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The Theater and Its Double Paperback – January 7, 1994
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Since its first publication in 1938, The Theater and Its Double by the French artist and philosopher Antonin Artaud has continued to provoke, inspire, enrage, enliven, challenge, and goad any number of theatrical debates in its call for a "Theater of Cruelty." A trio of theatrical manifestos, the book is an aggressive attack on many of the most treasured beliefs of both theater and Western culture. According to Artaud, the theater's "double" is similar to its Jungian "shadow," the unacknowledged, unconscious element that completes it but is in many ways its opposite. As "culture" inexorably draws the artistic impulse into safe channels, the repressed irrational urges of theater, based on dreams, religion, and emotion, are increasingly necessary to "purge" the sickness of society. Artaud identifies language itself as one of the major cultural culprits, and his attacks on it occasionally makes his text rough going. But his challenge to restore relevance to the heart of the theatrical experience remains fundamental to the vitality of theater, and his insistence on the sensory experience of drama as opposed to the literary (and such innovative ideas as the use of unconventional "found spaces") continues to be the clarion call of the theatrical avant-garde. --John Longenbaugh
From the Back Cover
'The Theater and Its Double' is far and away the most important thing that has been written about the theater in the twentieth century. It should be read again and again. Artaud oozed magical desires. He was the metaphysician of the theater.---Jean-Loius Barrault
Top customer reviews
Nonetheless, my personal take on the book was splendid. Not splendid enough that I would read it again, but worth the $20 I threw down on it. Who knows, I just may read it again, but there are better ones out there.
Although it can be hard to comprehend in parts, it is well worth a read, it's sheds a darkly intriguing light on the art of theatre and on the world that has shaped it.
I would recommend it to anyone interested in the darker side of life as well as (and especially) theatre students/enthusiasts.