By Anthony James Kubiak

ISBN-10: 047209811X

ISBN-13: 9780472098118

From the earliest Puritan screens of piety and rectitude to the present-day epidemic of staged college massacres, the historical past of the US has been characterised through 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 e-book rethinks American background as theater, and theater because the ethos and substance of yankee lifestyles, mockingly repudiated at each flip by means of the tradition it produces. starting with the writings of John Winthrop and others, in the course of the Federalist and ''romantic'' phases of yankee cultural lifestyles, and into the trendy and modern sessions, Anthony Kubiak unearths an the US no longer often stumbled on by way of conventional or materialist ways to heritage. He deploys the psychoanalytic concept of Jacques Lacan, the cultural idea of SlavojZizek, and the functionality conception of Herbert Blau in an extraordinary reappraisal of dominant American identification, tradition, and heritage. Anthony Kubiak is affiliate Professor of English, college of South Florida. he's additionally writer of phases of Terror: Terrorism, Ideology, and Coercion as Theatre heritage .

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5 The diary, then, helps the author narrativize his life and observations. He creates a true fiction, or what Jean Genet calls a "false spectacle born of a true illusion," through the form of the diary and uses it to translate his perceptions into "facts" that could be scrutinized over and over again. He utilizes, more than anything else, his memory of the day's events, and his memory turns those events into something like the fact of memory-identity. The diary thus represents the contents of memory, as well as what that memory could not contain.

Just what his feelings for this young man were, we AGITATED STATES 44 may never know, but he appears upon the stage of Wigglesworth's meditations often, is privy to his intimate advice, and is even seemingly brought to tears by his abjurations. The full effect of Wigglesworth's writing is, as I have suggested, very nearly a recapitulation of the Puritan stereotype. He is lust-driven and yet seems quite openly to detest the flesh and hovers dangerously close to Manichaeanism in his suspicion that the physical world is evil.

The "hauntology" of gaze and act and speech, absent from the stages of American theater, appears in the stories and novels that invoke it, while its most harrowing manifes- tation as real theater, Artaud's theater of cruelty, appears in the infinite plications of the minstrel show. Here the cultural, political issue is less the appearance of ideology than ideologies of appearance. Moreover, these ideologies of appearance, which have been largely unseen throughout American history, have deep roots in that history and cul- ture and manifest themselves as demand for the oxymoronic mere appearance of the authentic-true salvation, an authentic American character and culture, the "true" historical archive, the eradication of "false consciousness," the theoretical certainty of uncertainty, and today, the preservation of "traditional" marginal cultural values.

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Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of Cruelty by Anthony James Kubiak


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