On drama: boundaries of genre, borders of self
The latest book by noted critic and scholar Michael Goldman provides fresh and unexpected insights into the role played by genre in the experience of drama. Challenging the view that genre is by definition exclusion, and that its policing of boundaries is out of place in the neighborhood of art, Michael Goldman suggests that the lens of genre can provide keen insights for our understanding and appreciation of drama.
For Goldman, it is important to consider drama as an exper-ience, an ongoing moment-to-moment process for audiences or readers. Everything changes, says Goldman, when we stop to think of genre as not entirely unlike rhyme or ambiguity--features whose primary interest for readers or audiences is as something that happens to us in a poem or play, as it happens. It is valuable to see that--as it operates in drama--the instability of the subject of genre has a specific and unique texture, one that can offer useful insights into our experience as viewers of and participants in drama. In this light, discussions of genre can help us to understand what drama as a special kind of social practice does for and with our lives. It is important that we work toward understanding the process of thinking about drama in this light--that we understand the power and complexity of drama--and Michael Goldman aims to do so in this book.
Michael Goldman is Professor of English, Princeton University. He is author of a number of books, including Acting and Action in Shakespearean Tragedy, Shakespeare and the Energies of Drama, Ibsen: The Dramaturgy of Fear, and The Actor's Freedom: Toward a Theory of Drama.
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