After Beckett: Edward Bond’s Post-Auschwitz Dramaturgy of Ruins

Chien-Cheng Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


At the heart of Bond’s theorization lies his understating of Auschwitz and his implicit critique of Samuel Beckett’s work. Bond once asserted that theater cannot be understood without understanding Auschwitz, a statement reminiscent of Adorno’s infamous dictum that writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbarous (although he revised this dictum several times). While Bond’s most recent works can be contextualized within a broader philosophical frame defined by Adorno, his works by no means directly translates Adornian philosophy into dramatic form. Instead, since it is Beckettian drama that is Adornian par excellence, Bond’s relationship with Adorno can be analyzed through his aesthetic and political critique of Beckett. Bond’s post-Auschwitz dramaturgy is not historical reconstruction of the past but a response to contemporary crises of capitalism and totalitarianism. In this paper, I will analyze several scenes from Bond’s The Paris Pentad (1996-2011) through Adorno’s aesthetics to demonstrate the significance of post-Auschwitz tragedy and illustrate how Bond overwrites Beckettian ‘ruins’ to search for the birth of new subjectivity to confront contemporary crises.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTaPRA
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2016

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