Every Text is a Performance: A Pre-History of Performance Philosophy
This article traces a genealogy of performance philosophy along two separate lines within the history of the twentieth-century academy. On the one hand, it locates within the long history of philosophically-informed studies of dramatic literature a partial model for the work of performance philosophy, one that applied philosophical scrutiny to dramatic texts without ever extending the same consideration to theatrical performance—in spite of the practical theatrical work of many of this movement’s leading academic proponents. On the other hand, it identifies in the poststructualist rethinking of textual authority an opening for the reconsideration of philosophical communication that returns performance to a place of philosophical potential that it has not securely held since before Plato’s dialogues. It is argued that the intersection of these two trend lines in academic thought should be regarded as constituting an important intellectual genesis point for the emergence of performance philosophy and a useful means of approaching the purposes and boundary points of the field.
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