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Their work is essential to political solidification. Their overwhelming, marching, smothering sound operating within the controlled confines of a monumental visceral experience directly copies the fascist aesthetic.

Even progressive vanguard performances can easily be recuperated by nearly invisible but enormously powerful right-wing structures.

The authors investigate these moments of reappropriation, instrumentalization, and political exploitation in order to understand more clearly in what context contemporary vanguard performance can possibly function meaningfully.

In this section, innovative work trips up its originators and entangles them in the hands of their enemies. By trying to change the established terms, vanguardists studied here inadvertently help to create a new status quo.

War is a major site of innovation. Communication technologies, manufacturing processes, and social planning evolve in response to the changing needs of combat.

James Harding argues that war produced another kind of vanguard performance: espionage. They thus ignored the warning and sent crucial classified information directly to the Germans.

The British agents wound up as unwitting players in a performance out of their control. Their lesson appropriately begins this section: Vanguard performers can get so thoroughly caught up in their new ideas that they inadvertently aid their enemies.

The contemporary global market has definitively proven that innovation fuels conservative and neoliberal economies, as the market gobbles up every new idea and uses it to spur its own growth.

This is also the scene that brings us productions that attempt to rewrite, socially update, or redirect classical works from their sexist, racist, and otherwise biased roots.

Finally, Mike Sell steps back and surveys the field of avant-garde studies itself, noticing a disturbing reinscription of the pattern mapped in the previous three essays: Vanguardism is frequently taken up by mainstream scholars and institutions in a way that keeps subversive ideas officially on the margins, while surreptitiously adopting the more profitable ideas.

But if scholarship stops there, it fails to honor the intellectual rigor and engagement with divergent ideas that the academy espouses.

In doing so, our hope is that it opens up new questions concerning the historical avant-garde, vanguard acts, and the complex role of artistic innovation and live performance in global politics.

For studies in art and literature, see, for example, Matthew Affron and Mark Antliff, eds. For examples of fascist art discussed in other art fields, see studies on Ezra Pound and T.

Eliot, which proliferate. See Charles Ferrall, Modernist Writing and Reactionary Politics New York: Cambridge University Press, for a recent work in this vein.

In film, see Kriss Ravetto, The Unmaking of Fascist Aesthetics Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Jonathan Steinberg New York: Berghahn Books, Just as surely, we should work to identify, assess, criticize and undermine those avant-gardes that intend to curtail justice, degrade the planetary ecosystem or enslave and exploit the power to imagine and enact a better tomorrow.

Mike Sell, Avant-Garde Performance and the Limits of Criticism Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, , I examine this tendency in regard to Antonin Artaud in Artaud and His Doubles Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, In short, performance is already excluded from the questions they have allowed themselves to ask.

Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish New York: Vintage Books, , She enacted the inverse of this in her interpretation of Antonin Artaud, whose techniques she read in the light of her empathy for his suffering.

Quoted from the American denazification report in Steven Bach, Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl New York: Vintage, , Strobl, Swastika and Stage, James Harding demonstrates in Not the Other Avant-Garde that the historiography of the avant-garde itself is bound up in a Eurocentric and colonialist narrative that perceives history as a linear movement of expansion.

Rebecca Schneider, The Explicit Body in Performance New York: Routledge, , According to Sell, the avant-garde must challenge power, be a minority, and work within culture.

Discussed in Affron and Antliff, Fascist Visions, 6. Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, These essays address both the public and the private performance spheres in which modernism offered radical solutions to artists whose worldviews had been utterly consumed and recast by the global wars of the twentieth century.

If, as Benjamin once remarked, every generation sees itself on the edge of an abyss, these are artists who, having crawled out of that abyss, sought to re-create it.

The historical moments included here share a valorization of violence and submission and an enhanced understanding of the process by which performance generates phenomenal reality and relays it to the distributed audiences of mass media.

We can trace that process throughout these essays. The famous incident in which he offered his Nobel Prize medal to be melted into war material is one of the points at which artistic reflection becomes gestural activism.

The gesture is symbolic, but the result is not. Literature can envision but not enact; performance can enact but cannot transform.

Pirandello took to the stage; Williamson strove to become a maker of events; and Mishima brought desire, power, and radical transformation together in a moment of totalizing performance in which he extinguished himself.

The vision of machine-death summoned out of the sky, and its compulsion to aesthetics, have been components of the modernist imagination ever since Percival Lowell announced that he saw canals on Mars in The development of the European avant-garde parallels the rapid developments in mass media at the end of the nineteenth century, and it can be plotted against the domestication of wireless communications and radio.

In the mid-nineteenth century, telegraphy opened up the commercial possibilities of remote communication: nationalism plus markets plus telegraphy equaled imperialism.

Telegraphy itself, prior to the invention of the wireless, was one of the formative conditions of modernism, roughly defined as the global era in which discourses of humanity and human subjectivity come to define the principles of economic and cultural traffic.

At the heart of modernity was the ability of mass communications to disseminate, mobilize, and silence social phenomena.

The rapid social acceptance of radio and the exponentially increasing sales of home wireless receivers brought about a radical transformation of North American culture that can only be compared in scale to the digital revolution of the late twentieth century.

The wireless revolution opened up new cultural forms, new aesthetics, new political movements, new religions, and new understandings of reception and audience.

Radio manufacturers started broadcast stations to sell radios; stations sought new sounds to broadcast to recruit listeners, and in the process discovered that radio frequencies could be owned, and that time itself is a market commodity.

In this world of industrial technology and political revolution, artistic vanguardism of which the now canonical avant-garde that Schechner traces was but one trajectory was not a property of any one political community.

Piscator had been doing with theater exactly what Goebbels had been doing with radio. In both cases, electric technology transmitted somatic affect through performance distributed across multiplied bodies and summoned social pluralities in its reception.

For Piscator, live performance took place in a theater machine that integrated new media, and for Goebbels who, like Mussolini, dabbled in playwriting , the live audience and remote listeners were conjoined in one acoustic space.

This was a discovery that was instrumental for the vanguardist movements that had access to radio transmission. From his apartment, Richard Schechner watched the towers fall and thought of avantgarde catastrophic fantasy and Artaud.

The essays in this part all address similar moments when art envisioned and welcomed the abyss. Several of these essays invoke the idea of the sublime, of the totality that negates individuation in a vaster ontology.

The irony of that desire is that the modernist sublime materializes as a machine: a radio, a megaphone, a film camera, an airplane over a city, a robot drone over a desert.

Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, , You have people who are that focused on a performance and then 5, [sic] people are dispatched to the afterlife, in a single moment.

By comparison, we composers are nothing. Artists, too, sometimes try to go beyond the limits of what is feasible and conceivable, so that we wake up, so that we open ourselves to another world.

And no one announced that they risked losing their lives. What happened in spiritual terms, the leap out of security, out of what is usually taken for granted, out of life, that sometimes happens to a small extent in art, too, otherwise art is nothing.

Of what value is such a designation? Here are a few exemplary quotations, roughly decade by decade, from a large repertory: , from F.

There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character. Poetry must be a violent assault on the forces of the unknown, to force them to bow before man.

We want to demolish museums and libraries. For art can only be violence, cruelty, injustice. Preparing to put an end to mourning, and to replace tears by sirens spreading from one continent to another.

All real progress has clearly been suspended until the revolutionary solution of the present multiform crisis.

Violent manifestos made real by actual explosions continued to be issued by groups such as the Weather Underground, not by artists. Why did artists move away from advocating violence?

I have no definite answer. Possibly, the realization that Soviet Communism failed to deliver the goods soured the taste for revolution.

This did not stop teachers and artists from honoring the futurists, dadaists, surrealists, and situationists.

The theater must give us everything that is in crime, love, war, or madness, if it wants to recover its necessity.

Destroy the current order. Create a new order, or anarchy. Are these manifestos mere ineffectual fantasies of powerless artists? Indeed, so-called high art and pop have merged just as news has melded into entertainment.

Additionally, at least since , when Chris Burden had a friend shoot him in the arm, many performance artists have wounded themselves, opened their veins as art, suspended themselves from hooks, slaughtered animals, and in manifold ways used real violence in the arts.

Popular culture is full of tattoos, piercings, and cosmetic surgeries, which, whatever their psychological and sociological meanings, enact the desire to be beautiful.

Aestheticizing and ritualizing violence, not as representations as in the visual arts, theater, or other media but as actual acts performed in the here and now, are widespread.

But is this really so? First of all, beautification by means of intrusive body alteration is practiced all over the world.

Second, al-Qaeda and other jihadists are not averse to using those aspects of Western culture they find helpful. Bin Laden and his allies have taken advantage of the media and advanced technology, from the Internet to hijacked jets.

The technological sophistication of the jihadists debunks the ruling myth that they are primitive cave dwellers living in tribal areas.

In fact, no location is outside the global net, not even northeast Pakistan and Afghanistan; and no tribe or group of people is absolutely other.

Paradoxically, the West and the jihadists occupy very separate spheres from the point of view of values while sharing the same global system from the point of view of techniques.

In the media, where any mention is better than absence, jihadists and the warriors against terror compete for imagination space on the global stage.

Representations of the attacks are paradigmatic of the accelerating conflation of news and entertainment, and not only in the United States.

In Yueqing, a newly industrialized city southwest of Shanghai, videos showing the attacks were for sale by September In larger cities, these videos probably were on the market even sooner.

As Peter Hessler reported from China: They stocked them on the same racks as the Hollywood movies. Bush, and the burning Twin Towers. On the back, a small icon noted that it had been rated R, for violence and language.

That is, the news is given in small temporal units, and after two or three items there is another temporal unit, a commercial break.

This format of program content and advertising running sequentially is the same for news, sports, drama, and various contestant shows quiz shows, American Idol, etc.

Internet sites such as YouTube and its many Internet cognates further blur the boundaries between the real and the fictional. There was also much pathos.

It all went under the overall official rubric of the war on terror. This series included many subplots. Reporters were embedded with the troops on the ground.

There were daily suicide bombings and attacks of what the government and media called insurgents. Civilians were slaughtered in these bombings and also by the allied military.

Bush was gussied up in a flight suit though he was a passenger, not the pilot. Bush or a Tom Cruise impersonator?

For performance theorists and historians, the collapse of aesthetic categories was already familiar from Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol. But today most of the art world and the real world live in between these extremes.

It is, to many Americans, simply the City, quintessentially American and foreign simultaneously. If the planes had crashed into the towers three hours later, many more people would have died.

If the two planes hit simultaneously or nearly so, the media would not have seen the collision, only the aftermath.

I believe the jihadists timed their hijackings as a one-two punch for maximum spectacular effect, synchronized to the morning news cycle in New York and midday in Europe.

Their intention was not to kill as many people as possible but to reach as large a spectatorship in the West as possible.

And what kind of imaginary is that? Regardless of who carried out the massacre, this violence is the legitimate daughter of the culture of violence, hunger and inhumane exploitation.

At present, I return to the question of art and of what kind. This leads me to the sublime as expounded by Immanuel Kant in It is a greatness comparable to itself alone.

Hence it comes that the sublime is not to be looked for in things of nature, but only in our own ideas. Can the horrible even as it is unfolding be experienced as art?

Even before Kant, in , Edmund Burke tackled this question in his treatise On the Sublime and Beautiful. And, of course, political and military action is still another.

Most of what we today call art carries an ideological or religious message. In the West, before the Renaissance and the advent of capitalism, there was no category of fine art as such.

At present, most art remains bound to forces outside itself and is not independent or disinterested. Most art is good or bad in an ethical-moral-political way in terms of values operating beyond or despite the work itself.

In other words, there may be some agreement universally about what is art and what is not, what is sublime and what is not, but there is no such agreement, nor can I foresee a time when there will be, about what is ethically-morally-politically good or bad.

Because Fo was not talking about art. And art is not as serious as politics; art is play, secondary, a representation. However, from the perspective of performance studies, the attack on the World Trade Center was a performance: planned, rehearsed, staged, and intended both to wound the United States materially and to affect and infect the imagination.

The destruction of two iconic buildings, and the murder of so many people in one fell swoop, was intended to deliver a very specific message about the boldness of the jihad and the vulnerability of the United States.

A performance, surely, but art? I believe that the attack can be understood as the actualization of key ideas and impulses driving the avant-garde.

Thierry de Duve writes: It is as if the history of the avant-gardes were a dialectical history cast off by the contradictions of art and non-art, the history of a prohibition and of its transgression.

This is a duty and not a right. It was illegal art from the point of view of international law because it targeted civilians. But it was avant-garde art from the point of view of the tradition I am discussing.

Is this kind of analysis perverse, not only doing dishonor to the dead and injured but also soiling what art is or ought to be? Does such a designation grant the jihadists much more than they deserve?

And does it help us understand better the world we are living in? Stockhausen was actually envious of the jihadists. What other art act has done that?

Having just written this, I confess that I am very uncomfortable. I have reasoned my way into a position that I ethically reject. Maybe my way out is to assert that art requires artists who consciously choose to make art and spectators who willingly observe art.

This, surely, is the modern humanist tradition. But there are ritual performances that are extremely powerful, performatively and artistically, in terms of structure, color, rhythms, narratives, and so on and that require and enforce participation and witnessing.

Indeed, many artworks are not the products of free will. Are only the planners and overlords artists, and not the workers or victims? Consider the pyramids of Egypt and Teotihuacan, Mexico, generally regarded as architectural masterpieces.

The Egyptian pyramids were constructed by slaves, and the Teotihuacan pyramids and surrounding ceremonial site show that human sacrifices took place.

Time washes the blood off the stones; the magnificent stones remain unstained by what once were the immediacies of experience.

Their very presence on the planes and in the Twin Towers marked them as participating in hated Western culture.

To this way of thinking, there are no neutrals, no bystanders. Still, neither Mohammed Atta nor the other hijackers thought of themselves as artists.

In the unfolding event, visual artists, performance artists, writers, artists of any kind can do just about anything with what happened.

But all these works are reflective. They came after raw, unmediated events. This nowness is fundamental.

It does not cancel out representations after the fact: the documentaries, dramas, films, writings, firsthand accounts, and memorials all came later, on September 12 and after.

But they were supplemental to the attack itself, which was already a media event as it was happening. These were not accounts of what happened; nor were they ongoingly part of the attack.

They were collateral theater parallel to collateral damage in a military operation. Even while the Twin Towers were burning, people sought information about missing loved ones.

The media picked up on these notices, which individually were simply pieces of paper but collectively walls of anxiety and grief.

Each notice carried its own hope against hopelessness. No one knows exactly how many people found each other through this means.

Soon enough, the notices were joined by flowers, a sure sign of condolence. These notices were part of the spectacle even as they provided a human-scale entry into experiencing what was happening.

I wish I had a neat conclusion to my ruminations. The terrace of my apartment has a clear view of lower Manhattan.

That morning, I was watching television when I heard shouts from workmen constructing a New York University building on La Guardia Place.

I went onto my terrace, looked south, and about one mile away I saw the blazing North Tower. I thought it was a horrible accident but wondered how such an accident could happen on a day when the sky was blue and clear.

Moments later, I saw a plane flying low make a sharp turn from north to west. Something banal and full of shock. Then I saw the plane slice into the South Tower as smoothly as a hot knife into butter.

Not a sound. A silent movie in full color. A great ball of orange flame and black smoke. It was terrifying; it was sublime; it was horrible; it was beautiful.

After that, except for about forty-five minutes when my wife and I fetched our daughter from school, I stood on my terrace with some neighbors who had come over because they knew of the view.

We watched as the towers came down, et cetera. What did I do? I offered people something to drink and eat, told them where the bathroom was.

From the terrace we watched and talked, amazed, horrified, excited, scared, fascinated. We used binoculars. We saw some people flinging themselves from the towers.

But it was a lot more complicated than that. I had seen high-wire acts in circuses. What was happening was all in silence.

People walked back and forth between the terrace and the television room. When new people arrived, they brought rumors and information.

We took in what passed for analysis by media pundits. But, most important, everyone was very aware that from the terrace looking south we were watching the thing itself.

What we saw and heard on television were explanations and rationalizations both describing and shaping reactions, reporting events and instructing us the receivers how we were to react.

The coverage and talking heads gave us both a wider horizon with which to comprehend what we were witnessing and close-ups at and near Ground Zero.

As I watched both in person and on television, I knew that whatever else it was, I was experiencing a spectacle, a live movie, real history happening, et cetera.

Globally speaking, we were a divided audience. Or, if you will, the destruction is the means toward the end of creating terror, which is a state of mind.

At least from the Western side. Al-Qaeda and its adherents saw in the attack the very wrath of God. And the sky can still fall on our heads. And the theater has been created to teach us that first of all.

We address ourselves to the imagination and feelings of people: we are therefore supposed to achieve the most vivid and decisive kind of action.

The Art History Archive. Lilith Gallery Network, web, accessed July 22, Situationist Manifesto, trans. Fabian Thompsett, Situationist International Online, web, accessed July 22, Julian Beck, The Life of the Theatre: The Relation of the Artist to the Struggle of the People San Francisco: City Lights, , entry Antonin Artaud, The Theater and Its Double, trans.

Mary C. For more on the relationship between terrorism and television, see Daniel Dayan, ed. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, in Immanuel Kant Philosophical Writings, ed.

Ernst Behler New York: Continuum, , Kant, Critique of Judgment, Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, with Several Other Additions, Harvard Classics, ed.

Charles W. See www. Frank Lentricchia and Jody McAuliffe, Crimes of Art and Terror Chicago: University of Chicago Press, , Lentricchia and McAuliffe, Crimes, Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle , trans.

Ken Knabb London: Verso, Artaud, Theater and Its Double, Newspapers had talked up the opening for months, and Mussolini had already announced he would be there.

If he hoped to convince il duce to create a National Theater, and make him its director, he would need to make an impression.

But at p. Indeed, it must have been hard to decide where to look: at the strong crowd packed onto the tiny stage, at the nervy Eleven in their seats, or at His Excellency, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, visible to the entire house in the brand-new proscenium box above.

The tale of these two theaters and the vast system of which they were a part offers formidable challenges to the stubbornly held commonplaces that in theatrical matters il duce and his hierarchs were only interested in propaganda, that their rise to power in sounded the death knell of creativity, that fascism killed the avant-garde.

Back in October , just days shy of the first anniversary of the March on Rome that brought the regime to power, il duce had summoned the playwright to his office.

Encouraged by their first meeting, the flattered thespian did just that. Thus their partnership began.

It was, evidently, a sensational gesture that had been agreed upon behind closed doors, and it delighted Mussolini as much as it dismayed his opponents.

They would also introduce unknown foreign plays and authors to the Italian public, providing the exchange that was vital to creativity.

And now, for Pirandello, Marchi worked wonders once again: the sleek silver and purple decor was a sort of shiny futurist baroque, preparing the audience for ultramodernity even before the curtain opened.

Characters should live on stage. His methods were as ahead of their day in Italy as his plays were and in turn had a direct impact on those texts.

Consider Six Characters in this regard. Heavily indebted to a total reconception of the theatrical space, the new version of the play now packed a full punch.

When the curtains opened on that play, a delightful scene unfurled: a barkeep in rolled-up shirt sleeves and striped apron called out to a waiter to cover the tables and thus the stage with linens, red and blue dishes, tin silverware, and sparkling glasses.

But not just from the wings. Their chatter mixed with the clamor of drums, pigs, and vendors selling their wares.

Worshippers and revelers gathered in the piazza in front of a little church on the first Sunday of September: the former to give thanks to the Lord who rescued sailors from a terrible shipwreck, the latter to attend the first pig slaughter of the season.

The people, the colors, the noises coming from every direction and the lights growing redder as the one-act went on created a phantasmagoric total-theater effect like the one Wagner had theorized.

And you want a tragedy more tragedy than this? Would he have seen a similar social critique, and, if so, what would he have done? Or would he have seen things differently?

A follower of crowd theorist Gustave Le Bon, il duce viewed the Italian masses as essentially irrational and therefore malleable, to be lifted out of their own tragedy and molded into new fascist men and women.

He was in agreement with the fiercely antidemocratic Pirandello, then, on the precise point the play brought to the fore: there was a people out there that would be beastly until someone tamed it.

Maybe they were just what he was looking for. When the Blackshirt militia marched on Rome in October , its intent was revolution: the destruction of a democratic parliamentary system in favor of a totalitarian one in which bourgeois individualism would be replaced by utter dedication to the state and il duce.

Nor was he out to establish a single fascist style, notwithstanding a clear preference for modernist forms of art and architecture.

If not, woe betide. I shall therefore await for Your Excellency to grant us supreme, definitive assistance so as to resolve this situation which embarrasses me and is an obstacle to the free movement of my activities just at the moment when I have the greatest need.

He explained that he would accompany his actors abroad on tour, giving conferences and interviews. Mussolini knows how to govern a state with the same ability with which Mr.

Pirandello writes a play. The reflected prestige Pirandello could bring to the dictatorship, at home and abroad, was a clear motivation to back his endeavor.

Despite the ongoing efforts, the financial troubles eventually became insurmountable, and Pirandello was exhausted by the multiple burdens administrative, emotional, and financial of being capocomico.

When the initial three-year charter expired, he dissolved the company. The Pirandello tale, told in isolation, fails to communicate such complexity.

In his last years Pirandello felt out of sympathy with a government of which earlier in his life he had held high hopes.

Mussolini and his ministers consciously worked to blur such boundaries as high versus low culture, art versus popular theater, art versus propaganda.

Many productions for the masses were indeed quite worthy, theatrically and artistically speaking; this is, however, a point beyond the scope of this essay.

More pertinent here are two important issues: first, that the regime also continued to pursue the possibility of a more traditional National Theater structure and to back the theatrical vanguard and, second, that these efforts were conceived as complementary to and not in competition with productions for the masses.

Pirandello pursued the National Theater project until his death. We must learn to wait, because he needs time; woe unto those who get tired of waiting.

There were no certain outcomes here. In , the Italian Society of Authors and Editors created the Burcardo Theatre library, attached to the Teatro Argentina which had always been a likely candidate to house an eventual state auditorium.

Prampolini of Futurist Pantomime Theater fame returned to Italy in and served as scenographer, as did Antonio Valente who designed the aforementioned carri di Tespi.

Facing the impending closure of his Teatro degli Indipendenti back in , he proposed to do something bigger and better.

Bring us, oh Duce, out of this catacomb of believers, make faith triumph! It was, instead, the necessary proving grounds for any such endeavors and a training area for its artists.

I spoke of a Faustian pact for Pirandello, but perhaps it was Bragaglia who sold his soul. Such repugnant, although isolated, events coexisted alongside those that were, from an artistic point of view, thrilling.

By now historians have amply demonstrated that fascism was at its core a modernist political movement and that the regime conceived of the relationship between art and politics in fundamentally modern ways.

If this epoch is truly fascist to the core, all that is of lasting value and is accomplished during its course will bear the visible imprint of fascism.

Six Characters had already played in fourteen countries, with major productions in London, New York, Paris, and Berlin between and He sent shock waves across Europe and America.

He was a herald of a new modern theater. And, as he made sure everybody knew, Mussolini was behind him all the way. And yet, if we consider Pirandello privileged, we need to think of him as a model, not as an exception.

I could limit my discussion to the personalities, institutions, and shows already mentioned, as it is difficult to deny the regime its theatrical avant-garde credentials when we consider the artists and productions it actively promoted.

By definition, being avant-garde is about leading the way. These gave training and experience to technicians and actors, but perhaps their greatest feat was the creation of a new generation of directors.

After the war, directors came to dominate, absolutely, the Italian theater. Initially, there were twelve founders, but by the time they signed the papers on October 6, , the shareholders were in fact eleven.

Unless otherwise noted, all translations in this essay are my own. Corrado Alvaro, in Il Risorgimento, April 3, , in PC, English translation from Susan Bassnett and Jennifer Lorch, Luigi Pirandello in the Theater London: Routledge, , This is doc.

This sum amounted to more than the liberal government had provided for all prose and opera performance in , the year before il duce came to power.

See Luigi Pirandello, Saggi e interviste, ed. Ferdinando Taviani Milan: Mondadori, , and Pupo, Interviste a Pirandello, Pirandello, Saggi e interviste, From an interview with O.

Gilbertini, November 27, Reviews and rehearsal photos, however, indicate that the director was not successful in attempts to abolish the prompter.

See Gaspare Giudice, Pirandello: A Biography, trans. Alastair Hamilton London: Oxford University Press , Gilbertini, La Tribuna November 27, in Pirandello, Saggi e interviste, For a performance history of the play, see Jennifer Lorch, Pirandello: Six Characters in Search of an Author Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Tinterri, Savinio e lo spettacolo, April 3, , Il Tevere, in PC, Bassnett and Lorch , Documentary, Luigi Pirandello, La Sagra, Corrado Alvaro, Cronache e scritti teatrali Rome: Edizioni Abete, , 76; Bassnett and Lorch, Documentary, See in particular Emilio Gentile, Il culto del littorio Rome: Laterza, [] , in English, The Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy, trans.

Keith Botsford Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, Alvaro, Cronache e scritti teatrali, April 12, , in PC, Mussolini, in his interviews with Emil Ludwig.

Emil Ludwig, Colloqui con Mussolini ; Milan: Mondadori, , Yvon De Begnac, Taccuini Mussoliniani, ed.

Francesco Perfetti ; Bologna: Mulino, , An early adherent of the PNF, he had written a successful biography of il duce in and was close enough to Mussolini to facilitate communication between him and Pirandello in the early stages of their collaboration.

Bontempelli would be a vocal devotee of Mussolini for at least the first decade of his rule; il duce, in turn, enthusiastically praised him throughout the years and personally pushed for his nomination to the Royal Academy of Italian Intellectuals in Massimo Bontempelli, Il Neosofista e altri scritti Milan: Mondadori, , Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol.

Marco Praga, Cronache teatrali Milan: Treves, , June 29, , quoted in PC, Lorch, Pirandello, See Documentary, Excerpt translated in Love Letters, The complete set of letters, with the exception of a handful the Pirandello Estate did not authorize, can be found in Luigi Pirandello, Lettere a Marta Abba, ed.

Benito Ortolani Milan: Mondadori, The Gruppi Universitari Fascisti sponsored various cultural activities, including film and theater groups.

For the crowds of La Sagra e Gli dei, Pirandello used students from the Santa Cecilia acting academy, in part of an attempt to give students professional experience alongside academic instruction.

Translated in Jeffrey T. Gentile, Origini, Ferdinando Taviani, Uomini di scena, uomini di libro: La scena sulla coscienza ; Rome: Officina, , Trapped in France after the Nazi invasion in , Hasenclever committed suicide.

Bronnen was from his teenage years attracted to both extremes of the political spectrum. However, he quickly fell out of favor due to both the avant-garde form and lurid sexual content of his work.

In , Bronnen became a Communist, and after the war he enjoyed the support, if not perhaps the complete trust, of the GDR. They not only expose the deficiencies of the legal system and the bourgeois order it supports, but they attack law and authority in any form.

This chapter examines the plays against the broader context of early twentieth-century avant-garde performance and German politics.

During this era, invocations of aesthetic and political violence intertwine in the writings of both theater artists and vanguardist politicians.

Goebbels paints war in apocalyptic terms, as violence so extreme and complete as to baffle the imagination. Intensity, grandeur, and boundlessness are all characteristic of the sublime.

First appearing in a Roman treatise describing a particularly heightened rhetorical style, the concept of the sublime emerged in its modern form during the eighteenth century.

Immanuel Kant and Edmund Burke, two of its earliest and most important theorists, describe it as an aesthetic response to experiences of limitlessness.

From the fourteenth century until late in the nineteenth, European theater also became increasingly representational, in the sense that it aimed for increasing illusionism.

Hasenclever and Bronnen portray patricide as an act of war generating a sublime, nonrepresentational mode of both politics and performance.

In the process, they reveal troubling affinities with key currents in interwar right-wing German thought, including Nazism, which likewise hailed war as a sublime event forging forms of performance and politics beyond representation.

Politics as War Zone The Son and Patricide hover on the border between avant-garde experiment and nineteenth-century illusionism.

Yet as Patricide progresses, the repetitions and ellipses increasingly signal not the hesitations of everyday speech, but the distortion and collapse of language under an overwhelming emotional onslaught.

Surrealism expects nothing save from violence. They portray such situations as generating the sublime, suggesting that they possess an authenticity and intensity that resist any form of limitation or mediation.

Marinetti, Artaud, and Breton want to capture these qualities in theatrical performance. At the same time, they see actual war as both the supreme political act and ultimate avant-garde performance.

While Hasenclever expresses himself in a more measured manner, he too suggests that patricide releases his protagonist from all restraints.

The patricides achieve this effect within their respective dramas. Anticipating subsequent generations of performance artists, the Son performs himself.

The story of suffering he relates is his own personal history; the scars he shows the crowd are real, not stage makeup.

Hasenclever and Bronnen represent the patricides not simply as bids for individual liberation, but as acts of revolutionary warfare.

In the modern West, supreme political authority typically rests with centralized states. At the same time, it delegitimizes violence deployed by those not acting as representatives of the state.

The Father resorts to having his Son arrested and returned home by the police because he has lost the ability to control the Son on his own.

Fessel senior is determined to turn Walter into a lawyer because he wants his son to represent the downtrodden in their grievances against the rich and powerful, and so gain retribution for the hardships Fessel and his family have suffered.

While the Father and Fessel permit the state to represent them against their enemies, Walter and the Son take violence into their own hands.

In doing so, the protagonists transform the political realm into a war zone. Wars occur in situations where a monopoly on violence, and hence a sovereign political authority, are absent.

And as Hobbes observes, there is no monopoly on violence in the international arena: nation-states exist in the same anarchic relationship to each other as do individuals in the mythical state of nature.

The playwrights depict this transposition as an act of liberation. However, the sublime conception of freedom that he and Bronnen herald bears little resemblance to that found within the liberal democratic tradition, where the state maintains a firm monopoly on violence and periodic elections are designed to substitute for armed conflict between opposing factions.

But while some anarchists condoned violence as a technique for achieving their political goals, major figures like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Mikhail Bakunin tended to picture a stateless society as the epitome of order and peace.

This is not an ideal that Hasenclever and Bronnen share. Instead, the playwrights are drawn to the moment of orgiastic violence itself, suggesting that war offers the only truly representation-free politics.

Such sentiments do play a significant role within a certain apocalyptic strain of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European political discourse, one that, at least initially, fostered uncanny affinities between the far Left and extreme Right.

In the years preceding World War I, a wide variety of political figures joined with the avant-gardes in suggesting that sublime violence could become the vehicle for a more authentic and vital form of politics than that found within the bourgeois legal state.

That we have so long failed to appreciate this, is proof how effeminate the science of the state as treated by the hands of civilians has finally become.

Life is built on cruelty, horror, force. Moreover, like the playwrights, he sees war as a sublime aesthetic and political event. Sorel insists on the importance of political myths as catalysts for revolutionary action.

A variety of interwar German intellectuals looked to the destruction and chaos of the recent war as a model for the kind of ethos they hoped to instill in postwar Weimar society.

Schmitt, who would go on to serve the Nazi regime, cites war as the basis for all genuine politics. Likewise the various large parties acknowledge the need to adopt means of power that express the fact that the battle of opinions will not be decided solely through votes and programs but also by the stalwarts committed to march in support of those programs.

By , 25 percent of all men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five could claim membership in a paramilitary group. The playwrights contribute to a broader shift in early twentieth-century German discourse, in which a paramilitary street-fighter might appear more admirable than the desk-bound parliamentarian, and bloodshed nobler than rational discussion and compromise.

Total Power, Total Theater Despite their longing for individual liberation, Hasenclever and Bronnen share a fascination with unlimited power, and suggest that, through patricide, their protagonists gain omnipotence.

In this dazzling nothingness, all and nothing are closely allied, since both are absolved from limits. It is for this reason that feeling utterly inconsiderable can tip over into a sense of omnipotence.

As previously noted, the speech breaks down the barrier between performer and audience, aesthetic event and lived experience.

However, this transformation does not enable the audience to challenge or critique the performance, but instead serves as a means for the performer to gain power over the audience.

The Son in turn asserts a similar form of control albeit half-unwittingly over the audience; while he does not literally hypnotize them, Hasenclever suggests that his performance achieves an equally mesmerizing effect.

Hasenclever and Bronnen depict the patricides themselves as even more emphatic performances of power.

The Son and Walter force the fathers to participate in their performances. They confirm their absolute power over their progenitors, wiping them out of existence.

While presenting themselves as restoring order to the nation, they actually enshrined the limitlessness and lawlessness of war at the very heart of state authority, in a sovereign authority embodying unlimited power and unchecked violence.

While most of the party leadership shared an intense hostility toward modernist art and literature, Nazi rallies were, like many avant-garde performances, designed to dismantle any psychic barrier between the star performer and other participants.

Hitler describes speech-making in the way that Marinetti and Artaud describe the ideal performance: as both an artistic act and a form of assault.

It alone gives its chosen one the words which like hammer blows can open the gates to the heart of a people. It overcomes the last rudiments of collapsing epochs and clears a free path for the future.

There must be destruction if there is to be new creation. Like Hasenclever and Bronnen, but on an exponentially grander scale, the Nazis viewed the ideal performance as an exercise in subjugation through annihilation.

It is a long way from patricide to world war; neither Hasenclever nor Bronnen advocate for anything like wholesale slaughter the Nazis engaged in.

Hasenclever, like several other expressionist dramatists, often dispenses with individual character names. In The Son, he designates the main characters by their relationship to the Son Friend, Governess, Father , except for the Son himself who, Hasenclever suggests, is defined by his relationship to the Father.

Unless otherwise noted, all translations from German are my own. Walter Sokel, The Writer in Extremis: Expressionism in Twentieth Century German Literature New York: McGraw-Hill, , Sokel, The Writer in Extremis, Roderick Stackelberg and Sally A.

Winkle London: Routledge, , Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Selected Writings, ed. Flint, trans. Flint and Arthur A.

Coppotelli New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, , 42, Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful Oxford: Oxford University Press, , 67; Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, trans.

Werner S. Pluhar Indianapolis: Hackett, , Walter Hasenclever, Dramen Berlin: Die Schmiede Verlag, , Marinetti, Selected Writings, Richard Seaver and Helen R.

Lane Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, , Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo: Some Points of Agreement between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics, trans.

Arnold Bronnen, Vatermord, in Werke, vol. Hasenclever, Dramen, 56, Bronnen, Vatermord, Hasenclever, Dramen, Hasenclever, Dramen, , Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan New York: E.

Dutton, , Hasenclever, Dramen, , 53, ; Bronnen, Vatermord, Peter Vershov New York: Columbia University Press, , Georges Sorel, Reflections on Violence, trans.

Hulme New York: Peter Smith, , Sorel, Reflections on Violence, Sorel, Reflections on Violence, , , Carl Schmitt, The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy, trans.

Kennedy Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, , Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, trans. George Schwab Chicago: University of Chicago Press, , Schmitt, Concept of the Political, Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg Berkeley: University of California Press, , Timothy S.

Brown, Weimar Radicals: Nazis and Communists Between Authenticity and Performance New York: Berghahn Books, , Brown, Weimar Radicals, Terry Eagleton, Holy Terror Oxford: Oxford University Press, , Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty, trans.

George Schwab Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, , Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History New York: Hill and Wang, , , , Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, trans.

Nevertheless, this quote seems revealing. Following the Thatcher and Major administrations there was an apparent renaissance of planning under New Labour.

This ac. Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti are co-hosts of Rising at The Hill TV, one of the fastest growing political shows in Amer.

This is a major new account of how modern humanitarian action was shaped by transformations in the French intellectual a.

While the field of research in right-wing populism has recently been blossoming and is expanding, a systematic look into.

Perry Anderson, eminent historian of the New Left, assesses the competing claims of rival intellectual groupings from th. Or when teaching August Strindberg, who is known as an experimental playwright, social radical, and innovative thinker, but whose misogynist rant in the preface to his play Miss Julie is so nauseating to contemporary sensibilities that editors sometimes silently expunge it from the rest of the preface.

The question drawn from all these nonexceptional exceptions, then, is this: Can we create a critical discourse that fully takes into account issues of aesthetic autonomy and ideological unruliness in vanguard performance, even if such a discourse disturbs our own aesthetic or political desires?

But substantive critical discourse does not often emerge from self-congratulatory cheerleading for ideas and projects one agrees with. Nor does complex thought emerge from simple moral condemnation.

Imaginative engagement with a subject the critic finds objectionable is avoided only at great cost to understanding. In the pamphlets, the Jews are at the heart of international conspiracies, swarming over Europe, desecrating morals, and practicing sexual perversions.

This is a much harder task, and one that most people would not want to do. When we take the easy way, we miss the opportunity to trace far more complex patterns of thought and aesthetics and to investigate some unexpected, if uncomfortable, interweavings of desire and politics in performance.

Notes 1. Henry Hardy New York: Alfred A. Richard J. First thanks are due here to the contributors, who joined this volume as they would an exciting conversation.

It is because of their originality, fearlessness, and intellectual vigor that the book came into being. Conferences hosted by Performance Studies International, the International Federation for Theatre Research, and the American Society for Theater Research ASTR provided venues for these ideas to be discussed and tested.

Earlier versions of some chapters have appeared in other publications, and we thank the publishers for their permission to use and repurpose these essays.

Many thanks to Elinor Fuchs, whose conversation was an ongoing source of inspiration. I also appreciate the anonymous readers who reviewed this manuscript with care and imagination.

And, of course, I warmly thank LeAnn Fields, who encouraged and helped shape the project with her characteristic rigor and astuteness.

This book owes a special debt of gratitude to three people. Blake Morris, my research assistant, tracked down resources and references and enthusiastically wrestled with the debates.

This is far from the only moment in which those connections have broken down. This volume situates an international array of vanguard art forms at multiple and often surprising points on the sociopolitical spectrum.

It brings into focus vanguard performances that support totalitarian regimes, avant-garde art that promotes conservative values, innovative acts crafted and deployed by reactionaries, and left-wing avantgardism that has been effectively snapped up by a regime it sought to oppose.

The central paradox of the volume is this: innovative performances designed to challenge established power structures can be deployed in deliberate, passionate support of established and even oppressive power structures.

Fascists funded art theaters; contemporary neoliberal systems thrive on artistic innovation; and progressives have no monopoly on the avant-garde.

One reason that right-wing, reactionary, and totalitarian politics in experimental art have been explored more thoroughly in fields outside of performance is this: the apparent political bias of the field of vanguard performance studies itself, a critical tendency to highlight certain, usually progressive, political associations with vanguard performance.

Case studies abound on leftist radical theater and performance. Performance works directly on the body, encouraging, exalting, and, with repetition, training it.

Performance puts politics in motion, embodying and expressing social knowledge and ways of being in the world.

A set of living gestures reflects and supports social and political structures; performance affects the sensory forms of human experience. The reception of the work of filmmaker and photographer Leni Riefenstahl brilliantly illuminates the need for performance scholarship in the study of political aesthetics.

The critic creates a lineage that connects what she saw in Triumph of the Will to descendants who deal in formal beauty, grandeur, a kind of modern emptiness, and the masses.

It was the orchestration of those massed bodies at Nuremberg. It is to be found in live performance, the moving body politic.

It is not the representation of the event, but the phenomenon itself. Performance aesthetics address the central nervous system, achieving their distinct influence by affecting multiple levels of sensory reception.

It is largely constrained by tradition to signify a Euro-American artistic tendency from roughly the end of the nineteenth century to the s.

It comes into being as a response to a crisis. The critical field tends to connect avant-garde with progressive politics for this reason: modern Western culture associates experimental performance with institutional opposition, a legacy most vividly remembered today in terms of the progressive revolutions of the s.

Even the historical avant-garde does not embody a consistent set of ideals that is only occasionally troubled with an exception here for Italian futurism, an exception there for Luigi Pirandello.

Indeed, the historical avant-garde often relied on sexist, racist, primitivist, and imperialist notions, a fact reflected in avant-garde historiography, as recently argued by James Harding and others.

Today, the political and cultural binaries underlying our traditional understanding of avant-garde performance no longer hold. It is not against anything; it is merely a style.

An avant-garde defines itself by its relationship to institutions, not primarily by its style. So formal innovation is a necessary, but not sufficient, criterion for vanguardism.

It attempts to envision and establish an alternate social or aesthetic picture. It holds iconoclastic ideals, which occur on a spectrum that reaches both to individualism and to subsumption.

I propose we think of vanguard performance as a constant in modern culture and politics, one with no political or ideological home base.

Heroic, Exalted, and Right-Wing Vanguards This volume focuses on instances when vanguard performance troubles conventional political affiliations and categories.

The works or artists explored here vary widely, but these essays all seek to correct a predilection in critical discussions of vanguard performance toward foregrounding leftist, progressive, or liberal politics.

Such performances may do so unintentionally, paradoxically leading to constrictions of individual expression and freedom when they sought to expand them.

In addition, the following characteristics reappear in the works discussed: heroism, the moral valuation of violence, immersion, and emotionalism.

Not all the works discussed embody all these characteristics, and in fact some features combat each other. The anthology is fueled by such tensions.

Richard Schechner, Patricia Gaborik, Monica Achen, Graham White, and Kara Reilly investigate al-Qaeda, the structures of power within vanguard performances that serve fascism, and the restoration of Japanese imperial rule.

Heroism, or, more generally, the courageous outsider resisting the system, is a ubiquitous ideal across competing political systems and ideologies.

His chapter raises questions explored by other essays in the volume and expands our range of conceptual possibilities for what we call avant-garde performance.

Schechner acknowledges what composer Karlheinz Stockhausen blurted out first: that the attacks were remarkable from an artistic point of view in their conception, execution, and impact.

He wrote paeans to Il Duce, praising him as an artist of the people, an architect of the state, a heroic soul whose superior vision was needed to guide Italy into the future.

These facts are readily available to anyone researching Pirandello, but they can be missed if one is only reading his plays.

Pirandello has managed to live two lives in contemporary imaginations. One: the author of pivotal plays such as Six Characters in Search of an Author and Enrico IV, and two for the researcher : a man who supported Il Duce.

Japanese modernity inspired an imperial backlash and created a national identity crisis that found violent expression in the arts. Throughout history and across cultures, the feeling of oneness created by participatory live performance is constantly conjured in vanguard practices.

Muddled political affiliations recur throughout this part, and the authors demonstrate the reason: the artists create performance works that, by their very structures, encourage a loss of individual freedoms and thought.

Odai Johnson, Katherine Profeta, Ann Pellegrini, and Erik Butler study choral dance, mass performance, participatory religious theater, and immersive musical concerts, respectively, which all hold out the same promise: relief from the perceived failures of society, a sense of triumph and belonging.

In doing so, they draw on mythic narratives and the visceral power of choreographed bodies in space. Artists are key to regimes trying to establish a new world, because artists are mythmakers.

Their work is essential to political solidification. Their overwhelming, marching, smothering sound operating within the controlled confines of a monumental visceral experience directly copies the fascist aesthetic.

Even progressive vanguard performances can easily be recuperated by nearly invisible but enormously powerful right-wing structures.

The authors investigate these moments of reappropriation, instrumentalization, and political exploitation in order to understand more clearly in what context contemporary vanguard performance can possibly function meaningfully.

In this section, innovative work trips up its originators and entangles them in the hands of their enemies.

By trying to change the established terms, vanguardists studied here inadvertently help to create a new status quo. War is a major site of innovation.

Communication technologies, manufacturing processes, and social planning evolve in response to the changing needs of combat. James Harding argues that war produced another kind of vanguard performance: espionage.

They thus ignored the warning and sent crucial classified information directly to the Germans. The British agents wound up as unwitting players in a performance out of their control.

Their lesson appropriately begins this section: Vanguard performers can get so thoroughly caught up in their new ideas that they inadvertently aid their enemies.

The contemporary global market has definitively proven that innovation fuels conservative and neoliberal economies, as the market gobbles up every new idea and uses it to spur its own growth.

This is also the scene that brings us productions that attempt to rewrite, socially update, or redirect classical works from their sexist, racist, and otherwise biased roots.

Finally, Mike Sell steps back and surveys the field of avant-garde studies itself, noticing a disturbing reinscription of the pattern mapped in the previous three essays: Vanguardism is frequently taken up by mainstream scholars and institutions in a way that keeps subversive ideas officially on the margins, while surreptitiously adopting the more profitable ideas.

But if scholarship stops there, it fails to honor the intellectual rigor and engagement with divergent ideas that the academy espouses.

In doing so, our hope is that it opens up new questions concerning the historical avant-garde, vanguard acts, and the complex role of artistic innovation and live performance in global politics.

For studies in art and literature, see, for example, Matthew Affron and Mark Antliff, eds. For examples of fascist art discussed in other art fields, see studies on Ezra Pound and T.

Eliot, which proliferate. See Charles Ferrall, Modernist Writing and Reactionary Politics New York: Cambridge University Press, for a recent work in this vein.

In film, see Kriss Ravetto, The Unmaking of Fascist Aesthetics Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Jonathan Steinberg New York: Berghahn Books, Just as surely, we should work to identify, assess, criticize and undermine those avant-gardes that intend to curtail justice, degrade the planetary ecosystem or enslave and exploit the power to imagine and enact a better tomorrow.

Mike Sell, Avant-Garde Performance and the Limits of Criticism Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, , I examine this tendency in regard to Antonin Artaud in Artaud and His Doubles Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, In short, performance is already excluded from the questions they have allowed themselves to ask.

Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish New York: Vintage Books, , She enacted the inverse of this in her interpretation of Antonin Artaud, whose techniques she read in the light of her empathy for his suffering.

Quoted from the American denazification report in Steven Bach, Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl New York: Vintage, , Strobl, Swastika and Stage, James Harding demonstrates in Not the Other Avant-Garde that the historiography of the avant-garde itself is bound up in a Eurocentric and colonialist narrative that perceives history as a linear movement of expansion.

Rebecca Schneider, The Explicit Body in Performance New York: Routledge, , According to Sell, the avant-garde must challenge power, be a minority, and work within culture.

Discussed in Affron and Antliff, Fascist Visions, 6. Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, These essays address both the public and the private performance spheres in which modernism offered radical solutions to artists whose worldviews had been utterly consumed and recast by the global wars of the twentieth century.

If, as Benjamin once remarked, every generation sees itself on the edge of an abyss, these are artists who, having crawled out of that abyss, sought to re-create it.

The historical moments included here share a valorization of violence and submission and an enhanced understanding of the process by which performance generates phenomenal reality and relays it to the distributed audiences of mass media.

We can trace that process throughout these essays. The famous incident in which he offered his Nobel Prize medal to be melted into war material is one of the points at which artistic reflection becomes gestural activism.

The gesture is symbolic, but the result is not. Literature can envision but not enact; performance can enact but cannot transform. Pirandello took to the stage; Williamson strove to become a maker of events; and Mishima brought desire, power, and radical transformation together in a moment of totalizing performance in which he extinguished himself.

The vision of machine-death summoned out of the sky, and its compulsion to aesthetics, have been components of the modernist imagination ever since Percival Lowell announced that he saw canals on Mars in The development of the European avant-garde parallels the rapid developments in mass media at the end of the nineteenth century, and it can be plotted against the domestication of wireless communications and radio.

In the mid-nineteenth century, telegraphy opened up the commercial possibilities of remote communication: nationalism plus markets plus telegraphy equaled imperialism.

Telegraphy itself, prior to the invention of the wireless, was one of the formative conditions of modernism, roughly defined as the global era in which discourses of humanity and human subjectivity come to define the principles of economic and cultural traffic.

At the heart of modernity was the ability of mass communications to disseminate, mobilize, and silence social phenomena. The rapid social acceptance of radio and the exponentially increasing sales of home wireless receivers brought about a radical transformation of North American culture that can only be compared in scale to the digital revolution of the late twentieth century.

The wireless revolution opened up new cultural forms, new aesthetics, new political movements, new religions, and new understandings of reception and audience.

Radio manufacturers started broadcast stations to sell radios; stations sought new sounds to broadcast to recruit listeners, and in the process discovered that radio frequencies could be owned, and that time itself is a market commodity.

In this world of industrial technology and political revolution, artistic vanguardism of which the now canonical avant-garde that Schechner traces was but one trajectory was not a property of any one political community.

Piscator had been doing with theater exactly what Goebbels had been doing with radio. In both cases, electric technology transmitted somatic affect through performance distributed across multiplied bodies and summoned social pluralities in its reception.

For Piscator, live performance took place in a theater machine that integrated new media, and for Goebbels who, like Mussolini, dabbled in playwriting , the live audience and remote listeners were conjoined in one acoustic space.

This was a discovery that was instrumental for the vanguardist movements that had access to radio transmission. From his apartment, Richard Schechner watched the towers fall and thought of avantgarde catastrophic fantasy and Artaud.

The essays in this part all address similar moments when art envisioned and welcomed the abyss. Several of these essays invoke the idea of the sublime, of the totality that negates individuation in a vaster ontology.

The irony of that desire is that the modernist sublime materializes as a machine: a radio, a megaphone, a film camera, an airplane over a city, a robot drone over a desert.

Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, , You have people who are that focused on a performance and then 5, [sic] people are dispatched to the afterlife, in a single moment.

By comparison, we composers are nothing. Artists, too, sometimes try to go beyond the limits of what is feasible and conceivable, so that we wake up, so that we open ourselves to another world.

And no one announced that they risked losing their lives. What happened in spiritual terms, the leap out of security, out of what is usually taken for granted, out of life, that sometimes happens to a small extent in art, too, otherwise art is nothing.

Of what value is such a designation? Here are a few exemplary quotations, roughly decade by decade, from a large repertory: , from F.

There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character. Poetry must be a violent assault on the forces of the unknown, to force them to bow before man.

We want to demolish museums and libraries. For art can only be violence, cruelty, injustice. Preparing to put an end to mourning, and to replace tears by sirens spreading from one continent to another.

All real progress has clearly been suspended until the revolutionary solution of the present multiform crisis. Violent manifestos made real by actual explosions continued to be issued by groups such as the Weather Underground, not by artists.

Why did artists move away from advocating violence? I have no definite answer. Possibly, the realization that Soviet Communism failed to deliver the goods soured the taste for revolution.

This did not stop teachers and artists from honoring the futurists, dadaists, surrealists, and situationists. The theater must give us everything that is in crime, love, war, or madness, if it wants to recover its necessity.

Destroy the current order. Create a new order, or anarchy. Are these manifestos mere ineffectual fantasies of powerless artists?

Indeed, so-called high art and pop have merged just as news has melded into entertainment. Additionally, at least since , when Chris Burden had a friend shoot him in the arm, many performance artists have wounded themselves, opened their veins as art, suspended themselves from hooks, slaughtered animals, and in manifold ways used real violence in the arts.

Popular culture is full of tattoos, piercings, and cosmetic surgeries, which, whatever their psychological and sociological meanings, enact the desire to be beautiful.

Aestheticizing and ritualizing violence, not as representations as in the visual arts, theater, or other media but as actual acts performed in the here and now, are widespread.

But is this really so? First of all, beautification by means of intrusive body alteration is practiced all over the world.

Second, al-Qaeda and other jihadists are not averse to using those aspects of Western culture they find helpful. Bin Laden and his allies have taken advantage of the media and advanced technology, from the Internet to hijacked jets.

The technological sophistication of the jihadists debunks the ruling myth that they are primitive cave dwellers living in tribal areas.

In fact, no location is outside the global net, not even northeast Pakistan and Afghanistan; and no tribe or group of people is absolutely other.

Paradoxically, the West and the jihadists occupy very separate spheres from the point of view of values while sharing the same global system from the point of view of techniques.

In the media, where any mention is better than absence, jihadists and the warriors against terror compete for imagination space on the global stage.

Representations of the attacks are paradigmatic of the accelerating conflation of news and entertainment, and not only in the United States. In Yueqing, a newly industrialized city southwest of Shanghai, videos showing the attacks were for sale by September In larger cities, these videos probably were on the market even sooner.

As Peter Hessler reported from China: They stocked them on the same racks as the Hollywood movies. Bush, and the burning Twin Towers. On the back, a small icon noted that it had been rated R, for violence and language.

That is, the news is given in small temporal units, and after two or three items there is another temporal unit, a commercial break.

This format of program content and advertising running sequentially is the same for news, sports, drama, and various contestant shows quiz shows, American Idol, etc.

Internet sites such as YouTube and its many Internet cognates further blur the boundaries between the real and the fictional. There was also much pathos.

It all went under the overall official rubric of the war on terror. This series included many subplots.

Reporters were embedded with the troops on the ground. There were daily suicide bombings and attacks of what the government and media called insurgents.

Civilians were slaughtered in these bombings and also by the allied military. Bush was gussied up in a flight suit though he was a passenger, not the pilot.

Bush or a Tom Cruise impersonator? For performance theorists and historians, the collapse of aesthetic categories was already familiar from Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol.

But today most of the art world and the real world live in between these extremes. It is, to many Americans, simply the City, quintessentially American and foreign simultaneously.

If the planes had crashed into the towers three hours later, many more people would have died. If the two planes hit simultaneously or nearly so, the media would not have seen the collision, only the aftermath.

I believe the jihadists timed their hijackings as a one-two punch for maximum spectacular effect, synchronized to the morning news cycle in New York and midday in Europe.

Their intention was not to kill as many people as possible but to reach as large a spectatorship in the West as possible.

And what kind of imaginary is that? Regardless of who carried out the massacre, this violence is the legitimate daughter of the culture of violence, hunger and inhumane exploitation.

At present, I return to the question of art and of what kind. This leads me to the sublime as expounded by Immanuel Kant in It is a greatness comparable to itself alone.

Hence it comes that the sublime is not to be looked for in things of nature, but only in our own ideas. Can the horrible even as it is unfolding be experienced as art?

Even before Kant, in , Edmund Burke tackled this question in his treatise On the Sublime and Beautiful. And, of course, political and military action is still another.

Most of what we today call art carries an ideological or religious message. In the West, before the Renaissance and the advent of capitalism, there was no category of fine art as such.

At present, most art remains bound to forces outside itself and is not independent or disinterested. Most art is good or bad in an ethical-moral-political way in terms of values operating beyond or despite the work itself.

In other words, there may be some agreement universally about what is art and what is not, what is sublime and what is not, but there is no such agreement, nor can I foresee a time when there will be, about what is ethically-morally-politically good or bad.

Because Fo was not talking about art. And art is not as serious as politics; art is play, secondary, a representation. However, from the perspective of performance studies, the attack on the World Trade Center was a performance: planned, rehearsed, staged, and intended both to wound the United States materially and to affect and infect the imagination.

The destruction of two iconic buildings, and the murder of so many people in one fell swoop, was intended to deliver a very specific message about the boldness of the jihad and the vulnerability of the United States.

A performance, surely, but art? I believe that the attack can be understood as the actualization of key ideas and impulses driving the avant-garde.

Thierry de Duve writes: It is as if the history of the avant-gardes were a dialectical history cast off by the contradictions of art and non-art, the history of a prohibition and of its transgression.

This is a duty and not a right. It was illegal art from the point of view of international law because it targeted civilians. But it was avant-garde art from the point of view of the tradition I am discussing.

Is this kind of analysis perverse, not only doing dishonor to the dead and injured but also soiling what art is or ought to be?

Does such a designation grant the jihadists much more than they deserve? And does it help us understand better the world we are living in?

Stockhausen was actually envious of the jihadists. What other art act has done that? Having just written this, I confess that I am very uncomfortable.

I have reasoned my way into a position that I ethically reject. Maybe my way out is to assert that art requires artists who consciously choose to make art and spectators who willingly observe art.

This, surely, is the modern humanist tradition. But there are ritual performances that are extremely powerful, performatively and artistically, in terms of structure, color, rhythms, narratives, and so on and that require and enforce participation and witnessing.

Indeed, many artworks are not the products of free will. Are only the planners and overlords artists, and not the workers or victims?

Consider the pyramids of Egypt and Teotihuacan, Mexico, generally regarded as architectural masterpieces.

The Egyptian pyramids were constructed by slaves, and the Teotihuacan pyramids and surrounding ceremonial site show that human sacrifices took place.

Time washes the blood off the stones; the magnificent stones remain unstained by what once were the immediacies of experience. Their very presence on the planes and in the Twin Towers marked them as participating in hated Western culture.

To this way of thinking, there are no neutrals, no bystanders. Still, neither Mohammed Atta nor the other hijackers thought of themselves as artists.

In the unfolding event, visual artists, performance artists, writers, artists of any kind can do just about anything with what happened.

But all these works are reflective. They came after raw, unmediated events. This nowness is fundamental. It does not cancel out representations after the fact: the documentaries, dramas, films, writings, firsthand accounts, and memorials all came later, on September 12 and after.

But they were supplemental to the attack itself, which was already a media event as it was happening. These were not accounts of what happened; nor were they ongoingly part of the attack.

They were collateral theater parallel to collateral damage in a military operation. Even while the Twin Towers were burning, people sought information about missing loved ones.

The media picked up on these notices, which individually were simply pieces of paper but collectively walls of anxiety and grief.

Each notice carried its own hope against hopelessness. No one knows exactly how many people found each other through this means. Soon enough, the notices were joined by flowers, a sure sign of condolence.

These notices were part of the spectacle even as they provided a human-scale entry into experiencing what was happening. I wish I had a neat conclusion to my ruminations.

The terrace of my apartment has a clear view of lower Manhattan. That morning, I was watching television when I heard shouts from workmen constructing a New York University building on La Guardia Place.

I went onto my terrace, looked south, and about one mile away I saw the blazing North Tower. I thought it was a horrible accident but wondered how such an accident could happen on a day when the sky was blue and clear.

Moments later, I saw a plane flying low make a sharp turn from north to west. Something banal and full of shock. Then I saw the plane slice into the South Tower as smoothly as a hot knife into butter.

Not a sound. A silent movie in full color. A great ball of orange flame and black smoke. It was terrifying; it was sublime; it was horrible; it was beautiful.

After that, except for about forty-five minutes when my wife and I fetched our daughter from school, I stood on my terrace with some neighbors who had come over because they knew of the view.

We watched as the towers came down, et cetera. What did I do? I offered people something to drink and eat, told them where the bathroom was.

From the terrace we watched and talked, amazed, horrified, excited, scared, fascinated. We used binoculars. We saw some people flinging themselves from the towers.

But it was a lot more complicated than that. I had seen high-wire acts in circuses. What was happening was all in silence.

People walked back and forth between the terrace and the television room. When new people arrived, they brought rumors and information.

We took in what passed for analysis by media pundits. But, most important, everyone was very aware that from the terrace looking south we were watching the thing itself.

What we saw and heard on television were explanations and rationalizations both describing and shaping reactions, reporting events and instructing us the receivers how we were to react.

The coverage and talking heads gave us both a wider horizon with which to comprehend what we were witnessing and close-ups at and near Ground Zero.

As I watched both in person and on television, I knew that whatever else it was, I was experiencing a spectacle, a live movie, real history happening, et cetera.

Globally speaking, we were a divided audience. Or, if you will, the destruction is the means toward the end of creating terror, which is a state of mind.

At least from the Western side. Al-Qaeda and its adherents saw in the attack the very wrath of God. And the sky can still fall on our heads.

And the theater has been created to teach us that first of all. We address ourselves to the imagination and feelings of people: we are therefore supposed to achieve the most vivid and decisive kind of action.

The Art History Archive. Lilith Gallery Network, web, accessed July 22, Situationist Manifesto, trans. Fabian Thompsett, Situationist International Online, web, accessed July 22, Julian Beck, The Life of the Theatre: The Relation of the Artist to the Struggle of the People San Francisco: City Lights, , entry Antonin Artaud, The Theater and Its Double, trans.

Mary C. For more on the relationship between terrorism and television, see Daniel Dayan, ed. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, in Immanuel Kant Philosophical Writings, ed.

Ernst Behler New York: Continuum, , Kant, Critique of Judgment, Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, with Several Other Additions, Harvard Classics, ed.

Charles W. See www. Frank Lentricchia and Jody McAuliffe, Crimes of Art and Terror Chicago: University of Chicago Press, , Lentricchia and McAuliffe, Crimes, Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle , trans.

Ken Knabb London: Verso, Artaud, Theater and Its Double, Newspapers had talked up the opening for months, and Mussolini had already announced he would be there.

If he hoped to convince il duce to create a National Theater, and make him its director, he would need to make an impression.

But at p. Indeed, it must have been hard to decide where to look: at the strong crowd packed onto the tiny stage, at the nervy Eleven in their seats, or at His Excellency, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, visible to the entire house in the brand-new proscenium box above.

The tale of these two theaters and the vast system of which they were a part offers formidable challenges to the stubbornly held commonplaces that in theatrical matters il duce and his hierarchs were only interested in propaganda, that their rise to power in sounded the death knell of creativity, that fascism killed the avant-garde.

Back in October , just days shy of the first anniversary of the March on Rome that brought the regime to power, il duce had summoned the playwright to his office.

Encouraged by their first meeting, the flattered thespian did just that. Thus their partnership began. It was, evidently, a sensational gesture that had been agreed upon behind closed doors, and it delighted Mussolini as much as it dismayed his opponents.

They would also introduce unknown foreign plays and authors to the Italian public, providing the exchange that was vital to creativity.

And now, for Pirandello, Marchi worked wonders once again: the sleek silver and purple decor was a sort of shiny futurist baroque, preparing the audience for ultramodernity even before the curtain opened.

Characters should live on stage. His methods were as ahead of their day in Italy as his plays were and in turn had a direct impact on those texts.

Consider Six Characters in this regard. Heavily indebted to a total reconception of the theatrical space, the new version of the play now packed a full punch.

When the curtains opened on that play, a delightful scene unfurled: a barkeep in rolled-up shirt sleeves and striped apron called out to a waiter to cover the tables and thus the stage with linens, red and blue dishes, tin silverware, and sparkling glasses.

But not just from the wings. Their chatter mixed with the clamor of drums, pigs, and vendors selling their wares. Worshippers and revelers gathered in the piazza in front of a little church on the first Sunday of September: the former to give thanks to the Lord who rescued sailors from a terrible shipwreck, the latter to attend the first pig slaughter of the season.

The people, the colors, the noises coming from every direction and the lights growing redder as the one-act went on created a phantasmagoric total-theater effect like the one Wagner had theorized.

And you want a tragedy more tragedy than this? Would he have seen a similar social critique, and, if so, what would he have done? Or would he have seen things differently?

A follower of crowd theorist Gustave Le Bon, il duce viewed the Italian masses as essentially irrational and therefore malleable, to be lifted out of their own tragedy and molded into new fascist men and women.

He was in agreement with the fiercely antidemocratic Pirandello, then, on the precise point the play brought to the fore: there was a people out there that would be beastly until someone tamed it.

Maybe they were just what he was looking for. When the Blackshirt militia marched on Rome in October , its intent was revolution: the destruction of a democratic parliamentary system in favor of a totalitarian one in which bourgeois individualism would be replaced by utter dedication to the state and il duce.

Nor was he out to establish a single fascist style, notwithstanding a clear preference for modernist forms of art and architecture.

If not, woe betide. I shall therefore await for Your Excellency to grant us supreme, definitive assistance so as to resolve this situation which embarrasses me and is an obstacle to the free movement of my activities just at the moment when I have the greatest need.

He explained that he would accompany his actors abroad on tour, giving conferences and interviews.

Mussolini knows how to govern a state with the same ability with which Mr. Pirandello writes a play. The reflected prestige Pirandello could bring to the dictatorship, at home and abroad, was a clear motivation to back his endeavor.

Despite the ongoing efforts, the financial troubles eventually became insurmountable, and Pirandello was exhausted by the multiple burdens administrative, emotional, and financial of being capocomico.

When the initial three-year charter expired, he dissolved the company. The Pirandello tale, told in isolation, fails to communicate such complexity.

In his last years Pirandello felt out of sympathy with a government of which earlier in his life he had held high hopes.

Mussolini and his ministers consciously worked to blur such boundaries as high versus low culture, art versus popular theater, art versus propaganda.

Many productions for the masses were indeed quite worthy, theatrically and artistically speaking; this is, however, a point beyond the scope of this essay.

More pertinent here are two important issues: first, that the regime also continued to pursue the possibility of a more traditional National Theater structure and to back the theatrical vanguard and, second, that these efforts were conceived as complementary to and not in competition with productions for the masses.

Pirandello pursued the National Theater project until his death. We must learn to wait, because he needs time; woe unto those who get tired of waiting.

There were no certain outcomes here. In , the Italian Society of Authors and Editors created the Burcardo Theatre library, attached to the Teatro Argentina which had always been a likely candidate to house an eventual state auditorium.

Prampolini of Futurist Pantomime Theater fame returned to Italy in and served as scenographer, as did Antonio Valente who designed the aforementioned carri di Tespi.

Facing the impending closure of his Teatro degli Indipendenti back in , he proposed to do something bigger and better.

Bring us, oh Duce, out of this catacomb of believers, make faith triumph! It was, instead, the necessary proving grounds for any such endeavors and a training area for its artists.

I spoke of a Faustian pact for Pirandello, but perhaps it was Bragaglia who sold his soul. Such repugnant, although isolated, events coexisted alongside those that were, from an artistic point of view, thrilling.

By now historians have amply demonstrated that fascism was at its core a modernist political movement and that the regime conceived of the relationship between art and politics in fundamentally modern ways.

If this epoch is truly fascist to the core, all that is of lasting value and is accomplished during its course will bear the visible imprint of fascism.

Six Characters had already played in fourteen countries, with major productions in London, New York, Paris, and Berlin between and He sent shock waves across Europe and America.

He was a herald of a new modern theater. And, as he made sure everybody knew, Mussolini was behind him all the way. And yet, if we consider Pirandello privileged, we need to think of him as a model, not as an exception.

I could limit my discussion to the personalities, institutions, and shows already mentioned, as it is difficult to deny the regime its theatrical avant-garde credentials when we consider the artists and productions it actively promoted.

By definition, being avant-garde is about leading the way. These gave training and experience to technicians and actors, but perhaps their greatest feat was the creation of a new generation of directors.

After the war, directors came to dominate, absolutely, the Italian theater. Initially, there were twelve founders, but by the time they signed the papers on October 6, , the shareholders were in fact eleven.

Unless otherwise noted, all translations in this essay are my own. Corrado Alvaro, in Il Risorgimento, April 3, , in PC, English translation from Susan Bassnett and Jennifer Lorch, Luigi Pirandello in the Theater London: Routledge, , This is doc.

This sum amounted to more than the liberal government had provided for all prose and opera performance in , the year before il duce came to power.

See Luigi Pirandello, Saggi e interviste, ed. Ferdinando Taviani Milan: Mondadori, , and Pupo, Interviste a Pirandello, Pirandello, Saggi e interviste, From an interview with O.

Gilbertini, November 27, Reviews and rehearsal photos, however, indicate that the director was not successful in attempts to abolish the prompter.

See Gaspare Giudice, Pirandello: A Biography, trans. Alastair Hamilton London: Oxford University Press , Gilbertini, La Tribuna November 27, in Pirandello, Saggi e interviste, For a performance history of the play, see Jennifer Lorch, Pirandello: Six Characters in Search of an Author Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Tinterri, Savinio e lo spettacolo, April 3, , Il Tevere, in PC, Bassnett and Lorch , Documentary, Luigi Pirandello, La Sagra, Corrado Alvaro, Cronache e scritti teatrali Rome: Edizioni Abete, , 76; Bassnett and Lorch, Documentary, See in particular Emilio Gentile, Il culto del littorio Rome: Laterza, [] , in English, The Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy, trans.

Keith Botsford Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, Alvaro, Cronache e scritti teatrali, April 12, , in PC, Mussolini, in his interviews with Emil Ludwig.

Emil Ludwig, Colloqui con Mussolini ; Milan: Mondadori, , Yvon De Begnac, Taccuini Mussoliniani, ed.

Francesco Perfetti ; Bologna: Mulino, , An early adherent of the PNF, he had written a successful biography of il duce in and was close enough to Mussolini to facilitate communication between him and Pirandello in the early stages of their collaboration.

Bontempelli would be a vocal devotee of Mussolini for at least the first decade of his rule; il duce, in turn, enthusiastically praised him throughout the years and personally pushed for his nomination to the Royal Academy of Italian Intellectuals in Massimo Bontempelli, Il Neosofista e altri scritti Milan: Mondadori, , Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol.

Marco Praga, Cronache teatrali Milan: Treves, , June 29, , quoted in PC, Lorch, Pirandello, See Documentary, Excerpt translated in Love Letters, The complete set of letters, with the exception of a handful the Pirandello Estate did not authorize, can be found in Luigi Pirandello, Lettere a Marta Abba, ed.

Benito Ortolani Milan: Mondadori, The Gruppi Universitari Fascisti sponsored various cultural activities, including film and theater groups.

For the crowds of La Sagra e Gli dei, Pirandello used students from the Santa Cecilia acting academy, in part of an attempt to give students professional experience alongside academic instruction.

Translated in Jeffrey T. Gentile, Origini, Ferdinando Taviani, Uomini di scena, uomini di libro: La scena sulla coscienza ; Rome: Officina, , Trapped in France after the Nazi invasion in , Hasenclever committed suicide.

Bronnen was from his teenage years attracted to both extremes of the political spectrum. However, he quickly fell out of favor due to both the avant-garde form and lurid sexual content of his work.

In , Bronnen became a Communist, and after the war he enjoyed the support, if not perhaps the complete trust, of the GDR. They not only expose the deficiencies of the legal system and the bourgeois order it supports, but they attack law and authority in any form.

This chapter examines the plays against the broader context of early twentieth-century avant-garde performance and German politics.

During this era, invocations of aesthetic and political violence intertwine in the writings of both theater artists and vanguardist politicians. Goebbels paints war in apocalyptic terms, as violence so extreme and complete as to baffle the imagination.

Intensity, grandeur, and boundlessness are all characteristic of the sublime. First appearing in a Roman treatise describing a particularly heightened rhetorical style, the concept of the sublime emerged in its modern form during the eighteenth century.

Immanuel Kant and Edmund Burke, two of its earliest and most important theorists, describe it as an aesthetic response to experiences of limitlessness.

From the fourteenth century until late in the nineteenth, European theater also became increasingly representational, in the sense that it aimed for increasing illusionism.

Hasenclever and Bronnen portray patricide as an act of war generating a sublime, nonrepresentational mode of both politics and performance.

In the process, they reveal troubling affinities with key currents in interwar right-wing German thought, including Nazism, which likewise hailed war as a sublime event forging forms of performance and politics beyond representation.

Politics as War Zone The Son and Patricide hover on the border between avant-garde experiment and nineteenth-century illusionism. Yet as Patricide progresses, the repetitions and ellipses increasingly signal not the hesitations of everyday speech, but the distortion and collapse of language under an overwhelming emotional onslaught.

Surrealism expects nothing save from violence. They portray such situations as generating the sublime, suggesting that they possess an authenticity and intensity that resist any form of limitation or mediation.

Marinetti, Artaud, and Breton want to capture these qualities in theatrical performance. At the same time, they see actual war as both the supreme political act and ultimate avant-garde performance.

While Hasenclever expresses himself in a more measured manner, he too suggests that patricide releases his protagonist from all restraints. The patricides achieve this effect within their respective dramas.

Anticipating subsequent generations of performance artists, the Son performs himself. The story of suffering he relates is his own personal history; the scars he shows the crowd are real, not stage makeup.

Hasenclever and Bronnen represent the patricides not simply as bids for individual liberation, but as acts of revolutionary warfare.

In the modern West, supreme political authority typically rests with centralized states. At the same time, it delegitimizes violence deployed by those not acting as representatives of the state.

The Father resorts to having his Son arrested and returned home by the police because he has lost the ability to control the Son on his own.

Fessel senior is determined to turn Walter into a lawyer because he wants his son to represent the downtrodden in their grievances against the rich and powerful, and so gain retribution for the hardships Fessel and his family have suffered.

While the Father and Fessel permit the state to represent them against their enemies, Walter and the Son take violence into their own hands.

In doing so, the protagonists transform the political realm into a war zone. Wars occur in situations where a monopoly on violence, and hence a sovereign political authority, are absent.

And as Hobbes observes, there is no monopoly on violence in the international arena: nation-states exist in the same anarchic relationship to each other as do individuals in the mythical state of nature.

The playwrights depict this transposition as an act of liberation. However, the sublime conception of freedom that he and Bronnen herald bears little resemblance to that found within the liberal democratic tradition, where the state maintains a firm monopoly on violence and periodic elections are designed to substitute for armed conflict between opposing factions.

But while some anarchists condoned violence as a technique for achieving their political goals, major figures like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Mikhail Bakunin tended to picture a stateless society as the epitome of order and peace.

This is not an ideal that Hasenclever and Bronnen share. Instead, the playwrights are drawn to the moment of orgiastic violence itself, suggesting that war offers the only truly representation-free politics.

Such sentiments do play a significant role within a certain apocalyptic strain of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European political discourse, one that, at least initially, fostered uncanny affinities between the far Left and extreme Right.

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