Catalogue


The drama of ideas : platonic provocations in theater and philosophy /
Martin Puchner.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010.
description
xii, 254 p.
ISBN
0199730326 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780199730322 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010.
isbn
0199730326 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780199730322 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
7123328
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 237-244) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-10-01:
Puchner (Columbia Univ.) recontextualizes the philosophy of Plato, and its relation to theater, by framing Plato not as an anti-theater theorist, as many believe, but rather as a radical theater reformer. The author begins with the famous anecdote of Plato burning his play after hearing Socrates speak, and transforms this into an act of revolution. He posits that the Platonic dialogues were theater, specifically dramatic theater, and he follows this strain through the history of Western philosophy and theater, ultimately creating an argument--as any good Platonist would--that theater must be a theater of ideas and that this new dramatic theater will serve as a guard against the rise of relativism. In tracing the impact of dramatic theater throughout the history of Western philosophy, Puchner addresses the work of Strindberg, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Brecht, Camus, Sartre, Badiou, Burke, and Wilde, among others, in sections devoted to "the drama of ideas," "dramatic philosophy," and "the new Platonists." In each, he addresses use of the Platonic dialogue to create dramatic theater. Puchner's interesting, sometimes arresting analysis of the history of Western theater and thought culminates in a relevant discussion of its place in the contemporary milieu of relativism. The book is accessible without being simplistic. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above. L. J. Kahler Mohawk Valley Community College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"The Drama of Ideas contains a tightly woven and persuasive argument for rescuing a Platonic tradition of interactions between two disciplines: theatre and philosophy. When this unique form of writing is examined within a theatrical context, as drama, a highly innovative form of writing emerges where abstract ideas, on the one hand, and the concreteness of character and scene, on the other, are viewed in a constantly emerging, dynamic and creative interaction with each other. Puchner has produced an ambitious and innovative project."-Freddie Rokem, author of Philosophers and Thespians: Thinking Performance "Martin Puchner productively challenges a core assumption of Western theatre scholarship: that the theatrical and literary theatre tradition derives in large part from Aristotle; and also its corollary: that from Aristotle's rival, Plato, comes a continuing tradition of anti-theatrical prejudice. The Drama of Ideas offers important new insights into the theory and practice of not only modern drama, but modern philosophy as well."-Marvin Carlson, The Graduate Center, City University of New York " The Drama of Ideas argues for a radical re-imagining of modern drama, through a revised understanding of Plato's influence in the modern world. This is a wide-ranging, provocative, smart and well-written book, which will be of great interest to modern drama scholars, philosophers and classicists alike."-Emily Wilson, University of Pennsylvania
"TheDrama of Ideascontains a tightly woven and persuasive argument for rescuing a Platonic tradition of interactions between two disciplines: theatre and philosophy. When this unique form of writing is examined within a theatrical context, as drama, a highly innovative form of writing emerges where abstract ideas, on the one hand, and the concreteness of character and scene, on the other, are viewed in a constantly emerging, dynamic and creative interaction with each other. Puchner has produced an ambitious and innovative project."-Freddie Rokem, author ofPhilosophers and Thespians:Thinking Performance "Martin Puchner productively challenges a core assumption of Western theatre scholarship: that the theatrical and literary theatre tradition derives in large part from Aristotle; and also its corollary: that from Aristotle's rival, Plato, comes a continuing tradition of anti-theatrical prejudice.The Drama of Ideasoffers important new insights into the theory and practice of not only modern drama, but modern philosophy as well."-Marvin Carlson, The Graduate Center, City University of New York "The Drama of Ideasargues for a radical re-imagining of modern drama, through a revised understanding of Plato's influence in the modern world. This is a wide-ranging, provocative, smart and well-written book, which will be of great interest to modern drama scholars, philosophers and classicists alike."-Emily Wilson, University of Pennsylvania
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Most philosophy has rejected the theater, denouncing it as a place of illusion or moral decay; the theater in turn has rejected philosophy, insisting that drama deals in actions, not ideas. Challenging both views, The Drama of Ideas shows that theater and philosophy have been crucially intertwined from the start. Plato is the presiding genius of this alternative history. The Drama of Ideas presents Plato not only as a theorist of drama, but also as a dramatist himself, one who developed a dialogue-based dramaturgy that differs markedly from the standard, Aristotelian view of theater. Puchner discovers scores of dramatic adaptations of Platonic dialogues, the most immediate proof of Plato's hitherto unrecognized influence on theater history. Drawing on these adaptations, Puchner shows that Plato was central to modern drama as well, with figures such as Wilde, Shaw, Pirandello, Brecht, and Stoppard using Plato to create a new drama of ideas. Puchner then considers complementary developments in philosophy, offering a theatrical history of philosophy that includes Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Burke, Sartre, Camus, and Deleuze. These philosophers proceed with constant reference to theater, using theatrical terms, concepts, and even dramatic techniques in their writings. The Drama of Ideas mobilizes this double history of philosophical theater and theatrical philosophy to subject current habits of thought to critical scrutiny. In dialogue with contemporary thinkers such as Martha Nussbaum, Iris Murdoch, and Alain Badiou, Puchner formulates the contours of a "dramatic Platonism." This new Platonism does not seek to return to an idealist theory of forms, but it does point beyond the reigning philosophies of the body, of materialism and of cultural relativism.
Main Description
Most philosophy has rejected the theater, denouncing it as a place of illusion or moral decay; the theater in turn has rejected philosophy, insisting that drama deals in actions, not ideas. Challenging both views,The Drama of Ideasshows that theater and philosophy have been crucially intertwined from the start. Plato is the presiding genius of this alternative history.The Drama of Ideaspresents Plato not only as a theorist of drama, but also as a dramatist himself, one who developed a dialogue-based dramaturgy that differs markedly from the standard, Aristotelian view of theater. Puchner discovers scores of dramatic adaptations of Platonic dialogues, the most immediate proof of Plato's hitherto unrecognized influence on theater history. Drawing on these adaptations, Puchner shows that Plato was central to modern drama as well, with figures such as Wilde, Shaw, Pirandello, Brecht, and Stoppard using Plato to create a new drama of ideas. Puchner then considers complementary developments in philosophy, offering a theatrical history of philosophy that includes Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Burke, Sartre, Camus, and Deleuze. These philosophers proceed with constant reference to theater, using theatrical terms, concepts, and even dramatic techniques in their writings. The Drama of Ideasmobilizes this double history of philosophical theater and theatrical philosophy to subject current habits of thought to critical scrutiny. In dialogue with contemporary thinkers such as Martha Nussbaum, Iris Murdoch, and Alain Badiou, Puchner formulates the contours of a "dramatic Platonism." This new Platonism does not seek to return to an idealist theory of forms, but it does point beyond the reigning philosophies of the body, of materialism and of cultural relativism.
Main Description
Most philosophy makes little mention of the theater except to denounce it as a place of illusion and moral decay. The theater has tended to respond in kind by steering away from philosophy, driven by the notion that theater consists of actions, not ideas. The Drama of Ideas argues that despite this mutual evasion, the histories of philosophy and theater have in fact been crucially intertwined. Appointing Plato as a hinge figure, Puchner traces this alternative tradition as well as recounting the long-standing philosophical register in drama and philosophy's more recent theatrical shift. Moving from a consideration of Plato as a dramatist to those Renaissance playwrights who drew on Plato's chief character, Socrates, Puchner articulates an alternative history of the theater which places philosophy front and center. He believes that modern drama should be understood as Platonic, rather than anti-Aristotelian, as it is often labeled. When Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, August Strindberg, Luigi Pirandello, Georg Kaiser and Bertolt Brecht are contextualized in light of this alternative perspective, they emerge as major contributors to a drama of ideas. Philosophy underwent a corresponding theatrical shift in the modern era, most importantly through the work of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Camus. More recently, Kenneth Burke and Gilles Deleuze have used a theatrical models perspective through which to write the history of philosophy, while contemporary descendants of Plato's dramatic imagination include Iris Murdoch, Martha Nussbaum and Alain Badiou.
Main Description
Most philosophy makes little mention of the theater except to denounce it as a place of illusion and moral decay. The theater has tended to respond in kind by steering away from philosophy, driven by the notion that theater consists of actions, not ideas. The Drama of Ideas argues that despitethis mutual evasion, the histories of philosophy and theater have in fact been crucially intertwined. Appointing Plato as a hinge figure, Puchner traces this alternative tradition as well as recounting the long-standing philosophical register in drama and philosophy's more recent theatrical shift.Moving from a consideration of Plato as a dramatist to those Renaissance playwrights who drew on Plato's chief character, Socrates, Puchner articulates an alternative history of the theater which places philosophy front and center. He believes that modern drama should be understood as Platonic,rather than anti-Aristotelian, as it is often labeled. When Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, August Strindberg, Luigi Pirandello, Georg Kaiser and Bertolt Brecht are contextualized in light of this alternative perspective, they emerge as major contributors to a drama of ideas. Philosophy underwenta corresponding theatrical shift in the modern era, most importantly through the work of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Camus. More recently, Kenneth Burke and Gilles Deleuze have used a theatrical models perspective through which to write the history of philosophy, while contemporarydescendants of Plato's dramatic imagination include Iris Murdoch, Martha Nussbaum and Alain Badiou.
Table of Contents
The Poetics of the Platonic Dialoguep. 3
Plato, Dramatistp. 3
Plato's Genres: Tragedy, Comedy, Satyr Playp. 9
Plato's Dramaturgyp. 20
A Brief History of the Socrates Playp. 37
Socrates on the Stagep. 40
The Death of Socratesp. 52
The Comic Stage Philosopherp. 63
The Drama of Ideasp. 73
The Modern Socrates Playp. 75
Oscar Wildep. 82
George Bernard Shawp. 92
Luigi Pirandellop. 100
Bertolt Brechtp. 106
Tom Stoppardp. 112
Dramatic Philosophyp. 121
Søren Kierkegaardp. 125
Friedrich Nietzschep. 138
Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camusp. 148
Kenneth Burkep. 162
Gilles Deleuzep. 166
The New Platonistsp. 173
Iris Murdochp. 174
Martha Nussbaump. 180
Alain Badioup. 185
Epilogue: Dramatic Platonismp. 193
Socrates Titlesp. 199
Charting the Socrates Playp. 209
Notesp. 211
Bibliographyp. 237
Indexp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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