Carrie J. Preston, "Learning to Kneel: Noh, Modernism, and Journeys in Teaching" (Columbia UP, 2016)


Carrie J. Preston's new book tells the story of the global circulation of noh-inspired performances, paying careful attention to the ways these performances inspired twentieth-century drama, poetry, modern dance, film, and popular entertainment. Inspired by noh's practice of retelling stories in different styles and tenses, Learning to Kneel: Noh, Modernism, and Journeys in Teaching (Columbia University Press, 2016) also weaves together a number of writing styles, and incorporates Preston's own lessons in noh chant, dance, and drumming and experience writing plays based on noh models and choreographing dances with noh-related gestures throughout the book. The result is a fascinating exploration of the relationships between pedagogy and performance traced through the work of Ezra Pound, W. B. Yeats, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, and others. Learning to Kneel pays special attention to the politics of performance and pedagogy and the themes of submission and subversion, and urges a rethinking of many assumptions that we bring to understanding noh and its translations.

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