The Later Edward Bond: Subjectivity, Dramaturgy, and Performance

Chien-Cheng Chen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The aim of this thesis is to examine Edward Bond’s plays, theoretical writings, and productions from the 1990s to the present. Since the early 1990s, Bond has been theorizing a new theory of subjectivity as a response to the ‘post-Auschwitz’ world as well as to the logic of neoliberalism. I will critically examine how Bond develops his theory and place this theory in a broader philosophical context of post-Auschwitz ethics defined by Adorno and Levinas. As the Bondian subject is a self-dramatizing subject, this conception of subjectivity also influences how Bond conceives his dramaturgy. Instead of treating characters as self-contained autonomous individuals, Bond’s new dramaturgy substantiates an examination of different possibilities of subjective configurations and their ethical significance. By examining Bond’s plays, I argue that Bond’s dramaturgy, instead of expressing his theory in dramatic form, further complicates his conception of subjectivity. Moreover, over the past thirty years, while distancing himself from mainstream British theatre, Bond has developed a sustained and creative collaboration with Big Brum, a Birmingham-based TIE company, and Alain Françon, one of the most prestigious contemporary French directors. Bond has written more than ten plays for Big Brum and dedicated five plays, The Paris Pentad, to Françon and these works clearly mark a dynamic new phase within Bond's playwriting career. Along with these collaborations, Bond has also developed a post-Brechtian theory of theatre and performance. Therefore, I will also analyze how Bond reconceives the role of theatre and performance and how his ideas can be concretized and enacted on stage.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Megson, Chris, Supervisor
Award date1 Jan 2019
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018


  • Edward Bond
  • dramaturgy
  • Subjectivity
  • British playwriting

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