Performing Bodies in Pain: Medieval and Post-Modern Martyrs, by M. Carlson

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By M. Carlson

The pressing debate approximately torture in public discourse of the twenty-first century thrusts soreness into the foreground whereas study in neuroscience is reworking our knowing of this primary human event. In late-medieval France, a rustic devastated through the Black demise, torn by means of civil strife, and strained by means of the Hundred Year’s battle with England, the suggestion of ache shifted in the conceptual frameworks supplied by means of theology and medication. acting our bodies in ache analyzes the cultural paintings of excellent agony in the course of those classes, examining fresh dramatizations of torture and performances of self-mutilating conceptual artwork opposed to late-medieval saint performs.

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Additional resources for Performing Bodies in Pain: Medieval and Post-Modern Martyrs, Mystics, and Artists (Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History)

Sample text

The fact that theatrical pain is simulated is beside the point. Even if a performer experiences real pain, as is the case with the body and endurance art events that I discuss in the second section of this book, the artist creates the context and structures the event as a communicative act. But the meaning of the act depends upon the spectator and includes the spectator’s assumptions about the communicative intent of the artist, the actor, the playwright, or whoever is thought to be communicating.

The practice was abolished in South Africa with the English conquest in 1797 (and was abolished in Holland a year later). When South Africa became independent in 1961, torture did not return quite immediately, but it was clearly in use by 1964. ”41 Furthermore, the use of torture by the South African government was thoroughly interwoven with its concern to protect foreign investment, and the associated anti-Communist rhetoric served to reassure investors and government officials in the United States and Europe.

Performance implies both intentionality and interpretation. MEDIEVAL PAIN These issues present even greater difficulties for medieval materials. How do we assess the performative effect of a saint play or a public execution? Do we assume that contemporary neuroscience is at last uncovering the truth about the biological mechanisms of perception and sensation, equally explanatory for long-dead spectators? I do tend to believe this, but I also think that we lose a great deal if we fail to consider how medieval people understood their world, including their bodily experience.

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