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From Mimesis to Interculturalism
Readings of Theatrical Theory Before and After ‘Modernism'

By Graham Ley

From Mimesis to Interculturalism
Hardback, 360 pages £75.00
Published: 1999
ISBN: 9780859896405
Format: 241mm x 160mm
Buy this Book

Paperback, 360 pages £25.00
Published: 2021
ISBN: 9781905816170
Format: 234mm x 156mm
Buy this Book

Subjects: Performance
Series: Exeter Performance Studies

From Mimesis to Interculturalism offers a series of critical readings of key texts in the history of European and American theatrical and performance theory. It answers the need for a detailed critique of theatrical theory from its origins in Greek antiquity to the present day, asking the reader to re-examine the basis of what have become assumptions, but are all too often perceived as truths. The book complements existing studies of the major modern theorists by giving close attention to the European tradition before Stanislavski, and to the theorists who have gained prominence after Grotowski. The use of language and the creation of meaning is the primary concern of all the readings.

Part One considers classical and classicizing theorists from Greece and the European enlightenment, and Part Two twentieth-century theorists after Grotowski; a concluding Part Three indicates how the approach might be applied to exemplary theorists from the modern canon, and to certain contemporary theoretical proposals.

Part I Before:

The idea of sight - Plato and Aristotle

Performances of the mind - Rousseau and Diderot.

Part II And after:

Brook and the theory of rhetoric;

Theatre anthropologies - Victor Turner, Richard Schechner, Eugenio Barba

Part III: some observations on Stanislavski and Brecht;

The significance of theory

This is a hard book to read and one that makes no pretence of being anything else. It does not offer itself as a sourcebook of readings in theatrical theorists. Rather, it offers a critique of the rhetorical devices employed by Plato and Aristotle, Rousseau and Diderot, Peter Brook, Victor Turner, Richard Schechner, and concludes with 'Some observations on Stanislavski and Brecht' and a short essay on 'The Significance of Theory' . . . The fact that Ley is equally at home in Ancient Greek, eighteenth-century French and the discourses of modern American theatre anthropology, makes it possible for him to give readings of his chosen texts which are consistently well-informed, densely structured and highly intelligent . . . A treasury of detailed discourse analysis." (Theatre Research International, Vol. 27:1, 2002)


"It's good to see a book like this challenging conventional notions and categories of postmodernism head-on." (Speech and Drama, Vol. 50, No. 2, Autumn 2001)


"Refreshingly scholarly - and entirely accessible - discussion of a range of writers and ideas from Plato to interculturalism which impresses by its research and stimulates and educates the reader." (Studies in Theatre and Performance, Vol 20, June 2000)



Graham Ley is Lecturer in Drama, University of Exeter. He has taught drama in the University of London and Greek literature in Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of A Short Introduction to the Ancient Greek Theater and has written on theory for New Theatre Quarterly and other journals.

From Mimesis to Interculturalism
From Mimesis to Interculturalism - Readings of Theatrical Theory Before and After ‘Modernism' - Hardback cover

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 360 pages
 241mm x 160mm

 Paperback , 360 pages
 234mm x 156mm

BIC Code:
  LIT006000, LIT013000, PER011000
 University of Exeter Press


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