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Abstract

This article discusses how in Howard Barker’s recent work the idea of the subject’s crisis hinges on the introduction of an impersonal or transpersonal life force that persists beyond human agency. The article considers Barker’s metaphorical treatment of the images of land and stone and their interrelationship with the human body, where the notion of subjective crisis results from an awareness of objective forces that transcend the self. In “Immense Kiss” (2018) and “Critique of Pure Feeling” (2018), the idea of crisis, whilst still dominant, seems to lose its intermittent character of singular rupture and reveals itself as a permanent force of dissolution and reification. In these plays, the evocation of nonhuman nature in the love relationships between young men and elderly women affirms the existence of something that goes beyond the individual, which Barker approaches with a late-style poetic sensibility.