front cover of The Baroque Night
The Baroque Night
Spencer Golub
Northwestern University Press, 2018
In The Baroque Night, authorial idiosyncrasy hybridizes the concepts of "baroque" and "noir" across the fields of film, theater, literature, and philosophy, arguing for mental function as form, as an impossible object, a container in which the container itself is the thing contained. The book is an experiment in thinking difference and thinking differently, an ethics of otherness and the abstract. Spencer Golub inverts the unreality of the real and the reality of fiction, exposing the tropes of memory, identity, and authenticity as a scenic route through life that ultimately blocks the view.

The Baroque Night draws upon materials that have not previously been included in studies of either the baroque or film noir, while offering new perspectives on other, more familiar sources. Leibniz's concepts of the monad and compossibility provide organizing thought models, and death, fear, and mental illness cast their anamorphic images across surfaces that are deeper and closer than they at first appear. Key characters and situations in the book derive from the works of Alfred Hitchcock, Henri-Georges Clozot, Jean-Pierre Melville, Oscar Wilde, Georges Perec, Patricia Highsmith, William Shakespeare, Jean Racine, Pierre Corneille, and Arthur Conan Doyle, among many others.

This is virtuality and reality for the phobic, making it a fascinating and viable document of and episteme for the anxious age in which we (always) find ourselves living, though not yet fully alive. This performance of suspect evidence speaks to and in the ways we are organically inauthentic, the cause of our own causality and our own worst eyewitnesses to all that appears and disappears in space and time.


front cover of Playing Real
Playing Real
Mimesis, Media, and Mischief
Lindsay Brandon Hunter
Northwestern University Press, 2021

Playing Real: Mimesis, Media, and Mischief explores the integration and interaction of mimetic theatricality and representational media in twentieth- and twenty‑first-century performance. It brings together carefully chosen sites of performance—including live broadcasts of theatrical productions, reality television, and alternate-reality gaming—in which mediatization and mimesis compete and collude to represent the real to audiences. Lindsay Brandon Hunter reads such performances as forcing confrontation between notions of authenticity, sincerity, and spontaneity and their various others: the fake, the feigned, the staged, or the rehearsed.

Each site examined in Playing Real purports to show audiences something real—real theater, real housewives, real alternative scenarios—which is simultaneously visible as overtly constructed, adulterated by artifice and artificiality. The integration of mediatization and theatricality in these performances, Hunter argues, exploits the proclivities of both to conjure the real even as they risk corrupting the perception of authenticity by imbricating it with artifice and overt manipulation.

Although the performances analyzed obscure boundaries separating actual from virtual, genuine from artificial, and truth from fiction, Hunter rejects the notion that these productions imperil the “real.” She insists on uncertainty as a fertile site for productive and pleasurable mischief—including relationships to realness and authenticity among both audience and participants.


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