Time：Apr. 12 14:00
Catharsis is an essential concept for Greek culture. Reacting to Plato’s interpretation of theatre as an evil influence on society, Aristotle developed this concept to defend the social virtues of theatre. It became later central to any discussion about the relationship between theatre and society.
In the twentieth century, the avant-garde writer and actor Antonin Artaud wrote “The Theatre and the Plague,” a text in which he revisits the notion of catharsis by transgressively associating theatre with epidemics. He later included this text in his manifesto,The Theatre and Its Double, which was seminal for contemporary art and theatre.
In this presentation, I will show how Artaud helps us reenvisage catharsis in a new way, stressing its ambiguities. I will also resituate Artaud’s text in its context and show how it belongs to his lifelong dialogue with psychoanalysis. Finally, I will discuss the intermediality of this text, and show how it prefigures Artaud’s performance practice.
Maxime Philippe is an associate professor in the School of Foreign Languages at Shanghai University. He is a specialist of theatre, francophone literature and critical theory. He has published several articles about Antonin Artaud’s work in the A&HCI journalsTheatre Journal,L’Esprit Créateur,Contemporary French and Francophone Studies. Moreover, he has published about Proust inFrench Forum(A&HCI) and ecocriticism also inL’Esprit Créateur.