After Dickens: Reading, Adaptation and Performance by John Glavin

By John Glavin

John Glavin deals either a performative interpreting of Dickens the novelist and an exploration of the opportunity of adaptive functionality of the novels themselves. via shut research of textual content and context Glavin uncovers a richly ambivalent, usually all of sudden opposed, dating among Dickens and the theater and theatricality of his personal time, and indicates how Dickens' novels might be visible as a kind of counter functionality. but Glavin additionally explores the performative strength in Dickens' fiction, and describes new how one can level that fiction in emotionally strong, seriously acute variations.

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And that is where Brecht and Grotowski part company. Both passionate advocates of transformation, they nevertheless mean by transformation radically different sorts of change. Dickens, adaptation and Grotowski  Brecht’s theatre is fundamentally indicative, a theatre, as he so often said, of quotation. Its transformations are public, political, ideologic. Top-down, Socratic, Brecht aims to take the spectator, not merely figuratively, out of him or herself to a position Brecht knows is better. He is ‘‘concern[ed],’’ as his notes to Mother Courage explain, ‘‘that the spectator should see’’ (Brecht : ).

Anyone who knows a certain sort of undergraduate – or Helen Vendler – understands that poetry often makes too much happen. It’s theatre that makes nothing happen. Theatre does not convert, nor does it prohibit. ). Like Brecht, Grotowski wanted to see change effected not merely prepared for. Indeed, Brecht himself, always pragmatic, spent most of his time at the Berliner Ensemble trying to figure out ways to make his plays entertaining, a` rebours all those theories of alienation. At its best, theatre prepares the ground for action.

Literature is, of course, not an epistemology, as Plato acknowledged when he banished the artists. He understood, in his inimitably meanspirited way, that far from being a part of philosophy, art is philosophy’s implacable foe. The offspring of sly craft and idle play, literature always sides with rhetoric against philosophy, sides with doing against thinking, feeling against reason, acting against mere knowing. Of course, no one would ever have forgotten this were it not for the Cartesian curricula of the French lyce´es.

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