Performing the Queer Past: Public Possessions (Hardcover)

Performing the Queer Past: Public Possessions By Fintan Walsh, Anja Hartl (Editor), William C. Boles (Editor) Cover Image
By Fintan Walsh, Anja Hartl (Editor), William C. Boles (Editor)
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'Tender and rigorous, this book invites readers to linger with difficult pasts and consider how best to grasp their hauntings, demands and manifestations in the present. This is a book about mourning as well as holding, a simultaneous act of exhumation and a laying to rest.'
anna six, author of Madness, Art, and Society: Beyond Illness

'This is an extraordinary book, in which queer theatre and performance become sites of celebration and resistance, as well as holding the potential for performers and audiences to work through painfully felt yet difficult to articulate experiences towards feelings of hope. Replete with rigorous, generous and creative readings, it is also a meditation on Walsh's own emotional engagement with queer theatre and performance, and how our cultural attachments can sustain, enliven and contain us.'
Noreen Giffney, psychoanalytic psychotherapist and author of The Culture-Breast in Psychoanalysis

Why do contemporary queer theatre and performance appear to be possessed by the past? What aesthetic practices and dramaturgical devices reveal the occupation of the present by painful history? How might the experience of theatre and performance relieve the present of its most arduous burdens?

Following recent legislation and cultural initiatives across many Western countries hailed as confirming the darkest days for LGBTQ+ people were over, this book turns our attention to artists fixed on history's enduring harm. Guiding us through an eclectic range of examples including theatre, performance, installation and digital practices, Fintan Walsh explores how this work reckons with complex cultural and personal histories. Among the issues confronted are the incarceration of Oscar Wilde, the Holocaust, racial and sexual objectification, the AIDS crisis and Covid-19, alongside more local and individual experiences of violence, trauma and grief.

Walsh traces how the queer past is summoned and interrogated via what he elaborates as the aesthetics and dramaturgies of possession, which lend form to the still-stinging aches and generative potential of injury, injustice and loss. These strategies expose how the past continues to haunt and disturb the present, while calling on those of us who feel its force to respond to history's unresolved hurt.

About the Author

Fintan Walsh is Professor of Performing Arts and Humanities and Director of Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. His recent books include the collection Theatres of Contagion: Transmitting Early Modern to Contemporary Performance (Methuen Drama 2020) and the monograph Queer Performance and Contemporary Ireland (2016). Fintan is a former editor of the Theatre Research International, and editor of the book series Contemporary Performance Texts

Product Details
ISBN: 9781350297968
ISBN-10: 1350297968
Publisher: Methuen Drama
Publication Date: September 21st, 2023
Pages: 244
Language: English