The Mask and the Self : A historical exploration into the ways in which the phenomena of selfhood and the theatrical mask can illuminate each other. / Cawson, Matt.

2013. 264 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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@phdthesis{dc055581668c47839bd41de5376c6359,
title = "The Mask and the Self: A historical exploration into the ways in which the phenomena of selfhood and the theatrical mask can illuminate each other",
abstract = "This is a historical and philosophical investigation into western theatrical mask practice, looking at the mask in Greek tragedy, focusing on Euripides{\textquoteright} Bacchae, at the commedia dell{\textquoteright}arte, focusing on the mask of Arlecchino, and at the neutral mask, focusing on the masque neutre of Jacques Lecoq. This thesis explores the historical and philosophical conditions under which these masks emerged, and enquires into how attitudes to the concept of selfhood and theatrical mask practice are related. The methodology combines the apparently disparate theories of Carl Jung and Michel Foucault in addressing the essential, archetypal factors informing mask practice alongside the historical and the epistemic. From a philosophical perspective, my central thesis is that the mask provides a “third thing” that allows a union of opposites, in this case the self and the other, particularly in the form of the conscious and unconscious self. From a Foucauldian perspective, I argue that the development of the modern concept of the self can be characterised by three historical moments of epistemic crisis that are accompanied by significant developments in the theatrical mask. The mask, at these moments, provides, in Jungian terms, compensation for the rupturing sense of self. The apparent incompatibility of Jung and Foucault belies their common Nietzschean heritage, and I argue for a degree of functional (though not ideological) complementarity between them. I elaborate my argument to maintain that the theatrical mask has played a previously unacknowledged yet important role in the development of the western psyche, and can provide a unique insight into the development of the self. Within this context, I argue that the mask is poised to make a return to the stage, but that it has yet to find a theatrical form that transcends novelty and revivalism. I argue for the fundamental vitality of the mask as a potential force in contemporary theatre.",
keywords = "Mask, Selfhood, Tragedy, Dionysus, Bacchae, Commedia, Neutral mask, Arlecchino, Lecoq, Nietzsche, Foucault, Jung, Philosophy, Tragic mask, Pentheus, Commedia dell'arte, Tristano Martinelli, Domenico Biancolelli, Martinelli, Biancolelli, Dominique, Evaristo Gherardi, Gherardi, Tomaso Visentini, Thomassin, Goldoni, Sacchi, Amleto Sartori, Strehler, Harlequin, Arlequin, Alichin, Harlequinade, John Rich, Archetype Theory, Meyerhold, Brecht, Jacques Copeau, self, The Bacchantes, Helleqin, Hellequin le Roi, Trickster, Soul, Psychē, sōma, autos, ousia, Prosōpon, maschera, body-mind dualism, Cartesian dualism, ego, persona, collective unconscious, analytic of finitude, Greek tragedy, masque neutre, mask noble, aesthetics of neutrality, tragic consciousness, mask of Dionysus, thiasos",
author = "Matt Cawson",
year = "2013",
language = "English",
school = "Royal Holloway, University of London",

}

RIS

TY - THES

T1 - The Mask and the Self

T2 - A historical exploration into the ways in which the phenomena of selfhood and the theatrical mask can illuminate each other

AU - Cawson, Matt

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - This is a historical and philosophical investigation into western theatrical mask practice, looking at the mask in Greek tragedy, focusing on Euripides’ Bacchae, at the commedia dell’arte, focusing on the mask of Arlecchino, and at the neutral mask, focusing on the masque neutre of Jacques Lecoq. This thesis explores the historical and philosophical conditions under which these masks emerged, and enquires into how attitudes to the concept of selfhood and theatrical mask practice are related. The methodology combines the apparently disparate theories of Carl Jung and Michel Foucault in addressing the essential, archetypal factors informing mask practice alongside the historical and the epistemic. From a philosophical perspective, my central thesis is that the mask provides a “third thing” that allows a union of opposites, in this case the self and the other, particularly in the form of the conscious and unconscious self. From a Foucauldian perspective, I argue that the development of the modern concept of the self can be characterised by three historical moments of epistemic crisis that are accompanied by significant developments in the theatrical mask. The mask, at these moments, provides, in Jungian terms, compensation for the rupturing sense of self. The apparent incompatibility of Jung and Foucault belies their common Nietzschean heritage, and I argue for a degree of functional (though not ideological) complementarity between them. I elaborate my argument to maintain that the theatrical mask has played a previously unacknowledged yet important role in the development of the western psyche, and can provide a unique insight into the development of the self. Within this context, I argue that the mask is poised to make a return to the stage, but that it has yet to find a theatrical form that transcends novelty and revivalism. I argue for the fundamental vitality of the mask as a potential force in contemporary theatre.

AB - This is a historical and philosophical investigation into western theatrical mask practice, looking at the mask in Greek tragedy, focusing on Euripides’ Bacchae, at the commedia dell’arte, focusing on the mask of Arlecchino, and at the neutral mask, focusing on the masque neutre of Jacques Lecoq. This thesis explores the historical and philosophical conditions under which these masks emerged, and enquires into how attitudes to the concept of selfhood and theatrical mask practice are related. The methodology combines the apparently disparate theories of Carl Jung and Michel Foucault in addressing the essential, archetypal factors informing mask practice alongside the historical and the epistemic. From a philosophical perspective, my central thesis is that the mask provides a “third thing” that allows a union of opposites, in this case the self and the other, particularly in the form of the conscious and unconscious self. From a Foucauldian perspective, I argue that the development of the modern concept of the self can be characterised by three historical moments of epistemic crisis that are accompanied by significant developments in the theatrical mask. The mask, at these moments, provides, in Jungian terms, compensation for the rupturing sense of self. The apparent incompatibility of Jung and Foucault belies their common Nietzschean heritage, and I argue for a degree of functional (though not ideological) complementarity between them. I elaborate my argument to maintain that the theatrical mask has played a previously unacknowledged yet important role in the development of the western psyche, and can provide a unique insight into the development of the self. Within this context, I argue that the mask is poised to make a return to the stage, but that it has yet to find a theatrical form that transcends novelty and revivalism. I argue for the fundamental vitality of the mask as a potential force in contemporary theatre.

KW - Mask

KW - Selfhood

KW - Tragedy

KW - Dionysus

KW - Bacchae

KW - Commedia

KW - Neutral mask

KW - Arlecchino

KW - Lecoq

KW - Nietzsche

KW - Foucault

KW - Jung

KW - Philosophy

KW - Tragic mask

KW - Pentheus

KW - Commedia dell'arte

KW - Tristano Martinelli

KW - Domenico Biancolelli

KW - Martinelli

KW - Biancolelli

KW - Dominique

KW - Evaristo Gherardi

KW - Gherardi

KW - Tomaso Visentini

KW - Thomassin

KW - Goldoni

KW - Sacchi

KW - Amleto Sartori

KW - Strehler

KW - Harlequin

KW - Arlequin

KW - Alichin

KW - Harlequinade

KW - John Rich

KW - Archetype Theory

KW - Meyerhold

KW - Brecht

KW - Jacques Copeau

KW - self

KW - The Bacchantes

KW - Helleqin

KW - Hellequin le Roi

KW - Trickster

KW - Soul

KW - Psychē

KW - sōma

KW - autos

KW - ousia

KW - Prosōpon

KW - maschera

KW - body-mind dualism

KW - Cartesian dualism

KW - ego

KW - persona

KW - collective unconscious

KW - analytic of finitude

KW - Greek tragedy

KW - masque neutre

KW - mask noble

KW - aesthetics of neutrality

KW - tragic consciousness

KW - mask of Dionysus

KW - thiasos

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

ER -