© 2016

The Theatre of Death – The Uncanny in Mimesis

Tadeusz Kantor, Aby Warburg, and an Iconology of the Actor


Part of the Performance Philosophy book series (PPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Part I

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 15-15
  3. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 83-83
    2. Mischa Twitchin
      Pages 117-146
    3. Mischa Twitchin
      Pages 147-171
  4. Part III

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 173-173
    2. Mischa Twitchin
      Pages 175-199
  5. Part IV

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 235-235
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 305-336

About this book


Distinct from the dominant expectation that actors should appear life-like onstage, why is it that some theatre artists – from Craig to Castellucci – have conceived of the actor in the image of the dead? This book explores such questions through the implications of the twofold analogy proposed in its very title: as theatre is to the uncanny, so death is to mimesis; and as theatre is to mimesis, so death is to the uncanny.

Walter Benjamin once observed that: “The point at issue in the theatre today can be more accurately defined in relation to the stage than to the play. It concerns the filling-in of the orchestra pit. The abyss which separates the actors from the audience like the dead from the living…” If the relation between the living and the dead can be thought of in terms of an analogy with ancient theatre, what about modernity? 


performance philosophy Sigmund Freud Romeo Castellucci twentieth century theatre authenticity avant-garde afterlife psychology acting

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.British Academy Post-doctoral Fellow Department of Drama, Queen MaryUniversity of LondonUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Mischa Twitchin is a lecturer in Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. Besides his academic work, he is a founder-member of the performance collective Shunt.


Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Theatre of Death – The Uncanny in Mimesis
  • Book Subtitle Tadeusz Kantor, Aby Warburg, and an Iconology of the Actor
  • Authors Mischa Twitchin
  • Series Title Performance Philosophy
  • Series Abbreviated Title Performance Philosophy
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-47871-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-69348-1
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-47872-6
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 336
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Performing Arts
    Philosophy, general
  • Buy this book on publisher's site