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Pinocchio's Progeny: Puppets, Marionettes, Automatons, and Robots in Modernist and Avant-Garde Drama (PAJ Books) [Paperback]

Professor Harold B. Segel
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Aug 1995 PAJ Books

While Carlo Collodi's internationally revered Pinocchio may not have been the single source of the modernist fascination with puppets and marionettes, the book's appearance on the threshold of the modernist movement heralded a new artistic interest in the making of human likenesses. And the puppets, marionettes, and other forms that figure so vividly and provocatively in modernist and avant-garde drama can, according to Harold Segel, be regarded as Pinocchio's progeny.

Segel argues that the philosophical, social, and artistic proclivities of the modernist movement converged in the discovery of an exciting new relevance in the puppet and marionette. Previously viewed as entertainment for children and fairground audiences, puppets emerged as an integral component of the modernist vision. They became metaphors for human helplessness in the face of powerful forces -- from Eros and the supernatural to history, industrial society, and national myth. Dramatists used them to satirize the tyranny of bourgeois custom and convention, to deflate the arrogance of the powerful, and to breathe new life into a theater that had become tradition-bound and commercialized.

Pinocchio's Progeny offers a broad overview of the uses of these figures in European drama from 1890 to 1935. It considers developments in France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Poland and Czechoslovakia. In his introduction, Segel reviews the premodernist literary and dramatic treatment of the puppet and marionette from Cervantes' Don Quixote to the turn-of-the- century European cabaret. His epilogue considers the appearance of puppets and marionettes in postmodern European and American drama by examining works by such dramatists as Jean-Claude Van Itallie, Heiner Müller, and Tadeusz Kantor.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press (1 Aug 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801852625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801852626
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,352,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Excellent critical analyses...Pinocchio's Progeny should have wide appeal to theater professionals and certainly shoud be on the shelf of all puppeteers, amatuer or professional. A number of explanatory notes, some illustrations, an excellent bibliography, and a useful index contribute to the value of this uniquely inmportant study." -- Günter Berghauds, Oxford Journal

About the Author

Harold B. Segel is professor of Slavic and comparative literature at Columbia University. His many books include the two-volume Turn-of-the-Century Cabaret, Renaissance Culture in Poland, and Twentieth-Century Russian Drama, the latter available from Johns Hopkins.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars inaccurate condition description 28 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
ITEM DESCRIPTION failed to mention the dozen or so pages marked with heavy pencil scoring and pinkpurple highlighter
across 2 chapters! Puzzled as the external description was accurate and fair. just let down by lack of attention to inside condition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Ever 26 April 2002
By A Customer - Published on
This is an amazing book, not to be taken lightly as the cover suggests. The writing displays a certain amount of eloquence that only a brilliant writer like Harold Segal could pull off successfully. Thank you, Harold, for this essential piece of literature.
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Ever 26 April 2002
By A Customer - Published on
This book is amazing. It covers every aspect of avant-garde puppetry with a certain amount of eloquence only a brilliant writer could display.
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