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The Bright Bone of a Dream: Drama, Performativity, Ritual, and Community in Michael Ondaatjes Running in the Family

The Bright Bone of a Dream: Drama, Performativity, Ritual, and Community in Michael Ondaatjes... “THE BRIGHT BONE OF A DREAM”: DRAMA, PERFORMATIVITY, RITUAL, AND COMMUNITY IN MICHAEL ONDAATJE’S RUNNING IN THE FAMILY S. LEIGH MATTHEWS The part always has a tendency to reunite with its whole in order to escape from its imperfections. —Leonardo da Vinci I go back there a lot now and I go back to complete myself, I think. —Michael Ondaatje, Interview with Ariel Dorfman Given the popularity of performance theory in modern day academic cir- cles, and the open-ended definition of the word “performance” provided by such theorists as Richard Schechner, it is inevitable that the long-accepted analogy of “life as theatre” would be extended to that particular literary genre known as “autobiography,” or more inclusively, as “life writing.” While many literary critics have made the connection between life writing and dramatic technique, Evelyn J. Hinz’s 1992 essay “Mimesis: The Dramatic Lineage of Auto/Biography” fully articulates a “poetics” of life writing which highlights the genre’s “dramatic affinities” (195). Using Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family (1992) as my example, I would like to suggest that in certain texts the type of performance is ritual in nature—a reiterative therapeutic act, before an audience, meant to aid the writer in enacting http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

The Bright Bone of a Dream: Drama, Performativity, Ritual, and Community in Michael Ondaatjes Running in the Family

Biography , Volume 23 (2) – Mar 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 Biographical Research Center.
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

“THE BRIGHT BONE OF A DREAM”: DRAMA, PERFORMATIVITY, RITUAL, AND COMMUNITY IN MICHAEL ONDAATJE’S RUNNING IN THE FAMILY S. LEIGH MATTHEWS The part always has a tendency to reunite with its whole in order to escape from its imperfections. —Leonardo da Vinci I go back there a lot now and I go back to complete myself, I think. —Michael Ondaatje, Interview with Ariel Dorfman Given the popularity of performance theory in modern day academic cir- cles, and the open-ended definition of the word “performance” provided by such theorists as Richard Schechner, it is inevitable that the long-accepted analogy of “life as theatre” would be extended to that particular literary genre known as “autobiography,” or more inclusively, as “life writing.” While many literary critics have made the connection between life writing and dramatic technique, Evelyn J. Hinz’s 1992 essay “Mimesis: The Dramatic Lineage of Auto/Biography” fully articulates a “poetics” of life writing which highlights the genre’s “dramatic affinities” (195). Using Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family (1992) as my example, I would like to suggest that in certain texts the type of performance is ritual in nature—a reiterative therapeutic act, before an audience, meant to aid the writer in enacting

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 1, 2001

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