UPDATE: Postmodern Stages And Beyond (5/30/06; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Daniel Keith Jernigan \(Asst Prof\)
contact email: 

Deadline Extended:


UPDATE: Postmodern Stages And Beyond -- The Deadline for Paper =
Proposals has been extended to May 30, 2006.

NOTE: At this stage we are especially interested in essays about early =
Twentieth-Century playwrights -- such as Pirandello -- who were quick to =
adopt metatheatrical features which would eventually fall under the =
stylistic rubric of postmodernism.

Postmodern Stages And Beyond:
Early Meta-theatrical Innovation and Late-Postmodern Debate

This collection of essays begins from the simple observation that while =
other genres (notably, fiction and film) have been thoroughly examined =
from a postmodern perspective, drama has received relatively scant =
postmodern critical treatment. This is perhaps most surprising given the =
fact that the theatrical environment appears uniquely suited to =
explicitly questioning the boundary between the real and the artificial, =
the constructed and the extant. What other genre allows characters to =
break that fourth wall separating the stage from the audience (or, even, =
the narrative from the reader) in real time? Moreover, in addition to =
having a tangibly permeable fourth wall which cries out to be =
transcended, the fact that theatre is not only meant to be performed but =
also re-performed both on successive nights by a single theatre company, =
as well as throughout geographic space and time by a nearly limitless =
number of additional theatre companies, makes the dramatic text =
especially susceptible to reinterpretation at the hands of producers, =
directors, and actors (this in addition to the fact that audience =
members themselves will necessarily have their own private reactions to =
the work even as they do to other genres). =20


In the face of such textual permutability isn't it reasonable to expect =
that the ontological and epistemological fragility of the theatrical =
environment would make it a particularly useful forum in which to =
investigate a wide variety of postmodern crises? If so, why hasn't =
dramatic experimentation of this sort become the norm? Or, rather, why =
hasn't it at least become prevalent enough that "postmodern drama" is as =
publicly recognizable a literary category as are "postmodern fiction" =
and "postmodern film"? =20


One explanation for this oversight is that Drama is so well suited to =
investigating postmodern accounts about the end of grand narratives and =
the instability of representative forms that dramatic texts naturally =
adopted postmodern attitudes towards their subjects much earlier than =
genres such as fiction and film. Given this possibility it is also =
likely that these postmodern attitudes had become so routine within =
drama by the time postmodernism came into its own as a literary and =
cultural category, that the term lacked both categorical utility and =
interpretive resonance when it came to contemporary drama. Moreover, it =
is also possible that, having become postmodern so early, Drama quickly =
moved beyond engagement with postmodern issues at the same time that =
fiction and film were just beginning to engage them.

We invite essays which investigate drama's relationship with postmodern =
issues. Preference will be given to essays which don't simply seek to =
find the postmodern in dramatic texts, but also attempt to understand =
why it is that theatre tracked differently vis-=E0-vis postmodern =
aesthetics, epistemologies, and ideologies than did fiction, film, and =
culture more generally. Likely subsections may include -- but will not =
be limited to -- the following:=20

Pre-postmodern Innovation


Postmodern Re-innovation


Staging Postmodern Debate


Beyond the Postmodern Stage


Alternate Perspectives

Finally, while it is likely that the intent and scope of this project =
will change, entries which don't precisely fit the listed categories, =
but which engage the central question(s) of the manuscript, are =


Please submit article proposals/abstracts of 500 words by May 30, 2006 =
to djernigan_at_ntu.edu.sg. The editors will then request full length =
drafts from those abstracts still under consideration. Length: 25-30 =
double spaced manuscript pages. As we are at an advanced stage of =
negotiations with an international publisher, we would like the process =
to move fairly quickly.

Daniel Jernigan
Assistant Professor of English
Department of English
School Humanities and Social Science
S3.2 B4 27
Nanyang Technological University
Singapore, 639798
6316 8834

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Received on Mon May 08 2006 - 08:43:43 EDT

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