In this paper, I will present aspects of my recent research on the themes of architecture and cruelty in the writings of Jean Genet, Antonin Artaud and Samuel Beckett, with a view to demonstrating how the research project may contribute to original developments in humanities research.
The paper unpacks and analyses the co-dependent relationship of architecture and cruelty in mid to late 20th century history, and observes their impact and presence in the ‘cruel’ and ‘total’ theatre of these three post-war, ‘post-modern’ (as I argue them to be) writers and dramatists: Jean Genet, Antonin Artaud and Samuel Beckett. In the mid to late twentieth century, the terms architecture and cruelty constituted a complex set of multi-valent significations. My study attempts to unpack these meanings and their locations, specifically in terms of: the bricks and mortar of material buildings, social organisation à la Foucault, the architecture of stage space and of the theatrical auditorium, isolation, the prison space and the prison of the human heart, cruelty in terms of physical torture and also as a theatrical mode (within a reconfigured theatrical architecture), and as both metaphors and metonyms.
The paper aims to juxtapose these crossdisciplinary issues with a number of the themes which the conference will prioritise, specifically: violence and peace, language and human meaning, modernity and post-modernity, and historical analysis, with the intention of delineating a set of future research developments in the humanities.
|Keywords:||Cruelty, Architecture, Theatre, Modernity, Post-modernity|
Lecturer in Television and Film, School of Performance and Screen Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Kingston University, London, UK
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