engages memories of the past. Details from our cultural and historical past are of course always fundamental elements of literature and theater: the past haunts the stage. But is the past as it is represented on stage actually the true past? In many of the plays examined in Malkin's book, the past is no longer grounded. Instead, it is a past which floats within the collective unconscious, in a place of fragmented collective identity. These plays "remember" in ways parallel to the theories of knowledge that inform them and thus become paradigms for a vision of the world.
Malkin's study seeks answers to questions such as: what are the connections between contemporary drama and processes of memory? How do contemporary aesthetics shape these plays and the memories that they enact? What is remembered and how is the audience targeted? Why is memory so central to so many postmodern theater texts? In answering these questions, Malkin compellingly demonstrates how the past is made present within the double walls of memory and of the theater.
"A very important book that bids to be a 'must have' on the timely topic of history versus memory as it is represented in theater." --John Rouse, University of California, San Diego
Jeanette R. Malkin is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theatre Studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 161.8 x 237.49 x 29.72mm | 585.13g
  • Ann Arbor, United States
  • English
  • 0472110373
  • 9780472110377
  • 1,669,736

Back cover copy

"Memory-Theater and Postmodern Drama argues that the way memory is conceptualized has changed in postmodernism, and that the theatricalization of this new memory discourse has produced some of the most powerful works on the contemporary stage. The playwrights discussed - Samuel Beckett, Heiner Muller, Sam Shepard, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Thomas Bernhard - create a range of "memory-theaters" that give sophisticated and often moving expression to the ways we remember and forget and to the traces of a no longer cohesive past."--BOOK JACKET. "This book will be of interest to students of post-modern culture, contemporary theater and drama, and memory studies. It should also appeal to those interested in the representations of trauma - discussed here both in relation to the Holocaust and to slavery - and to students of contemporary German literature, especially since too little exists in English on the work of Thomas Bernhard and Heiner Muller."--BOOK JACKET.
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