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Table of contents
Specifically, the vacillating between specificity poets and artists and a more global generality the youth of America, for example manifests the tension in vanguardist discourse between the elitism of the manifesto's speaking voice—a self-selective and privileged "we"—and the impulse to address a mass audience. In his work on the avant-gardes, Andreas Huyssen has recast the term "the great divide" to describe the "volatile" quality that has characterized the relationship between high art and mass culture since the mid-nineteenth century and, more specifically, to designate the kind of critical discourse that distinguishes between the two vii—viii.
In their critique of the previous generation's aestheticism, the European avant-gardes unquestionably attacked such dichotomies but at the same time exacerbated that great divide. For example, although the futurists provoked riots at their serate, in Marinetti's "The Futurist Synthetic Theatre," their objective was to instill a "current of confidence" in the audience Selected Writings The dadaists declared that they would "spit on humanity" Ribemont-Dessaignes , and yet Tristan Tzara envisioned in Seeds and Bran a utopian, transformational union between artists and a knowledgeable public: "the wisdom of crowds What sharpens this aristocratic-democratic tension in Latin American manifestos, documents produced primarily in countries with high illiteracy rates and still relatively small reading publics, is the implicit, sometimes confessed, recognition that the desired mass audience the speaker is addressing directly does not really exist as a separate entity but is simply an extension of the speaker's utopian project for change.
In part, this admission is manifested in the hyperbolic characterizations of the "you" as an entity far too vast to assume a concrete identity, such as "the men of the universal fraternity" or "the youth of America. In addition, in the manifesto's communicative scheme, verb forms reinforce the mirror identification of this "you" with the manifesto's speaking "we.
Such forms are common in political rhetoric "let us move forward Occasionally, a manifesto openly confesses that the separate, supportive audience it addresses does not, indeed, exist and must be conjured up or hammered out from an amorphous mass public. The speaker addresses this nonexistent audience directly—"the hypothetical and uncertain being for whom we compose this"—and then adds in the line that provides an epigraph for this chapter , "Comrade reader: A great pleasure and a great honor to discover you" GMT Thus, to affirm its own existence, the manifesto's speaking "we" advocating a.
Equally essential for the manifesto's project is the audience that is never directly invoked, those against whom the speaking "we" define themselves. Interestingly, the manifesto characterizes this absent, adversarial audience that it never acknowledges directly in far more concrete terms than the all-encompassing "you. But, more important, in constructing the collective, integrated speaker, the manifesto relies heavily on what it is challenging, and the oppositional stance is inextricably linked to the speaker's own identity.
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Similarly, the Brazilian Verde manifesto reveals the relative unimportance attributable to the specific object of attack and emphasizes the indispensability of the adversarial stance itself: "We are who we want to be and not those whom others want us to be," and "We arc different. Even extremely diverse. Much more different than the folks next door" GMT The manifesto's theatrical quality, however, derives from the oppositional stance itself and from the rich, often satirical imagery with which these documents construct an absent, adversarial "they" to complete a triadic communicative scheme.
In sharp contrast to the images of youth, vitality, power, and authenticity that characterize the speaking "we," the adversary under attack is constructed with images of fossilization, decay, decrepitude, inauthenticity, and physical and emotional malaise. Thus a sampling of manifestos from numerous countries yields an assortment of similar adjectives used by manifesto speakers to characterize the objects of their attack: "putrid," "rancid," "spongy and sparse," "fossilized," "senile," "sickly,". The dramatic oppositions constructed by these documents imply a reader who will be drawn into the conflict, who will identify with the directly addressed "you" of the youth of America, and, more important, who will recoil from the pejorative imagery of decay and decrepitude surrounding the adversary under attack.
The rhetorical strategies, moreover, imply a reader who is a flesh-and-blood listener and spectator, a live audience witnessing a performance. The nouns and pronouns of direct address, the enumerative declarations of principles, the easily identifiable and simplistic oppositions, and the clipped, telegraphic phrases marked by exaggeration and insult all contribute to the ambience of an oratorical event, scripted in a text to be read aloud, proclaimed, or performed.
In addition, the speaker's cultivation of lyrical prowess and verbal cuteness through comical, insulting, and sometimes scatological one-liners coined to attack the opponent and to characterize the new art reinforces that speaker's identity as a linguistically agile performer.
A theatrical transition from manifesting to performing is also intimated in the word manifesto, specifically, in its etymological kinship with the verb to make manifest: to make public, to render concrete, to transpose to the sensorial realm, particularly the visual. To manifest is to "make palpably evident or certain by showing or displaying" Webster's Third International, ed. One of the fundamental strategies for involving the spectator in the showing is the reliance on enumeration.
Perloff notes that this device, a common political strategy for holding audience attention, showed that the futurist authors meant business But I would add that the manifestos' endless lists, itemized by letters, arabic or roman numerals, or simply the repetition of opening phrases such as "as opposed to. Listing is a form of verbal display, a tactic for pulling out, as if from a magician's hat, one item after another and revealing these to an audience. As the list becomes longer and longer, in particular if it includes short, telegraphic phrases, the cumulative effect on the reader-listener is a sensory bombardment reinforced by the verbal aggression in the manifesto's tone.
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These lines from the atalayismo manifesto typify this image: "We the atalayistas ask for the super free power of action because this is the only thing that can coil around our waists the belts of the stars. We want. But the manifesto's performative substance derives from more than its oppositional conflict and the ambience of sensorial activity generated by its predilect rhetorical devices. The manifesto's counterposition of divergent attitudes toward art and culture provides the seeds of a story that can be embodied in a dramatic action.
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Perloff notes that the futurists often surrounded their manifestos' actual proposals with narratives of the group's activities and discoveries. Elements of such site-specific narratives that make direct or oblique reference to the vagaries of a particular group are present in some Latin American manifestos and vanguardist polemical articles. Through its enactment, this story must imagine its own engaged and informed audience, a spectator who might ultimately play a key role in constructing a new art or culture. The vanguardist manifestos, Poggioli observed, were often written with a prose that was more "fiction and literature.
It is not surprising, then, that vanguardist writers produced manifesto-style creative texts that simultaneously built on the manifesto's performative qualities and developed the narrative seeds that it enclosed. The hybrid creative texts that I call performance manifestos prescribe for concrete public display the new aesthetic relationships and practices espoused in the more straightforward manifestos.
These works enact the stories of adversarial encounters between conflicting views of culture and art, and while the manifesto incorporates the spectator into its communicative scheme,. Not surprisingly, one can often discern explicit connections between these creative works and the authors' more expository writings on art. Generally, however, these performative texts are artistically richer than the average manifesto, and, resisting strict formal or generic classification, they frequently combine poetry, music, dance, narrative, or ritual display.
The purpose of these multimedia performances is to spin a palpable tale of cultural encounter that enacts, through metaperformative strategies and metaphors, specific artistic views. In Latin America, moreover, these ostensibly antimimetic works are strikingly culturally specific and make reference to the specific national historical contexts within which modern artistic activity was to emerge.
These texts' performative quality is inextricably linked to their concrete playing out, their "doing," of specific aesthetic positions. Dramatic codes, as Victor Turner argued, are "doing" codes 33 , and the performance theorist Richard Schechner has similarly defined performance as an "actualizing" activity, one related to "patterns of doing" In the post-Renaissance, literary Western tradition, Schechner argues, these doing patterns are gradually reencoded as patterns of written words that produced modern drama's reliance on a specialized script.
But the avant-gardes, he suggests, refocus attention on the "doing aspects" of a script Vanguardist writers did produce theatrical scripts, and I examine these in a separate chapter. But the more generically hybrid performance texts, with the concretely confrontational quality of a vanguardist manifesto, illustrate an overriding concern with the palpable doing aspects of art.
One of the most striking features of the performance manifesto's "doing" of art is its incorporation of the manifesto's speakers and its imagined audiences, both friendly and hostile, into the conflictive story it tells. In the futuristic spirit, the performance is to be staged "On the Dawn of the New Day. The oratorio's performers are also characterized by the content of their song and the cues for their performances, and as characters, they represent the adversarial artistic positions embodied in a typical vanguardist manifesto's communicative scheme.
Specifically, the piece is organized by an escalating chain of confrontations between the Orientalismos Convencionais traditional artists and the Juvenilidades Auriverdes, rebellious youth with creative projects and steeped in the Brazilian soil.
Predictably the Senectudes Tremulinas support the Orientalismos Convencionais, while Minha Loucura, identified as the. The imagery of their verse identifies the Orientalismos Convencionais with uniformity, unanimity, and rules in art: "No ascents and no verticals whatsoever!
Against the Orientalismos' orderly world, the Juvenilidades' verse expresses creative dissonance, passion, and martyrdom for the future cause of a new art. As the confrontation intensifies, the anger and frustration build until the youths collapse in a final delirium. The other voices recede, night falls, and Minha Loucura chants a lullaby celebrating the Juvenilidades' sacrifice for the art of a new day: "There will still be a sun on tomorrow's gold! The rebellious youths' martyrdom for their aesthetic cause exemplifies what Poggioli labels the "agonistic" moment of vanguardist movements, a moment that poses a hyberbolic image of the artist as victim-hero whose "self-immolation" is the necessary sacrifice for the creation of future art Poggioli 67— The oratorio's conflicting aesthetic positions are played out in the diverse musical styles of their enactment.
They sing with regularity a tempo and repetitively da capo , as a "solemn funeral. As their militancy and passion intensify, the Juvenilidades' renditions run the gamut: "pianissimo," "fantastic crescendo," "in a din," "roaring," "now screaming," "shouting in irregular cadence," and, finally, "mad, sublime, falling exhausted.
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This composition's contextual markers are evident, particularly its connections with early Brazilian modernismo 's program for change. The neologistic metaphor "enfibraturas," moreover, encompasses a tone of social and moral position taking as well as the aesthetic "fibratures"—intertwinings of voice, image, and music—of the piece's composition.
Thematically, the text itself privileges originality, aesthetic deviation, and passion over tradition, artistic convention, and the socioaesthetic order of things. The allusion through the name Juvenilidades Auriverdes to the colors of the Brazilian flag as well as the youths' choices of imagery place the changes they advocate in the context of the cultural nationalism shaping modernismo. In keeping with this model, Minha Loucura's lyricism in "As enfibraturas" is shaped by disconnected phrases, and the oratorio as a whole at times overlays the piece's "distribution of voices.
The poet's lyricism Minha Loucura provides another link between "As enfibraturas" and the preface's references to "the mad dash of the lyric state" and to a lyric impulse that "cries out inside us like the madding crowd" 18 and 21; JT 8 and The most evident of these is the text's employment of the hyperbolic image, the feature that Poggioli associates with the vanguards' futuristic and apocalyptic tendencies. Some perform openly from the esplanade of the city's Municipal Theater, while others are spread out around familiar city sites—buildings, parks, the river.
Essentially, "As enfibraturas do Ipiranga" is a script for a performance that is fundamentally not performable. An oratorio is by definition a traditionally large-scale production. The characters in that story represent the divergent artistic positions embodied in a typical manifesto's communicative scheme. Specifically, the manifesto's speaking "we" is enacted by the Juvenilidades Auriverdes with the support of Minha Loucura, with whom they identify and associate. Although several of the oratorio's participating groups introduce themselves with the first person "We are the Orientalismos Convencionais" , only the Juvenilidades are.
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Most important, "As enfibraturas" recasts the vanguardist manifesto's characteristic two audiences the "you" and the "they" as participating oratorio performers and literally gives them a voice. As a performance text, the work makes tangible what a manifesto only affirms, that is, the relationship between the "doing" of an artistic composition and the work's intended recipients. The piece's visual qualities are essential for bringing this about. In addition, although an oratorio's action is traditionally embodied in verbal and musical exchange, when "As enfibraturas" culminates with the Juvenilidades' frenzied collapse, a scene to be seen is described: "The orchestra has vanished in fright.