Taking the infamous Theatrum Crudelitatum Haereticorum nostri temporis by the Catholic priest Richard Verstegan as its starting point, this chapter introduces the reader to the over-arching agenda of the book, clearly formulating its interdisciplinary research agenda. The Hurt(ful) Body focuses on both literal and metaphorical violence, performed and depicted in early modern performing and visual arts. Indeed, Theatrum Crudelitatum is a very outspoken example of the issues at stake in this book: the violence inflicted on bodies and the representation of this very same violence, in theatres, in pictures and paintings but also in non-artistic modes of representation. In the introduction, the editors describe the threefold structure of the book. The first part will focus mainly on performing bodies (on stage), whereas the second part will discuss the pain of someone who watches the suffering of others, both in regard to theatre audiences and beholders of art, as well as to the onlooker in art: the theatre character or individual on canvas who is watching a(nother) hurt body. The third and final part will analyse how this circulation of gazes and affects functions within a specific institutional context, paying particular interest to the performative context of public space.
Keywords: Pain; Body; Affect; Gaze; Performance
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