Death, Decay and Domesticity: The Corpse as Pivotal Stage Presence in Howard Barker’s Dead Hands

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The chapter examines the contemporary Gothic aesthetic of British playwright Howard Barker by way of an example, the 2004 play Dead Hands. In particular, it analyses the three themes of paternity, sexuality and taboo in relation to the corpse as central stage object in the play text and in production by The Wrestling School company. The chapter places Barker’s work in relation to a long tradition of these, and other prominent Gothic themes and related imagery, and details his specific, subversive engagement with them. It contextualises the analysis by drawing on Kristeva’s writing on the abject (1987), Botting’s writing on the Gothic (1996) and Lingis’ writing on eroticism, and the impact of sex and death on the perception of time (2000).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Gothic Drama
Subtitle of host publicationAttraction, Consummation and Consumption on the Modern British Stage
EditorsKelly Jones, Benjamin Poore, Robert Dean
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages43-59
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-349-95359-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-95931-0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NamePalgrave Gothic
ISSN (Print)2634-6214
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6222

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