This book explores the complex relationship between art and politics. Walter Davis uses his extensive knowledge of psychoanalysis to develop a philosophical critique of the impact that the current political climate is having on all artistic endeavour. He uses examples from a wide variety of fields including the theatre and popular culture, to show how true artistic freedom of expression is under threat from the ideological constraints imposed by contemporary capitalism. Starting with an analysis of the censorship of the play 'My Name is Rachel Corrie', which was withdrawn from production by a major New York theatre due to political pressure, Davis shows how all art that challenges the mainstream is suppressed or distorted to suit the politics of our time -- one that will not recognize the truth of human experience and the disorder at the heart of all civilization.
Walter A. Davis is Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at Ohio State University. He is the author of six previous books, including Inwardness and Existence: Subjectivity in/and Hegel, Heidegger, Marx and Freud (University of Wisconsin Press, 1989) and Deracination: Historicity, Hiroshima, and the Tragic Imperative (SUNY Press, 2001).
PART ONE-THE CORRIE CONTROVERSY: A DRAMA IN THREE ACTS 1. The Play's the Thing: Censorship, Theatre and Ideology 2. Mendacity: Progressive Theatre Under Capitalism 3. Beyond the Corrie Controversy: Manifesto for a Radical Theatre PART TWO-IDEOLOGY: THE HEART OF THE ULCER 4. The Trouble With Truffles: On the Ideological Paralysis of the Left 5. The Humanist Tradition: The Philosophic and Rhetorical Roots of Ideological Paralysis PART THREE-THE WAY OUT OF THE CAVE Overture-Happy Birthday, Sam 6. The Knot at the Center: The Tragic Structure of Experience 7. An Evening With JonBenet Ramsey 8. Between Two Deaths: Life on the Row Notes Index