‘Plato and Modern Drama’ April 5

Martin Puchner to discuss theater and philosophy in annual Helen Clanton Morrin Lecture

Most philosophy makes little mention of the theater except to denounce it as a place of illusion and moral decay. The theater has tended to respond in kind by steering away from philosophy, driven by the notion that theater consists of actions, not ideas.
Martin Puchner
In The Drama of Ideas: Platonic Provocations in Theater and Philosophy (2010), Martin Puchner, PhD, the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, argues that despite this mutual evasion, the histories of philosophy and theater have in fact been crucially intertwined.

At 4 p.m. Thursday, April 5, Puchner will present Washington University in St. Louis’ 10th Helen Clanton Morrin Lecture. Titled “Plato and Modern Drama,” the talk is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Performing Arts Department in Arts & Sciences. It will take place in Room 276 of the Danforth University Center, 6475 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information or to RSVP, call the PAD at (314) 935-5224 or email terri.green@wustl.edu.

In addition to The Drama of Ideas, Puchner is author of Poetry of the Revolution: Marx, Manifestos, and the Avant-Gardes (2006), which won the James Russell Lowell Award from the Modern Language Association; and Stage Fright: Modernism, Anti-Theatricality, and Drama (2002/2011).

Puchner’s editorial work includes an edition of Six Plays of Henrik Ibsen (2003), a new edition of Lionel Abel’s Metatheater (2003), and a four-volume collection of critical essays on modern drama, Critical Concepts: Modern Drama (2008). He is the general editor of the Norton Anthology of World Literature and a co-editor of the Norton Anthology of Drama. His essays have appeared in Bookforum, The London Review of Books and n+1.

The Morrin Lecture is named for Washington University alumna Helen Clanton Morrin (1913-1997). After a career that spanned journalism, public affairs and volunteerism — and included 19 years as executive director of the Council of World Affairs — Morrin completed a master of liberal arts degree in 1994, at the age of 82.

The lecture was established in her memory in 1998 by her children, Peter Morrin, Kevin Morrin and Sheila Humphreys, as well as by friends and colleagues.