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DOI 10.12887/34-2021-2-134-14

Ewa Wąchocka, The Body Talks: Representations of Corporeality in the Contemporary Polish Drama

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The paper discusses the portrayal of the body and the ways in which the body is used in contemporary Polish drama where, over the last few decades, new themes as well as dramatic strategies and modes of expression have been explored. By referring to the ideas proposed by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Paul Ricoeur, Richard Shusterman, Mark Johnson, and Arnold Berleant, the author examines immanent circumstances of human bodily constitution: such as illness, somatic and psychosomatic conditions, death, and the aesthetic experience (cognition) of the outside world through senses, as they are depicted in theater plays. These experiences are reflected most emphatically in language in which the bodily aspect of existence is manifested thanks to a variety of innovative expressions; thus the dramatic text becomes a discourse of the body. In the analyses of the plays by Zyta Rudzka, Mariusz Bieliński, Szymon Bogacz, and Artur Pałyga, the author shows that, in contemporary drama, a speech act opens itself up to what the body has to say about its own imperfection and emotionality, the hindrances and needs it experiences, and the social and cultural imprints it bears. Speech is inherently subjective and the interplay between soma and sema creates a fabric of bodily meaning. A comparison of diverse poetics points to a wider context of somatic narration that transcends the individual. Representations of the carnal aspect of existence constitute a starting point and a foundation for a diagnosis of contemporary human condition. Caught in a web of biological conditioning, the body gains an ethical as well as aesthetic aspect and, in Bieliński’s works, even a metaphysical one.

Keywords: somatic experience, body language, aesthetic experience (cognition) of the world, ethical and aesthetic aspect of the body

Contact: Instytut Nauk o Kulturze, Wydział Humanistyczny, Uniwersytet Śląski, ul. Uniwersytecka 4, 40-007 Katowice, Poland
E-mail: ewa.wachocka@us.edu.pl
Phone: +48 32 2009210

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887