Performance in Motion

Dúnlaith Bird

in Travelling in Different Skins

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644162
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949984 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs

Performance in Motion

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Having considered the theorisation of performativity by Judith Butler and Mary Louise Pratt, this chapter uses theatrical performances both in the fictional writing of Colette and Rachilde and in the travelogues of Isabelle Eberhardt to demonstrate how performance and performativity intertwine in the disorderly motion of vagabondage. The second section examines the Orient as a staging space for female movement, where a potent form of gender proxemics comes into play between the body of the woman travel writer and her Oriental subjects. The travelogue becomes a location of misfiring gender constructions, temporary contact zones and dramatic destruction. Finally, the chapter explores the disconcerting effects produced when textuality and the female body in motion collide in vagabondage travelogues.

Keywords: performance; performativity; Judith Butler; theatricality; gender proxemics; mobility; contact zone; Mary Louise Pratt; Orient; imperialism

Chapter.  10242 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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