Date of Degree

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Theatre

Advisor(s)

Daniel Gerould

Committee Members

Mary Ann Caws

Daniel Gerould

Jean Graham-Jones

Subject Categories

Theatre and Performance Studies

Abstract

In the light of recent interdisciplinary critical approaches to landscape and space, and adopting phenomenological methods of sensory analysis, this dissertation explores interconnected or synesthetic sensory "scapes" in contemporary British playwright Harold Pinter's theatre. By studying its dramatic landscapes and probing into their multi-sensory manifestations in line with Symbolist theory and aesthetics, I argue that Pinter's theatre articulates an ecocritical stance and a micropolitical critique.

Chapter One explains the dissertation's theoretical framework (landscape theory, Symbolist theory, ecocriticism, phenomenology, and sensory analysis), while arguing for an ecophilosophical reading of Pinter's landscapes that engages not only with spatial patterns but also with the bodyscapes and psychic ecology of his characters. Chapter Two examines the theoretical/aesthetic Symbolist qualities of Pinter's dramaturgy. Chapter Three connects Pinter's sensory scapes to the theories of space and time developed by Henri Bergson, revealing how they are concerned with subjective time as it is lived, with the spatiotemporal circularity of past, present, and future (related to the ouroboros symbol), and with the way one can imaginatively re/create one's own self through life. Chapter Four discusses how Pinter's apocalyptic landscapes evoke the horror of the Holocaust, and denounce the tradition of oppression (or the structures of uncontrolled violence) that repeatedly produces new social and ecological catastrophes. Chapter Five draws upon feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray's concepts of sexual difference to demonstrate the negative ecological effects of a monological patriarchal system of moral values upon family and conjugal life, as expressed in Pinter's oppressive and abusive homescapes.

Throughout this study I activate an interdisciplinary dialogue between Pinter's landscapes and those found in works by Symbolist (and Decadent) artists/thinkers (Mallarmé, Rilke, Briusov, Maeterlinck, Rachilde, Patricio, Yeats, Munch, Sacher-Masoch, and Kafka.). Adopting phenomenological views of subjectivity (suggested by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gaston Bachelard, and Stanton Garner, among others), I invoke Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's notion of micropolitics, as well as the latter's concept of a combined ecology--mental, social, and environmental--to discuss how a study of sensory scapes reveals the presence of ecophilosophical and political concerns all through Pinter's dramatic oeuvre.

Comments

Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.