Contained in:
Book Chapter

Performing the «miasma» of Indian Partition. Terror and romance in Howard Brenton’s Drawing the Line

  • Elena Anna Spandri

Originally performed at London Hampstead Theatre on 3 December 2013, Howard Brenton’s Drawing the Line dramatizes the Partition of India in two distinct nation-states after the Independence in a lush production that highlights personal conflicts and deflates the genocidal implications of the event that changed the future of the Subcontinent. The essay situates Drawing the Line in the context of Brenton’s lifelong engagement with historical theatre and reflects upon the aesthetic and political significance of the marginal role assigned to violence in the drama. It argues that the play performs a postcolonial discourse on South-Asian history, in which cosmopolitan notions of Britishness, Anglo-Indian relations, and colonial rule are interrogated through an ambiguous dramatic irony that, while deploring British ineptitude in handling the Partition process, in fact represents Partition as a colossal tangle of public and private complicities which mitigates the Raj’s responsibilities and tacitly subscribes to a consolatory determinism.

  • Keywords:
  • Howard Brenton,
  • Britishness,
  • historical theatre,
  • postcolonial discourse,
  • Partition of India,
+ Show More

Elena Anna Spandri

University of Siena, Italy - ORCID: 0000-0003-2593-593X

  1. Anderson B., Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, Verso, London and New York 1986.
  2. Auden W.H., Partition [1966], «City Without Walls», Faber & Faber, London 1969.
  3. Billington M., The Guardian, 10 December 2013.
  4. Brenton, Drawing the Line, Nick Hern Books, London 2013.
  5. Brenton, Preface to Plays: 1, Methuen, London 1986.
  6. Brenton, Preface to Plays: 2, Methuen, London 1989.
  7. Bull J., New British Political Dramatists, Macmillan, London 1991.
  8. Cantoni V., An honourable man». Stereotypes of Britishness facing the colonised ‘other’ in Howard Brenton’s Drawing the Line, in S.A. Brioschi, M. De Pietri (eds.), «Visioni d’Oriente» Stereotipi, impressioni, rappresentazioni dall’antichità a oggi», Pavia University Press, Pavia 2021.
  9. Cantoni V., New Playwriting at Shakespeare’s Globe, Methuen Drama, London 2017.
  10. Feldman A., Dramas of the Past on the Twentieth-Century Stage: In History’s Wings, Routledge, New York and London 2013.
  11. Gilmartin D., The Historiography of India Partition, «Journal of Asian Studies», 74, 1, 2015.
  12. Gilroy P., After Empire. Melancholia or Convivial Culture?, Routledge, London and New York 2004.
  13. Herman J., Playwright Howard Brenton on his new political play about Partition: Drawing the Line (audio interview), Theatre Voice, 18 December 2013.
  14. Hillman R., (Re)constructing Political Theatre: Discursive and Practical Frameworks for Theatre as an Agent for Change, «New Theatre Quarterly», 31, 4, November 2015.
  15. Jana S., Decolonization and Genocide: Re-Examining Indian Partition, 1946-1947, «Holocaust and Genocide Studies», 36, 3, Winter 2022.
  16. Kelleher J., Theatre Politics, Methuen Drama, London 2009.
  17. Khan Y., The Great Partition. The Making of India and Pakistan, Yale University Press, New Haven and London 2007.
  18. Megson C., Modern British Playwriting: The 1970s, Voices Documents New Interpretations, Methuen Drama, London 2012.
  19. Reinelt J., Bertolt Brecht and Howard Brenton: The Common Task, «Pacific Coast Philology», 20, 1/2, 1985.
  20. Roy R., South-Asian Partition Fiction in English, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam 2010.
  21. Tickell A., «How Many Pakistans?» Questions of Space and Identity in the Writing of Partition, «Ariel: A Review of International English Literature», 32, 3, July 2001.
  22. Wolpert S., Shameful Flight. The Last Years of the British Empire in India, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2006.
PDF
  • Publication Year: 2023
  • Pages: 115-129

XML
  • Publication Year: 2023

Chapter Information

Chapter Title

Performing the «miasma» of Indian Partition. Terror and romance in Howard Brenton’s Drawing the Line

Authors

Elena Anna Spandri

Language

English

DOI

10.36253/979-12-215-0278-7.10

Peer Reviewed

Publication Year

2023

Copyright Information

© 2023 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY-SA 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

La violenza nel teatro contemporaneo

Book Subtitle

Lingue e linguaggi a confronto

Editors

Paola Bellomi, Carla Francellini, Maria Beatrice Lenzi, Ada Milani, Niccolò Scaffai

Peer Reviewed

Number of Pages

152

Publication Year

2023

Copyright Information

© 2023 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY-SA 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Publisher Name

Firenze University Press, USiena Press

DOI

10.36253/979-12-215-0278-7

ISBN Print

979-12-215-0277-0

eISBN (pdf)

979-12-215-0278-7

eISBN (epub)

979-12-215-0279-4

Series Title

Studi di letterature moderne e comparate

Series ISSN

2975-0377

Series E-ISSN

2975-0229

64

Fulltext
downloads

69

Views

Export Citation

1,321

Open Access Books

in the Catalogue

2,008

Book Chapters

3,463,393

Fulltext
downloads

4,203

Authors

from 876 Research Institutions

of 64 Nations

64

scientific boards

from 343 Research Institutions

of 43 Nations

1,216

Referees

from 363 Research Institutions

of 38 Nations