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Aristotle's Poetics, Bharatamuni's Natyasastra, and Zeami's Treatises: Theory as Discourse

Graham Ley
Asian Theatre Journal
Vol. 17, No. 2 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 191-214
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1124489
Page Count: 24
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Aristotle's Poetics, Bharatamuni's Natyasastra, and Zeami's Treatises: Theory as Discourse
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Abstract

Scholars have often pursued comparative studies of major traditions of theatrical theory (Greek, Sanskrit, and nō), and the theories themselves are often used as windows on vanished modes of performance. This article, however, considers the theoretical treatises as discourses that advance claims about the status of theatre and establish value through the creation of standards for achievement. The author situates treatises on the art of theatre in the context of philosophical debate (Greek), religious and ethical writing (Sanskrit), and courtly aesthetics (Japanese) and examines the question of discursive communities and those to whom theatrical theory is addressed. Graham Ley studied Greek at the University of Oxford and Renaissance culture at the Warburg Institute in London. He lectures in drama at the University of Exeter, where he teaches a comparative course on theatrical and performance theory. His study of European and American theory, From Mimesis to Interculturalism: Readings of Theatrical Theory Before and After Modernism, was published in 1999, and he has written widely on performance in the ancient Greek theatre.

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