Towards an Aesthetics of Belief in Covid19 Pandemic Time: Performatism in Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa


At the threshold of the third millennium, the present article endeavors to contribute to the scholarly and academic discourse over a successor of postmodernism that began to decline since the late 1990s. The study proposes to approach Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) from a post-postmodern perspective, to trace Friel's lifelong quest for belief. The juxtaposition of Catholic ideals, Irish Celtic myths and African tribal rituals in Lughnasa, demonstrates Friel's complicated attitude towards religion. The study also introduces performatism, a new cultural theory coined by Raoul Eshelman in 2000, as a suggested post postmodern paradigm for the new epoch. The focus will be on the "aesthetic belief", a pivotal ideal in performatism. It is based on the technique of double frames in which the author originates a state of compulsory mediated belief by enclosing the reader/audience into outer and inner frames. The study reveals that Lughnasa which represents the culmination of Friel's lifelong quest for faith, transcends the limited experience of aesthetic belief in Eshelman's theory, into a more universal aesthetics of belief. Albeit a promising post postmodern alternative, the transient belief experience that performatism offers proofs too scanty for a millennium that is inaugurated by an earth-shattering event as the Corona pandemic.


Mahasen Badra


Belief, Brian Friel, Covid 19, Performatism