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Return of the Cenci: Theaters of Trauma in Shelley and Artaud

Return of the Cenci: Theaters of Trauma in Shelley and Artaud In their disparate dramatizations of the legend of the sixteenth-century Cenci family, Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and avant-garde dramatist Antonin Artaud simulate the transmission of a trauma. With reference to trauma theorists Ruth Leys and Cathy Caruth, among others, this essay traces the structures of trauma across Shelley's and Artaud's Cenci plays, showing that, like a trauma, what resists representation in Shelley's nineteenth-century drama recurs embodied on Artaud's twentieth-century stage. In so doing, the essay illuminates less a straightforward shift than a complex interplay between diegesis and mimesis at the heart of the plays. Shelley and Artaud might then be seen to co-opt the trauma scenario as an epistemological paradigm whereby their theaters assume revolutionary potential. Shelley Artaud Cenci trauma romantic drama http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

Return of the Cenci: Theaters of Trauma in Shelley and Artaud

Comparative Literature , Volume 67 (4) – Dec 1, 2015

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Duke Univ Press
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/00104124-3327503
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In their disparate dramatizations of the legend of the sixteenth-century Cenci family, Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and avant-garde dramatist Antonin Artaud simulate the transmission of a trauma. With reference to trauma theorists Ruth Leys and Cathy Caruth, among others, this essay traces the structures of trauma across Shelley's and Artaud's Cenci plays, showing that, like a trauma, what resists representation in Shelley's nineteenth-century drama recurs embodied on Artaud's twentieth-century stage. In so doing, the essay illuminates less a straightforward shift than a complex interplay between diegesis and mimesis at the heart of the plays. Shelley and Artaud might then be seen to co-opt the trauma scenario as an epistemological paradigm whereby their theaters assume revolutionary potential. Shelley Artaud Cenci trauma romantic drama

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2015

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