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A King(dom) for a Stage: The War Body In and As Performance

Wagner, MD (2008) A King(dom) for a Stage: The War Body In and As Performance In: The War Body on Screen. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 0826428223

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Like the pool of perceivers of September 11th, the vast majority of people who experience the war body do so not with the immediacy of flesh, of course, but with the schooling and the framework of a cinematic imaginary, or, as I will expand the idea here, a framework of performance. As Lane suggests of 9/11, ‘only those close enough to breathe the foulness into their lungs could truly measure the darkening day for what it was;’ for the rest, epistemological comprehension notwithstanding, the day was a movie. Similarly, the war body on screen, I suggest, while perhaps not strictly a movie, is a performance. My contention is that to address the war body on screen is to address it as a ‘poetic image’, an image, as Bachelard suggests, that ‘emerges into the consciousness as a direct product of the heart, soul, and being of man, apprehended in his actuality’ (xiv). Thus, to ask after the war body on screen is to ask first this phenomenological question: how does the war body emerge into a subjective consciousness? It does so as performance, and it is this performativity that I am interested in here. My case studies will be predominantly fictive and filmic, and my hope will be to trace through them a set of processes and phenomena of performance specific to the war body, and the implications that those processes and phenomena have upon our cultural experiences of the war body. Finally, it is a particular kind of war body that I am interested in here – the body of the warrior/king, or leader – which both resonates with and stands apart from the other categories of war body addressed in the collection (that of the soldier, the enemy, and the hostage/victim).

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Guildford School of Acting
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
Wagner, MD
Editors :
Redmond, S
Randell, K
Date : 1 May 2008
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2017 14:08
Last Modified : 05 Mar 2019 14:41

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