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Contemporary utopian dreams: contemplating Staniewski's Golden Ass

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This article contemplates Wodzimierz Staniewski's Metamorphoses as an adaptation of The Golden Ass of Apuleius. As Apuleius's text deals with a period of social and religious transition in the Roman Empire, Staniewski felt its themes were topical for modern-day Poland, where people have suffered a tragic estrangement from the ground of their being. His primary aim is to utilize the figure of the goddess Isis as a mode of establishing a consistent identity for the subject vis--vis the collective unconscious in relation to the protagonist's double transformation: humananimalhuman. My Lacanian analysis rejects this reading as an example of Jungian obscurantism that seeks to conceal the underlying utopian fantasy of unimpeded self-identity and social transparency; I argue that the unearthing of this fantasy in Staniewski's adaptation is the performance's primary insight.
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Keywords: Gardzienice; Slavoj iek; The Golden Ass; Wodzimierz Staniewski; contemporary Polish theatre; psychoanalysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Kent.

Publication date: 2009-05-01

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  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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