Memory of the Body
Essays on Theater and Death
Imprint: Northwestern University Press
153 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 in
- Published: June 1992
To see through the eyes of essayist and dramaturge Jan Kott is to gain in knowledge not just of the theater but also of human culture. Since his Shakespeare Our Contemporary appeared in English in 1964, Kott's work has altered—and strengthened—the way critics and the public approach the theater as a whole. The Memory of the Body highlights a number of dramatic personalities and personages: authors and directors Witkiewicz, Brecht, Kantor, Grotoswki, Ingmar Bergman, Wedekind; Tilly Newes on the stage in turn-of-the-century Vienna; the all-too-mortal, two-thirds divine Gilgamesh; and a shaman in rural Korea. In a style flecked with passion, poignancy, and wit, Kott moves beyond a mere discussion of theater to speak of eroticism, painting, love, and death.
"Kott is a truly outstanding drama critic of a type which goes back to Dr. Johnson, Lessing, Coleridge, Hazlitt, or Edmund Wilson. . . . He has the gift of seeing connections between literature, philosophy, anthropology, political theory, and psychology which are only open to so widely read and so cultured a mind as his." —Martin Esslin