In this deft analysis, Vernon Shetley shows how writers and readers of poetry, operating under very different conventions and expectations, have drifted apart, stranding the once-vital poetic enterprise on the distant margins of contemporary culture. Along with a clear understanding of where American poetry stands and how it got there, After the Death of Poetry offers a compelling set of prescriptions for its future, prescriptions that might enable the art to regain its lost stature in our intellectual life. In exemplary case studies, Shetley identifies the very different ways in which three postwar poets—Elizabeth Bishop, James Merrill, and John Ashbery—try to restore some of the challenge and risk that characterized modernist poetry's relation to its first readers. Sure to be controversial, this cogent analysis offers poets and readers a clear sense of direction and purpose, and so, the hope of reaching each other again.
The term Neo-Dada surfaced in New York in the late 1950s and was used to characterize young artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns whose art appeared at odds with the serious emotional and painterly interests of the then-dominant movement, Abstract Expressionism. Neo-Dada quickly became the word of choice in the early 1960s to designate experimental art, including assemblage, performance, Pop art, and nascent forms of minimal and conceptual art.
An Audience of Artists turns this time line for the postwar New York art world on its head, presenting a new pedigree for these artistic movements. Drawing on an array of previously unpublished material, Catherine A. Craft reveals that Neo-Dada, far from being a reaction to Abstract Expressionism, actually originated at the heart of that movement’s concerns about viewers, originality, and artists’ debts to the past and one another. Furthermore, she argues, the original Dada movement was not incompatible with Abstract Expressionism. In fact, Dada provided a vital historical reference for artists and critics seeking to come to terms with the radical departure from tradition that Abstract Expressionism seemed to represent. Tracing the activities of artists such as Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, and Jackson Pollock alongside Marcel Duchamp’s renewed embrace of Dada in the late 1940s, Craft composes a subtle exploration of the challenges facing artists trying to work in the wake of a destructive world war and the paintings, objects, writings, and installations that resulted from their efforts.
Providing the first examination of the roots of the Neo-Dada phenomenon, this groundbreaking study significantly reassesses the histories of these three movements and offers new ways of understanding the broader issues related to the development of modern art.
Framing the Audience explores the cultural politics of the Great Depression and World War II through the prism of art appreciation. Isadora Helfgott interrogates the ideological and political motivations for breaking down barriers between fine art and popular culture. She charts the impact that changes in art appreciation had on the broader political, social, cultural, and artistic landscape.
Framing the Audience argues that efforts to expand the social basis of art became intertwined with—and helped shape—broader debates about national identity and the future of American political economy. Helfgott chronicles artists’ efforts toinfluence the conditions of artistic production and display. She highlights the influence of the Federal Art Project, the impact of the Museum of Modern Art as an institutional home for modernism in America and as an organizer of traveling exhibitions, and the efforts by LIFE and Fortune magazines to integrate art education into their visual record of modern life. In doing so, Helfgott makes critical observations about the changing relationship between art and the American public.
Ibsen's Drama was first published in 1979. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
"A dramatist for all seasons" Einar Haugen calls Henrik Ibsen in this series of lectures given in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Norwegian playwright's birth. Using a modified version of the communications model developed by linguist Roman Jakobson, Haugen provides a readable, succinct analysis of Ibsen's thinking and dramaturgy. He examines the ways in which Ibsen the author communicated with his nineteenth-century audience and is able, still, to move and inform playgoers today.
Haugen brings to this work a lifetime of familiarity with Ibsen in Norwegian and in translation, and he draws upon his own experience as a theatergoer and as an observer of student and audience reaction to the plays. Ibsen's Drama will bring pleasure and a deeper understanding of the playwright to students and playgoers alike.
Einar Haugen is Victor S. Thomas Professor of Scandinavian and Linguistics, emeritus, at Harvard University. He is author, editor, or translator of many books and articles in linguistics, literature, and immigrant history, notably The Norwegian Language in America (1953), The Scandinavian Languages (1976), and Land of the Free (1978).
For West Papua and its people, the promise of sovereignty has never been realized, despite a long and fraught struggle for independence from Indonesia. In Laughing at Leviathan, Danilyn Rutherford examines this struggle through a series of interlocking essays that drive at the core meaning of sovereignty itself—how it is fueled, formed, and even thwarted by pivotal but often overlooked players: those that make up an audience. Whether these players are citizens, missionaries, competing governmental powers, nongovernmental organizations, or the international community at large, Rutherford shows how a complex interplay of various observers is key to the establishment and understanding of the sovereign nation-state.
Drawing on a wide array of sources, from YouTube videos to Dutch propaganda to her own fieldwork observations, Rutherford draws the history of Indonesia, empire, and postcolonial nation-building into a powerful examination of performance and power. Ultimately she revises Thomas Hobbes, painting a picture of the Leviathan not as a coherent body but a fragmented one distributed across a wide range of both real and imagined spectators. In doing so, she offers an important new approach to the understanding of political struggle.
The Homeric poems were not intended for readers, but for a listening audience. Traditional in their basic elements, the stories were learned by oral poets from earlier poets and recreated at every performance. Individual nuances, tailored to the audience, could creep into the stories of the Greek heroes on each and every occasion when a bard recited the epics.
For a particular audience at a particular moment, "tradition" is what it believes it has inherited from the past--and it may not be particularly old. The boundaries between the traditional and the innovative may become blurry and indistinct. By rethinking tradition, we can see Homer's methods and concerns in a new light. The Homeric poet is not naive. He must convince his audience that the story is true. He must therefore seem disinterested, unconcerned with promoting anyone's interests. The poet speaks as if everything he says is merely the repetition of old tales. Yet he carefully ensures that even someone who knows only a minimal amount about the ancient heroes can follow and enjoy the performance, while someone who knows many stories will not remember inappropriate ones. Pretending that every detail is already familiar, the poet heightens suspense and implies that ordinary people are the real judges of great heroes.
Listening to Homer transcends present controversies about Homeric tradition and invention by rethinking how tradition functions. Focusing on reception rather than on composition, Ruth Scodel argues that an audience would only rarely succeed in identifying narrative innovation. Homeric narrative relies on a traditionalizing, inclusive rhetoric that denies the innovation of the oral performance while providing enough information to make the epics intelligible to audiences for whom much of the material is new.
Listening to Homer will be of interest to general classicists, as well as to those specializing in Greek epic and narrative performance. Its wide breadth and scope will also appeal to those non-classicists interested in the nature of oral performance.
Ruth Scodel is Professor of Greek and Latin, University of Michigan, and former president of the American Philological Association.
"Ruth Scodel's Listening to Homer proves it is still possible to explore the workings of epic without recourse to a battery of jargon or technicalities. This is not a 'one big idea' book but a rich . . . set of reflections; it makes refreshing reading . . . ."
---Greece & Rome
"This is an important book, putting the receiving rather than the sending side of the performance of the Homeric epics center stage. The many observations on narrative technique are often new and worthwhile."
---Irene J.F. de Jong, Gnomon
How do audiences experience live performances? What is gained when a national theater is born? These questions and more are the subject of Locating the Audience—the first in-depth study of how people form relationships with a new theater company. Investigating the inaugural season of National Theatre Wales, Kirsty Sedgman explores how different people felt about the way their communities were engaged and their places “performed” by the theater’s productions. Mapping the complex interplay between audience experience and identity, the book presents a significant contribution to our contemporary project of defining cultural value. Rather than understanding value as an end point—“impact”—Sedgman makes the provocative claim that cultural value can better be understood as a process. By talking to audiences and capturing pleasures and disappointments, Locating the Audience shows the meaning-making process in action.
At a moment when performance art and performance generally are at the center of the international art world, Frazer Ward offers us insightful readings of major performance pieces by the likes of Acconci, Burden, Abramovic, and Hsieh, and confronts the twisting and troubled relationship that performance art has had with the spectator and the public sphere. Ward contends that the ethical challenges with which performance art confronts its viewers speak to the reimagining of the audience, in terms that suggest the collapse of notions like “public” and “community.” A thoughtful, even urgent discussion of the relationship between art and the audience that will appeal to a broad range of art historians, artists, and others interested in constructions of the public sphere.
This innovative work begins to fill a large gap in theatre studies: the lack of any comprehensive study of nineteenth-century British theatre audiences. In an attempt to bring some order to the enormous amount of available primary material, Jim Davis and Victor Emeljanow focus on London from 1840, immediately prior to the deregulation of that city's theatres, to 1880, when the Metropolitan Board of Works assumed responsibility for their licensing. In a further attempt to manage their material, they concentrate chapter by chapter on seven representative theatres from four areas: the Surrey Theatre and the Royal Victoria to the south, the Whitechapel Pavilion and the Britannia Theatre to the east, Sadler's Wells and the Queen's (later the Prince of Wales's) to the north, and Drury Lane to the west.
Davis and Emeljanow thoroughly examine the composition of these theatres' audiences, their behavior, and their attendance patterns by looking at topography, social demography, police reports, playbills, autobiographies and diaries, newspaper accounts, economic and social factors as seen in census returns, maps and transportation data, and the managerial policies of each theatre.
In this innovative historical examination of the American movie audience, Eric Smoodin focuses on reactions to the films of Frank Capra. Best known for his Hollywood features—including It Happened One Night, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington—Capra also directed educational films, military films, and documentaries. Based on his analysis of the reception of a broad range of Capra’s films, Smoodin considers the preferences and attitudes toward Hollywood of the people who watched movies during the “Golden Age” of studio production, from 1930 to 1960.
Drawing on archival sources including fan letters, exhibitor reports, military and prison records, government and corporate documents, and trade journals, Smoodin explains how the venues where Capra’s films were seen and the strategies used to promote the films affected audience response and how, in turn, audience response shaped film production. He analyzes issues of foreign censorship and government intervention in the making of The Bitter Tea of General Yen; the response of high school students to It Happened One Night; fan engagement with the overtly political discourse of Meet John Doe and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; San Quentin prisoners’ reaction to a special screening of It’s a Wonderful Life; and at&t’s involvement in Capra’s later documentary work for the Bell Science Series. He also looks at the reception of Capra’s series Why We Fight, used by the American military to train recruits and re-educate German prisoners of war. Illuminating the role of the famous director and his films in American culture, Regarding Frank Capra signals new directions for significant research on film reception and promotion.
The Peloponnesian War, which destroyed imperial Athens and ultimately Sparta as well, continues to fascinate students of history, politics, and human nature. Thucydides' account of the twenty-seven-year conflict charts the opposition between the two great powers of the classical Greek world and the ways of life they represented. Paula Debnar explores the collapse of these powers from a new perspective, examining the ways discourse changed under the strain of a long and costly war. Speaking the Same Language seeks to recover the role played by the audiences within the History. By restoring the internal audiences to a more prominent place, Debnar emphasizes the perspective of the participants in the war and heightens the dramatic immediacy of the debates. She thoroughly analyzes twelve speeches delivered by or to the Spartans, demonstrating how the earlier speeches illustrate the role of discourse in the construction of Sparta's identity and the unification of her Dorian allies in the face of their primarily Ionian adversaries.
Combining close textual analysis with an examination of narrative and historical context, Debnar bridges the gap between literary and historical studies of Thucydides. Accessible to specialists and nonspecialists alike, her work will interest those working in the fields of Greek literature, ancient historiography, rhetoric, political science, and ethnic studies.
Paula Debnar is Associate Professor of Classics, Mount Holyoke College.
The relationship between actors and spectators has been of perennial interest to playwrights. The Roman playwright Plautus (ca. 200 BCE) was particularly adept at manipulating this relationship. Plautus allowed his actors to acknowledge freely the illusion in which they were taking part, to elicit laughter through humorous asides and monologues, and simultaneously to flatter and tease the spectators.
These metatheatrical techniques are the focus of Timothy J. Moore's innovative study of the comedies of Plautus. The first part of the book examines Plautus' techniques in detail, while the second part explores how he used them in the plays Pseudolus, Amphitruo, Curculio, Truculentus, Casina, and Captivi. Moore shows that Plautus employed these dramatic devices not only to entertain his audience but also to satirize aspects of Roman society, such as shady business practices and extravagant spending on prostitutes, and to challenge his spectators' preconceptions about such issues as marriage and slavery. These findings forge new links between Roman comedy and the social and historical context of its performance.
Women Writing the Academy is based on an extensive interview study by Gesa E. Kirsch that investigates how women in different academic disciplines perceive and describe their experiences as writers in the university.
Kirsch’s study focuses on the writing strategies of successful women writers, their ways of establishing authority, and the kinds of audiences they address in different disciplinary settings. Based on multiple interviews with thirty-five women from five different disciplines (anthropology, education, history, nursing, and psychology) and four academic ranks (seniors, graduate students, and faculty before and after tenure), this is the first book to systematically explore the academic context in which women write and publish.
While there are many studies in literary criticism on women as writers of fiction, there has not been parallel scholarship on women as writers of professional discourse, be it inside or outside the academy. Through her research, for example, Kirsch found that women were less likely than their male counterparts to think of their work as sufficiently significant to write up and submit for publication, tended to hold on to their work longer than men before sending it out, and were less likely than men to revise and resubmit manuscripts that had been initially rejected.
This book is significant in that it investigates a new area of research— gender and writing—and in doing so brings together findings on audience, authority, and gender.