Ethics and politics in the theatre of Hélène Cixous

Williams, Martina (2017) Ethics and politics in the theatre of Hélène Cixous. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis explores ethics and politics in Hélène Cixous’s theatre, and shows that rich and complex analyses of ethical and political questions lie at the heart of Cixous’s plays. Although they regularly attract large audiences, her plays remain relatively understudied. This thesis therefore contributes towards closing a significant gap in Cixous scholarship and in scholarship of recent French theatre.

Chapter One establishes definitions of ethics and politics, outlines some of Cixous’s major ethical and political concerns, and describes her relationship to theatre. Chapter Two examines Cixous’s portrayal of writers and artists and how they negotiate their various ethical and political duties. Cixous stages the creation of new communities in several plays, and Chapter Three of this thesis draws out the key ethical and political stakes that Cixous shows to be present in this process. Theatre practitioners have often used the stage to provide a moral education, and Chapter Four argues that Cixous uses her plays both to critique existing and historical moral codes and to give her audience a new form of moral education. In an early essay on the theatre, ‘Aller à la mer’, Cixous critiques the ways in which sacrifice of women has been an important part of the theatre canon; Chapter Five examines the role of sacrifice in Cixous’s own theatre. Finally, Chapter Six makes the case that Cixous’s plays are an exciting new type of political theatre.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Still, Judith
Chapman, Rosemary
Keywords: Cixous, Theatre, Ethics, politics, écriture féminine
Subjects: P Language and literature > PQ Romance literatures > PQ1 French literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
Item ID: 45141
Depositing User: Williams, Martina
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2017 04:40
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2017 08:23

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