Death in American Texts and Performances : Corpses, Ghosts, and the Reanimated Dead book cover
1st Edition

Death in American Texts and Performances
Corpses, Ghosts, and the Reanimated Dead

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ISBN 9780754669074
Published February 8, 2010 by Routledge
228 Pages

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Book Description

How do twentieth and twenty-first century artists bring forth the powerful reality of death when it exists in memory and lived experience as something that happens only to others? Death in American Texts and Performances takes up this question to explore the modern and postmodern aesthetics of death. Working between and across genres, the contributors examine literary texts and performance media, including Robert Lowell's For the Union Dead, Luis Valdez' Dark Root of a Scream, Amiri Baraka's Dutchman, Thornton Wilder's Our Town, John Edgar Wideman's The Cattle Killing, Toni Morrison's Sula and Song of Solomon, Don DeLillo's White Noise and Falling Man, and HBO's Six Feet Under. As the contributors struggle to convey the artist's crisis of representation, they often locate the dilemma in the gap between artifice and nature, where loss is performed and where re-membering is sometimes literally reenacted through the bodily gesture. While artists confront the impossibility of total recovery or transformation, so must the contributors explore the gulf between real corpses and their literary or performative reconstructions. Ultimately, the volume shows both artist and critic grappling with the dilemma of showing how the aesthetics of death as absence is made meaningful in and by language.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Lisa K. Perdigao, Mark Pizzato; Part I Studying the Corpse; Chapter 1 A Representation of Death in an Anti-Vietnam War Play by Luis Valdez, Jorge A. Huerta; Chapter 2 Skins of Desire in Evolution, Mark Pizzato; Chapter 3 DeLillo, Performance, and the Denial of Death, Jon D. Rossini; Chapter 4 Dust to Dust and the Spaces in Between, Alasdair Spark, Elizabeth Stuart; Part II Tracing Ghosts; Chapter 5 Thornton Wilder’s “Eternal Present”, Anne Fletcher; Chapter 6 When Ghosts Dream, Belinda Kong; Chapter 7 A Return to Memory, Possibility, and Life, Ian W. Wilson; Chapter 8 Ghosts of Proof in the Mind’s Eye, Mark Pizzato; Part III Reanimating the Dead; Chapter 9 “For the Union Dead”, William S. Waddell; Chapter 10 Locating the Front Line, Kathryn Nicol; Chapter 11 Televised Death in Don DeLillo’s America, Andrew J. Price; Chapter 12 “Everything now is measured by after”, Lisa K. Perdigao;

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Lisa Perdigao is Associate Professor of English at the Florida Institute of Technology and Mark Pizzato is Professor of Theatre and Film at UNC-Charlotte, and Mark Pizzato is associate professor of Theatre and Film in the Department of Dance and Theatre at University of North Carolina, Charlotte, USA.