On Edward Bond’s Dramaturgy of Crisis in The Chair Plays: The Dystopian Imagination and the Imagination in Dystopia

Chien-Cheng Chen

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In this article I examine how Edward Bond realizes his dramaturgy of crisis through dystopian imagination in The Chair Plays. I argue that Bond’s idea of ‘crisis’ refers to the ‘logic of Auschwitz’ in an Adornian sense, that is, the crisis of modernist instrumental rationality. His dystopia is a chronotope of the extreme form of such rationality that demarcates the limits of imagination and freedom. Then I move on to examine The Chair Plays, that is, Chair (2000), Have I None (2000) and The Under Room (2005), to demonstrate how different possibilities of freedom in the dystopian world are articulated. Based on the analysis, I conclude that the rationality of Bond’s dystopia is closely associated with the legal sphere and one of the aims of Bond’s dystopian drama is to reexamine the relation between human freedom and legal rationality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-50
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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