The Literary Figuration and the Constellation of Power in the Play “The Life of Edward II of England”


Believing in the necessary and close connection between aesthetics and politics runs like a golden thread through the whole work of the German playwright Bertolt Brecht. The paper would like to focus on the nexus of power and politics to which Brecht pays an attention in his play "The Life of Edward II of England". It not only makes recourse to the destiny and the fall of this British monarch, but it also makes one to understand how the power influences the truth. Following Brecht's work and Foucault's genealogy of power the political power will be analyzed in its multidimensionality: as power of state within its creative and changeable historical perspective; as precarious balance of power which on the one side influences the life of the whole nation and the individual private life on the other; as invisible mechanism which is hard to uncover. The goal of the paper is also to think over the use of the gesture by Brecht. According to Carrie Asman, who suggests to understand the gesture as the back shift from the Semiotic to the Mimetic, we would like to analyze the literary figured bodies as special interfaces of the aesthetic and political discourse. Based on the close reading of Brecht's play we also try to demonstrate how a politically representative figure and its power can be destroyed and created at the same time.

Author Information
Jan Demcisak, University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Trnava, Slovakia

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2015
Stream: Humanities - Literature/Literary Studies*

This paper is part of the ACAH2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon