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Title: Body language : ballet as form in literary modernism, 1915-1935
Author: Anderson, Kathryn
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 6704
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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This dissertation undertakes an examination of the evolving relationship between text and dance via the ballet texts of literary modernism. My selected texts illuminate a spectrum of performativity, ranging from the blueprints for performance used in the collaborative enterprises of European ballet companies like the Ballets Russes and the Ballets Suédois to later unperformed works by canonical writers. Some texts serve the utilitarian purpose of instructing production, but others independently claim their own aesthetic importance. My study reveals how text infiltrated ballet in the 20th century, and, in turn, how ballet came to serve new expressive purposes on the page. As most of these texts have never been performed, a new question arises: what does it mean to read a ballet? Ballet texts invite a method of reading unique to their own formal experiment: the stylistic range of these texts invites a study of the borders between types of language in a given piece, the materiality of dance, and the word-play that implicated the human body into the space of poetry and prose so intricately in the modernist period. In the contexts of literary modernism and dance and performance studies, I propose my project as a unique and useful tool with which to appreciate and interrogate historical and continuing relationships between text and performance. Critics, scholars, and dance and theatre practitioners have avoided confronting these works, but I propose that it is precisely through their challenging nature that they are essential to a more comprehensive study of individual careers and an expansion of the boundaries of modernism. From Jean Cocteau in 1915 to E. E. Cummings in 1935, the climate that turned writers to ballet demonstrates the value of tradition in a specifically nuanced modernist project that negotiated a concrete cultural past in the context of artistic revolution.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available