Spirit Tactics, Exorcising Dances

Idealistic Studies 54 (1):27-48 (2024)
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In Michel de Certeau’s Invention of the Everyday, improvisational community dance function as a catalyst for the subversive art of the oppressed, via its ancient Greek virtue/power of mētis, being “foxlike.” And in de Certeau’s The Possession of Loudun, this foxlike dance moves to the stage, as an improv chorus that disrupts the events at Loudon when reimagined as a tetralogy of plays at City Dionysia. More precisely, Loudun’s tetralogy could be interpreted as a series of three tragedies and one comedy, the latter of which involves the chorine nuns’ channeling of anomie into a proto-feminist transfiguration. More precisely, the tactical prowess of the nuns’ chorus leader, namely the prioress Jeanne des Anges, elevates her to the status of an angelic prophet, which in de Certeau’s theatrical dancing critique makes her the Loudun tetralogy’s Dionysian, foxlike mage. In conclusion, this analysis suggests de Certeau’s relevance for revolutionary social justice today.

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Joshua M. Hall
University of Alabama, Birmingham


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