Staging Place: The Geography of Modern Drama

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University of Michigan Press, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 310 pages
Staging Place: The Geography of Modern Drama reimagines the content and continuities of theater history and exposes underlying dialogues between "home and homelessness, belonging and exile"--a century-long struggle with the meaning and power of place, which the author terms "geopathology." By reading canonical works in conjunction with contemporary ones, Chaudhuri charts the evolution of a dramatic paradigm with profound theatrical and thematic implications.
Chaudhuri starts with a discussion of a "poetics of exile" in early modern drama, where the figure of home is constructed as a locus of two conflicting impulses: the desire to find a stable site for individual identity and the desire to deterritorialize the self. By mid-century, she argues, a new discourse of "failed homecoming" begins to displace this geopathic model and replace the poetics of exile with a grim anti-poetics of immigration. She then employs postmodern and postcolonial theories of place and culture to define the emerging multiculturalism as a creative reworking of the figures of home, homecoming, homelessness, immigration and exile.
"This is a book of real originality. Its treatment of space in modern drama is elegant and powerful. . . ." --William B. Worthen, Northwestern University
"Staging Place is a powerfully written book, deft in its handling of familiar and unfamiliar plays alike and eclectic in its use of theatrical sources." --Essays in Theatre/ Études théâtrales
"This sophisticated and well-written study for graduate students and their teachers explores modern drama's preoccupation with the seemingly irreconcilable discontinuities between the notions of home and homelessness, belonging and exile. . . . The readings of individual plays are fresh and invigorating. . . ." --Choice
Una Chaudhuri is Associate Professor of English, New York University.

From inside the book


Plays and Place
Geopathology The Painful Politics of Location
America and the Limits of Homecoming
The Places of Language
Travel Agencies
If Not Here Where? The Challenge of Multiculturalism
America at the End

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About the author (1997)

Una Chaudhuri is Associate Professor of English, New York University.

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