The Death of Character: Perspectives on Theater after Modernism

By Elinor Fuchs | Go to book overview

8
Postmodernism and the Scene of Theater

The spectacle does not realize philosophy, it philosophizes reality.

—Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle1

IN ITS twenty-year spasm, postmodernism has had more “moments” than Hegel’s history of the spirit. Its first incarnation was celebratory and utopian, liberationist in its ideology of play, indeterminacy, and pure difference. But the question arose, was this actually “postmodernism, or a version of the old avant-gardes recycled through late modernism? The real postmodernism, we were told, especially in the popular press, was about flight from modernism: a revival of the classical, the figurative, the decorative. Postmodernism was inherently backward-looking and nostalgic.

But nostalgia, to students of the emerging field of cultural studies, was not really about the past but about its erasure by democratic mass society. Postmodernism was the great leveler of differences, horizontally across culture, vertically within history. This same identification between mass culture and postmodernism was made by neo-Marxist critics, but less tolerantly: postmodernism was the cultural “dominant” of late capitalism, commodity-driven, and fundamentally reactionary.

Perhaps this moment could or should have been its last, but through a clever graft with materialist feminism and other theories of the margin, postmodernism suddenly acquired, or re-acquired, a politics of resistance. The multiple subversions of narrative, realism, centering, and closure, earlier criticized by Anglo-American feminist critics and others as leading to a paralytic relativism, were now seen as political when used for the “right” ends in the “right” hands. And this moment was then extended into a range of multicultural and intercultural studies, some of whose devotees would like to forget the politically ambiguous postmodern route that took them there.

Like a hologram that produces three-dimensional objects through a mysterious transformation of two-dimensional images, postmodernism has been an elusive story of now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t. Many of its defenders experienced quasi-religious conversions on first grasping its paradigm shifts, but to some it was always an elaborate renaming trick, a kind of intellectual magic show with smoke and mirrors. This is the postmodernism I want to take up

-144-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Death of Character: Perspectives on Theater after Modernism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Drama and Performance Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I- Modern after Modernism 19
  • 1- The Rise and Fall of the Character Named Character 21
  • 2- Pattern over Character the Modern Mysterium 36
  • 3- Counter-Stagings Ibsen against the Grain 52
  • Part II- Theater after Modernism 67
  • 4- Signaling through the Signs 69
  • 5- Another Version of Pastoral 92
  • 6- When Bad Girls Play Good Theaters 108
  • 7- Theater as Shopping 128
  • 8- Postmodernism and the Scene of Theater 144
  • Reviews and Articles 1979-1993 Reports from an Emerging Culture 159
  • Notes 199
  • Index 218
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 225

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.