Journal Article

ABSORBED INTO THE OTHER: A NEOPLATONIC READING OF <i>THE BIRTHDAY PARTY</i>

Ian Almond

in Literature and Theology

Volume 14, issue 2, pages 174-188
Published in print June 2000 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online June 2000 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/14.2.174
ABSORBED INTO THE OTHER: A NEOPLATONIC READING OF THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

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Through an understanding of Neoplatonism as the union of the soul with an ineffable Oneness, the gradual subjugation, destruction, conversion and assimilation of The Birthday Party's protagonist is reassessed in terms of Meister Eckhart's own treatment of the detachment of the self. The gradual breakdown of Stanley in the play is reinterpreted through the various stages of the Eckhartian soul (recognition of one's sinful individuality,the dissolution of reason, blindness, silence and finally, the ecstasy of true self-lessness) as it proceeds towards reunion with the One.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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