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April 25, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Teichoscopy is a theatrical means of communicating occurrences that happen offstage. A figure, commonly subaltern and anonymous, climbs to an elevated position to report what it sees from this vantage point while the leading figure remains below to hear. In thus visibly inverting the positions of power on stage, teichoscopy can not only call into question social and political hierarchies, it also serves to comment on the central tragic notion of the ‘fall of kings’ itself. This is why the strategy is employed frequently when European tragedy seeks to address the limitations imposed by the need for dramatic personae. In the late eighteenth century, teichoscopy takes on a radically anti-dramatic function as it shows how revolution undermines the “dispositive of representation” (Louis Marin) that links both courtly and bourgeois drama to Early Modern sovereignty. This talk will address the specific media poetics allowing for such a liminal experience of political drama reaching beyond itself.
Michael Auer is Professor of German Literature at the University of Vienna in Austria visiting UCSB as a Max Kade Professor this Spring quarter. His research interests include the politics of poetic form, the history of European drama, and “lyrical soundscapes” from psalms to songs. He is currently writing a book on teichoscopy from Aeschylus and Shakespeare to Sarah Kane and Elfriede Jelinek.
Sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, Comparative Literature Program, and Department of Theater and Dance