With the Lazarillo published anonymously in Spain in the 16th century, the romantic adventure changed paradigm and emancipated itself from the novels of chivalry. For Jean-Pierre Sarrazac, this picaresque novel brings a new voice to the theatre and modern drama that will evolve into a fundamental novelisation that will take off from 1880. This text was for a long time attributed to the humanist Diego Hurtado de Mendoza y Pacheco and the list of suspects is long akin to this “rhapsodic impulse” those multiple voices that each give a different interpretation to the same text, and that Jean-Pierre Sarrazac exhibits in his book Poétique du drame moderne, de Ibsen à Jean-Marie Koltès (2012). In this investigation of the Lazarillo, the modern drama, from the death of Hurtado in Madrid in 1575, will explore in substance and form the paradoxical question of drama in opening the doors of perception to fictional characters who are also gifted with life, if not our life, in a world where the true and the false mix while the opposing forces carry humanity towards a destiny worthy of Orwell’s 1984, but in the echo of the drama, the voice of the rhapsodes continues to resonate.
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The aim of this paper is to compare Brechtian theory concerning empathy in theatre and recent studies showing the biological basis of empathy. First of all, a brief summary about the concept of empathy is provided, with particular attention to empathy in Brechtian theatre. Then, a paragraph is dedicated to explain how empathy and emotional involvement are linked to neurobiological mechanisms and body state. In the end, an analysis of the Verfremdungseffekte in the Threepenny Opera is traced to understand how recent studies contradict Brechtian theory as far as empathy is concerned.
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