A Body Across the Map
The Father-Son Plays of Sam Shepard
Year of Publication: 2000
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., Oxford, Wien, 2000. 121 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8204-4433-8 pb. (Softcover)
Weight: 0.120 kg, 0.265 lbs
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- €* 20.50
- €** 21.10
- € 19.20
- £ 15.00
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As an actor, screenwriter, director, short story writer, and, most significantly, a playwright, Sam Shepard has long been an important figure on the American cultural landscape. A Body Across the Map focuses on the character conflict central to Shepard's most significant plays; that between fathers and sons. Beginning with The Rock Garden and concluding with A Lie of the Mind, this analysis shows how Shepard's worldview has evolved over a 20-year span. A long-standing pessimist who saw Oedipal revenge as a necessity, and genetic determination as inescapable, Shepard ultimately disavows these dark worldviews in favor of one where gentleness, spiritual generosity, cooperation, and the acceptance of long-denied truths prevail over rage, self-interest, and biological predestination.
About the author(s)/editor(s)
The Author: Michael Taav is a playwright, screenwriter, and director whose films have won prizes at the Berlin, Melbourne, Chicago, and Houston International Film Festivals. He has a Ph.D in Theatre and Dramatic Literature from the City University of New York Graduate Center and currently teaches at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
«To identify a writer's primary theme, and to analyze how that writer explores that theme in a series of works, is a time-honored, and these days refreshingly sensible, critical strategy. This strategy is well employed by Michael Taav in his illuminating study of father-son conflicts in the plays of Sam Shepard. Shepard's characters behave, or misbehave, in mysterious, seemingly arbitrary ways; without oversimplifying or diminishing, Taav lays bare the emotional logic that underlies their actions. This is a genuinely 'useful' book, able to increase its readers' understanding and enjoyment of Shepard's plays.» (Julius Novick, Professor of Literature and Drama Studies, Purchase College, SUNY, Author of 'Beyond Broadway: The Quest for Permanent Theatres')
«As the first book-length study of Shepard's plays that highlight the father-son relationship, 'A Body across the Map' is an important contribution to the body of scholarship on this major contemporary American dramatist. This exceptionally lucid and insightful work should be of interest to all readers who are serious students of twentieth-century theatre.» (Theodore Shank, Professor of Theatre, University of California-San Diego, Editor of 'Theatre Forum')
Artists and Issues in the Theatre. Vol. 11
General Editor: August W. Staub