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English Research Seminars 2017-18

'Where buried actions lie': Haunting and the spectre in the theatre of Derek Walcott

Abstract Drawing on a set of theories of haunting and spectrality (Derrida, Gordon, Glissant, Harris), I want to tease out what insights haunting and the figure of the spectre lend to an understanding of memory in the theatre of Derek Walcott, focusing on his relatively neglected play Drums and Colours and considering also Dream on Monkey Mountain.

I will situate my circular reading of Walcott’s work both within a Benjaminian and Brechtian understanding of “epic theatre” (as emerging from the cognition of the open and unfinished nature of history, of history as an ever-present arena) and a Harrisian (Caribbean) concept of “limbo poetics” as the cognition of what becomes possible in the space of absence. All this, while reading Walcott’s use of carnival as a postulate for re-imagining the nature of History as a set of possibilities that demand their fulfilment. I argue that the spectre that returns within carnival embodies the dialectical relationship between materiality and void, between absence and form, in Walcott’s ‘epic’ theatre.

Event Details

13 December 2017 -
13 December 2017
16:00 - 17:00
'Caygill's Corner' (social learning space), floor 2, Broadcasting Place A, City Campus
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