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This chapter presents a reading of René Daumal’s novel Mount Analogue: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing (1952) in the context of its relations with Alfred Jarry’s ’pataphysical or ’neo-scientific novel’ Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll, Pataphysician (1911). Like that of many surrealists, Daumal’s humour was nurtured in adolescence on Jarry’s idiosyncratic, absurdist, and blackly comic Umour. Mount Analogue is Daumal’s most sustained expression of such humour. The novel, unfinished at the time of the author’s death in 1944, tells of the narrator Theodore’s encounter with Père Sogol, an expert climber and non-Euclidean navigator (i.e. spiritual guide), who leads a small group of novices on a quest to scale an unclimbable mountain. With much intertextual wit, Daumal weaves together his own peculiar mixture of Jarryesque scientific satire, the spiritual mythos of René Guénon, and the Gurdjieffean teachings of Alexandre de Salzmann into an ecological morality tale and Rabelasian adventure story. The chapter situates Mount Analogue within Daumal’s concern with what he and the other members of the Grand Jeu called “experimental metaphysics” – a lived, experiential foray into situations which pushed the limits of rational and conventionally scientific understanding of life.
Exactly one hundred years separate two notorious dramatic aristocrats: Alfred Jarry's wild Ubu and Sarah Kane's apathetic Hippolytus. Ubu is iconic of Jarry's surreal reaction to nineteenth-century positivism and, at the same time, a criticism of modernism's abstract poetics and will-less aesthetic experience. Kane's Hippolytus is a witty and macabre response to the late twentieth-century ‘logic’ of capitalism. Nevertheless, these seemingly diametrically opposed characters share one trait that binds them – spending desire. In this article Dror Harari considers these figures as conspicuous waypoints along a broader spectrum of indispensable relations between body and desire in modern theatre. He tracks certain dramaturgies of desire, as theorized and/or realized by theatre practitioners and philosophers. Starting with modernist attempts to overcome desire by likening the performer's body to a machine, he closes with the indifferent Hippolytus becoming a desiring machine. Dror Harari is senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts, Tel Aviv University. His recent articles have appeared in The Drama Review, Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd'hui, Theatre Research International, and Theatre Annual. His study Self-Performance: Performance Art and the Representation of Self is forthcoming in Hebrew from Resling Publications, an Israeli academic publishing house.
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