We start a new theme this episode with Shakespeare, presented by Dr Kate O'Leary.
Surrealism and Shakespeare are rarely connected in contemporary discourse, despite André Breton’ s admiring references to the Bard and interest in his plays shown by Leonora Carrington and others. This is a pity, as they are more closely linked than is often suspected. Whether he likes it or not, Shakespeare is the god-father of Romanticism and Gothic, both of which were acknowledged by the Surrealists as ancestral to their own movement. Both Shakespeare and Surrealism lend themselves readily (and in the case of Surrealism, knowingly) to rich and fruitful dialogue with Freudian psychoanalytic theory. Moreover, across the world, people labouring under oppression or colonial rule, whether in Eastern Europe under Communism, or in the Third World under imperial governance, have drawn on Shakespeare and Surrealism as the most effective weapons in cultural resistance and liberation from the alienation and thought control oppressive regimes impose. Shakespeare and Surrealism both interrogate power, explore the depths of the human psyche, celebrate love and Eros, and pursue the wondrous and the uncanny, and both deploy Alchemy as a dynamic of transformation to attain the Marvellous. In this podcast I propose to discuss how Shakespeare, in his later plays, the so-called ‘Romances’ (of which The Tempest is the best known), uses Alchemy both as a symbolic language in the plays themselves, and to turn the theatre itself into an alembic to cast an Alchemical spell on the audience, creating for them a vision of the marvellous they can carry with them out of the theatre into the connecting vessel of the world out - side. As the Dadaist Hugo Ball put it, “ Only the theatre is capable of creating the new society ”.
Dr Kate O’ Leary has a PhD in Shakespeare and John Donne and currently works at the University of Liverpool. She is a founder member of Surrealerpool Collage of Alchymical, Flâneurial and ‘ Pataphysical Studies (website: www.surrealerpool.online), and is a regular contributor to the Collage’s journal ‘Patastophe!
David Rice is a lecturer and writer with a background in psychology. Like Kate, he currently works at the University of Liverpool, is a founder member of Surrealerpool and writes for 'Patastrophe!
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Episode presented by Felix Clutson
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