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Dafydd Sills-Jones, Jouko Aaltonen and Pietari Kaapa

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Afterlife of an Avant-garde

Subversion, Spectatorship, and Psychoanalysis

Lara Cox

In 1961, Martin Esslin named a body of plays that lacked plot, character depth, and details of time and space the "Theatre of the Absurd". Esslin explained that this type of theatre, minimalist in the extreme, constituted a response to the existential crisis of Europe, which was in the midst of recovering from World War II. But the fact that this body of theatre lacked details of time and space means that we may break the ties that anchor the Theatre of the Absurd irremediably to the historical context of post-World War II Europe.

How can the Theatre of the Absurd speak meaningfully to us in the twenty-first century? This book explores this question by combining the avant-garde that Martin Esslin named in 1961 in his signature work The Theatre of the Absurd with gender studies, queer theory, and psychoanalysis, and avant-garde studies. The Theatre of the Absurd is capable of subverting post-millennial institutions and ideologies, including the Prison Industrial Complex and the West’s domination of the Islamic world in a post-9/11 era.

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Boyz N the Hood

Shifting Hollywood Terrain


Joi Carr

In 1991, Boyz N the Hood made history as an important film text and the impetus for a critical national conversation about American urban life in African American communities, especially for young urban black males. Boyz N the Hood: Shifting Hollywood Terrain is an interdisciplinary examination of this iconic film and its impact in cinematic history and American culture. This interdisciplinary approach provides an in-depth critical perspective of Boyz N the Hood as the embodiment of the blues: how Boyz intimates a world beyond the symbolic world Singleton posits, how its fictive stance pivots to a constituent truth in the real world. Boyz speaks from the first person perspective on the state of being "invisible." Through a subjective narrative point of view, Singleton interrogates the veracity of this claim regarding invisibility and provides deep insight into this social reality. This book is as much about the filmmaker as it is about the film. It explores John Singleton’s cinematic voice and helps explicate his propensity for a type of folk element in his work (the oral tradition and lore). In addition, this text features critical perspectives from the filmmaker himself and other central figures attached to the production, including a first-hand account of production behind the scenes by Steve Nicolaides, Boyz’s producer. The text includes Singleton’s original screenplay and a range of critical articles and initial movie reviews.

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Erick Falc'her-Poyroux

Peu de pays égalent l’Irlande dans sa réputation musicale. Car la musique irlandaise fascine : passée d’une petite île en marge d’un vieux continent à l’immense diaspora irlandaise, d’une profession aristocratique à une activité populaire, d’une existence essentiellement rurale à un engouement urbain, des petites cuisines aux scènes du monde, de la musique de danse aux compositions orchestrales, des musiciens irlandais expérimentés aux débutants japonais, sa capacité d’adaptation semble infinie.

Cet ouvrage offre un panorama global de l’histoire de la musique irlandaise dans un style clair et accessible, et nous raconte ses ajustements constants et ses révolutions, d’une tradition ancienne jusqu’à son influence internationale aujourd’hui, via sa recréation et sa sauvegarde par des passionnés et des militants.

Avec plus de trente-cinq ans de passion pour l’Irlande et sa musique, et d’un point de vue extérieur, l’auteur tente de combler un manque dans l’univers des études irlandaises en explorant les implications des mutations de la musique, de la danse et du chant irlandais, en replaçant continuellement la musique dans son contexte social, politique et historique.

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May Spangler

Paris in Architecture, Literature, and Art is a wide-ranging textbook that capitalizes on the little exposure liberal arts students have to architecture and the popularity of Paris. Designed for a college course in the Humanities, it also lends itself for a High School course or a study abroad program in Paris.

 The course focuses on Paris, which throughout history has been the stage and experimental ground for artists and intellectuals from all over the world, making it the crucible of western thoughts and consummate material for an interdisciplinary study. Each chapter presents a cultural movement such as Gothic, Classical, Romantic and Modern that are predominant in the Parisian landscape. The interdisciplinary approach promotes critical thinking, inspiring students to identify and translate aesthetic principles from one discipline to another, and explore, for instance, what an Impressionist literature or a Cubist architecture might be.

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Dagara Verbal Art

An African Tradition


Paschal Kyoore

Dagara Verbal Art examines verbal art among the Dagara people of West Africa. It provides invaluable primary material for research, and does a close analysis of folktale narration, proverb usage, riddling, chanting of dirges and popular songs by male and female praise singers, and xylophone music performance as forms of verbal art. Folktales are characterized by wit, humor, and satire, and songs within tales are a mise-en-abyme, a story within a story that entertains but also enhances the narration through the participation of the audience in the performance. Moreover, Dagara tales are didactic and moralizing as a way of controlling the behavior of individuals in society. Riddling entertains but also helps to develop the cognitive abilities of children, and demands critical and logical thinking on the part of the participating audience. Proverbs were collected in context and analyzed closely for their meaning. The study also examines closely the art of speech-making, and concludes that a good locutor knows what figures of speech to use in order to enhance communication with the audience. This study concludes that an authentic theory of Dagara—and for that matter, generally African—folklore must be grounded on a thorough knowledge of the traditions, rites and rituals, and the socio-political structures that have held the society together in its historical experience. Dagara Verbal Art is an important resource for areas such as African studies, African literature and folklore, folklore in general, anthropology, culture studies, ethnomusicology, ethnic studies, and gender studies, among others.

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Representation and Reception

Brechtian 'Pedagogics of Theatre' and Critical Thinking

Shehla Burney

Representation and Reception: Brechtian ‘Pedagogics of Theatre’ and Critical Thinking deploys German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s theory of drama and performance, what he calls "the pedagogics of theatre", to create modes of critical thinking in the classroom. Extrapolating on Brecht’s estranged forms of representation—narrative, story, montage, Verfremdüngseffeckt or alienation, tableaux, ostension (showing), gestus, masks and music—Burney constructs an original "3-R Pedagogy" or "spiral of semiosis"—"Rethinking/Replaying/Re-cognition"—that is designed to create critical thinking and "complex seeing". Her dramatic production of Brecht’s Lehrstück, or learning-play, The Exception and the Rule, for a non-literate, working-class audience in Hyderabad, India, critically analyses how audiences make meaning through image, word and ideology, gesture, memory, collective experience and personal

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Music and Ritual in Medieval Slavia Orthodoxa

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross


Gregory Myers

This project fills a void in medieval musical scholarship in the West by addressing an area that is virtually terra incognita. Based on newly-accessed primary source material and grounded in the most current scholarship, the English-language monograph-length study, Music and Ritual in Medieval Slavia Orthodoxa: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross investigates the sacred music traditions of the Orthodox Slavs (Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia) during a critical period in the cultural history of the region. The approach taken is interdisciplinary, drawing on recent scholarship in liturgical studies, Byzantine and medieval Slavic history, linguistics and musicology. The study traces the dissemination of liturgical and musical performance practices through the disparate centers of the Eastern Christian world (from Southern Italy, Balkan Peninsula to Kiev and Novgorod). It takes into account the physical locus of the chanting practices, whether urban cathedral or monastery. The medieval Slavs are treated as an autonomous cultural body within the Commonwealth of the Eastern Church.

Set against the shifting liturgical backdrop of the 13th century with its pending liturgical reform, the study addresses aspects of chant performance practice in the Slavic-speaking world. Select hymnography for the celebration are sought in the rubrics of liturgical sources describing its placement in the services, singing personnel, the style of the hymnody and the manner of its musical execution (antiphonal, responsorial). The Feasts of the Holy Cross, observed during the week of September 14, the Third Sunday of the Lenten Fast and Holy Week (Holy Tuesday and Good Friday), serve as case studies for which there is an abundance of unexplored material to be brought to light. The current study presents this material to the Western audience for the first time.

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Natasha's Dress

Language of Literature, Language of Fashion


Paola Colaiacomo

This book explores interconnections between high literary modernism and the revolution in dress design of the early twentieth century. During this time, new and «liberated» lifestyles created a bond among figures as diverse as writers and fashion editors, painters and art critics, photographers and models, dancers and economists – all of whom were in different ways looking at new «inventive clothes» (Vreeland) as life experiences.

Starting points of the research are Pirandello’s One, no one, and one hundred thousand, where the protagonist’s disowning of his own image in the mirror ignites a tragedy, and Roger Fry’s essays on the resuscitation of Victorianism at the end of the First World War, where the phantasmagoria of time is identified as the basis for modern illusion.

Each chapter in the book explores a different facet of the same topic: the distance between self and image as the dispenser or destroyer of enchantment. This issue was actively pursued by philosophers (Benjamin), writers (Woolf, Mansfield, Fitzgerald), photographers (Man Ray, Cecil Beaton) and fashion critics (Vreeland). The evolution in fashion editing was meanwhile instructing the sophisticated readers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in the art of contemplating their own reflections in the mirror and seeing in them exactly what they wanted to see.

The Natasha of the title is Tolstoy’s heroine, a secret spring of creative energy for Katherine Mansfield, and the source of one of Diana Vreeland’s most perceptive insights into the nature of fashion.

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Unbridling the Western Film Auteur

Contemporary, Transnational and Intertextual Explorations

Emma Hamilton and Alistair Rolls

According to Jim Kitses (1969), the Western originally offered American directors a rich canvas to express a singular authorial vision of the American past and its significance. The Western’s recognizable conventions and symbols, rich filmic heritage, and connections to pulp fiction created a widely spoken «language» for self-expression and supplemented each filmmaker’s power to express their vision of American society. This volume seeks to re-examine the significance of auteur theory for the Western by analysing the auteur director «unbridled» by traditional definitions or national contexts.

This book renders a complex portrait of the Western auteur by considering the genre in a transnational context. It proposes that narrow views of auteurism should be reconsidered in favour of broader definitions that see meaning created, both intentionally and unintentionally, by a director; by other artistic contributors, including actors and the audience; or through the intersection with other theoretical concepts such as re-allegorization. In so doing, it illuminates the Western as a vehicle for expressing complex ideas of national and transnational identity.