Friday, May 24, 2019

Walter A. Davis on YouTube

Yep, I'm bringing Mindful Pleasures back from the Valley of the Shadow (which only Orson knows...). After letting this blog lie liminally near death for an almost total circuit of the Sun, I've decided to roll out the crash cart, apply paddles to bared chest, yell "Clear!", and Lazarus this sucker back to life. The lilac in my dooryard says the time is right:

The immediate occasion for this vernal resurrection (cf. lilacs out of the dead land, blossoms on a bough, all those dusty Victorian volumes of Frazer...) is the recent appearance on YouTube of two videos featuring Walter A. Davis. Philosopher, actor, literary theorist, cultural critic, playwright, Davis is an American intellectual (yes, we still have a few of those) whose name will be familiar to frequent readers of this blog. Among his many books, Inwardness and Existence: Subjectivity in/and Hegel, Heidegger, Marx and Freud is merely the most important work in Existentialist philosophy of the past half-century (this year is the 30th anniversary of its publication, so celebrate by checking it out), and his Get the Guests rethinks the possibilities of theater through impressively close readings of five classic modern plays. 

Here is a cinematic adaptation of his own one-man play, Hamlet at 75, an exercise in performative criticism that achieves a theatrical synthesis of the aforementioned books:

And here is an enlightening, entertaining, wide-ranging podcast interview with Davis: 

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