Accessibility / Report Error

Gordon Craig's Self-Contradictions

Les Contradictions de Gordon Craig


The seeming contradictions in Edward Gordon Craig's theatrical thought can be solved if they are approached as a pragmatic construct that takes the form of a concentric system that revolves around mystic contemplation, and each layer of which is a more or less remote surrogate of such contemplation. By detailing each of these layers in its relation to the core of that concentric system, the paper eventually proposes an overall synthesis of the aesthetics of Craig's experimentations.

Edward Gordon Craig; Aesthetics; Mysticism; Theater and Religious Thought; Philosophical Aspects of Theatrical Thought


Les apparentes contradictions de la pensée théâtrale d'Edward Gordon Craig peuvent être résolues si on les approche comme une construction pragmatique qui prend la forme d'un système concentrique tournant autour de la contemplation mystique, et dont chaque couche constitue un succédané plus ou moins lointain de cette contemplation. En détaillant chacune de ces couches dans le rapport qu'elle entretient avec le cœur de ce système concentrique, l'article propose, au bout du compte, une synthèse globale de l'esthétique des expérimentations de Craig.

Edward Gordon Craig; Esthétique; Mysticisme; Théâtre et Pensée Religieuse; Aspects Philosophiques de la Pensée Théâtrale


As aparentes contradições no pensamento teatral de Gordon Craig podem ser solucionadas se forem abordadas como um constructo pragmático que assume a forma de um sistema concêntrico que gira em torno da contemplação mística, sendo que cada camada constitui um sucedâneo mais ou menos remoto dessa contemplação. Ao detalhar cada uma dessas camadas em sua relação com o âmago desse sistema concêntrico, o artigo propõe, por fim, uma síntese global da estética dos experimentos de Gordon Craig.

Edward Gordon Craig; Estética; Misticismo; Teatro e Pensamento Religioso; Aspectos Filosóficos do Pensamento Teatral

Full text available only in PDF format.


  • BABLET, Denis. Edward Gordon Craig. Translation: Daphne Woodward. London: Heinemann, 1966.
  • CRAIG, Edward Gordon (Britannicus). Art and the Nation. The Mask, v. 5, n. 1, p. 6-15, 1912.
  • CRAIG, Edward Gordon. Books and Theatres. London/Toronto: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1925.
  • CRAIG, Edward Gordon. Catalogue of Etchings Being Designs for Motions. Florence: Stabilimento Aldino, 1908.
  • CRAIG, Edward Gordon. An Easy Book on the Theatre. Unpublished manuscript. Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1922. (Craig Collection, EGC-Ms-A-57.)
  • CRAIG, Edward Gordon. {Memoirs}. Unpublished manuscript. Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France , 1950. (Craig Collection, EGC-Ms-B-34.)
  • CRAIG, Edward Gordon; CHAMBERLAIN, Franc (Ed.). On the Art of the Theatre. London/New York: Routledge, 2009.
  • CRAIG, Edward Gordon; CHÉNETIER-ALEV, Marion; DUVILLIER, Marc; PLASSARD, Didier (Ed.). The Drama for Fools. Charleville-Mézières/Montpellier: Institut International de la Marionnette/L'Entretemps, 2012.
  • CRAIG, Edward Gordon. The Theatre - Advancing. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1919.
  • CRAIG, Edward Gordon. Uber-Marions. Unpublished manuscript in two volumes. Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France , 1905-1906. (Craig Collection, EGC-Ms-A-23.)
  • CRAIG, Edward Gordon. Undated Manuscript Annotations. In: SKRINE, Francis Henry. Bahaism: the religion of brotherhood and its place in the evolution of creeds. London/Paris: Longmans, Green and Co./Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1912. (Craig Collection, 16-EGC-1942.)
  • CRAIG, Edward. Gordon Craig: the story of his life. New York: Limelight Editions, 1985.
  • CRITON, Pascale. Liner-notes. Ivan Wyschnegradsky, La Journée de l'Existence. Sound recording. {S.l.}: Shiiin, 2009.
  • DIPIETRO, Cary. Shakespeare and Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • EYNAT-CONFINO, Irène. Beyond the Mask: Gordon Craig, movement, and the actor. Carbondale/Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1987.
  • FLANAGAN, Hallie. Shifting Scenes of the Modern European Theatre. New York: Coward-McCann, 1928.
  • FRANKLIN, Colin. Fond of Printing: Gordon Craig as typographer and illustrator. London: Hurtwood Publications, 1980.
  • FREIXE, Guy. Les Utopies du Masque sur les Scènes Européennes du XXe Siècle. Montpellier: L'Entretemps, 2010.
  • HARPER, Margaret Mills. Yeats and the Occult. In: HOWES, Marjorie; KELLY, John (Ed.). The Cambridge Companion to W. B. Yeats. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2006.
  • INNES, Christopher. Edward Gordon Craig: a vision of theatre. London/New York: Routledge , 1998.
  • KUZMANOVIĆ, N. Natasha. John Paul Cooper: designer and craftsman of the arts and crafts movement. Stroud: Sutton Publishing, {1999}.
  • LE BOEUF, Patrick. Edward Gordon Craig and the Tempest. In: BROWN, Eric C.; RIVIER, Estelle (Ed.). Shakespeare in Performance. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013. P. 48-68; P. 235-238.
  • LE BOEUF, Patrick. El Dios Escondido de Craig: aspectos espirituales de la estética craigiana. In: HERRERA, Aurora (Ed.). Edward Gordon Craig: el espacio como espectáculo. Madrid: La Casa Encendida, 2009. P. 12-35.
  • LE BOEUF, Patrick. The Über-Marionette: facts and (felicitous) misunderstandings. In: GUIDICELLI, Carole (Ed.). Über-Marionettes and Mannequins: Craig, Kantor and their contemporary legacies. Charleville-Mézières/Lavérune: Institut International de la Marionnette/L'Entretemps, 2013. P. 54-62.
  • LEWIS, Pericles. Modernism and Religion. In: LEVENSON, Michael (Ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Modernism. 2. ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2011.
  • LOSCO-LENA, Mireille. La Scène Symboliste (1890-1896): pour un théâtre spectral. Grenoble: ELLUG, 2010.
  • MAGNIN, Charles. Histoire des Marionnettes en Europe: depuis l'antiquité jusqu'à nos jours. Paris: Michel-Lévy Frères, 1852.
  • MANTZIUS, Karl. A History of Theatrical Art in Ancient and Modern Times. I - The Earliest Times. Translation: Louise von Cossel. London: Duckworth and Co., 1903.
  • PASQUIER, Pierre. L'Infini qui Naît au Creux de la Paume, ou, Edward Gordon Craig et William Blake. Revue d'Histoire du Théâtre, v. 36, n. 3, p. 227-246, 1984.
  • ROOD, Arnold. After the Practice the Theory: Gordon Craig and movement. Theatre Research, v. 11, n. 2-3, p. 81-101, 1971.
  • SERRURIER, Lindor. De Wajang Poerwå: eene ethnologische studie. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1896.
  • SHEREN, Paul. Gordon Craig's Only American Production. The Princeton University Library Chronicle, v. 29, n. 3, p. 163-192, 1968.
  • SIMONSON, Lee. The Case of Gordon Craig. Theater Guild Magazine, v. 1, p. 19-20, 1931.
  • SIMONSON, Lee. The Stage is Set. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and C°, 1932.
  • SPIECKERMANN, Thomas. The World lacks and needs a Belief: Untersuchungen zur metaphysischen Ästhetik der Theaterprojekte Edward Gordon Craigs von 1905 bis 1918. Trier: WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 1998.
  • TAXIDOU, Olga. The Mask: a periodical performance by Edward Gordon Craig. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1998.
  • 1
    In the manuscript this text is followed by the word Tiger within brackets. One of Craig's favorite items in his collection of puppets was a Burmese tiger marionette; in the last two sentences of this soliloquy, Craig pretends that the marionette who is speaking here is precisely that Burmese tiger, and that it is talking about its tail. But a tiger marionette can scarcely be said to have two hands and two feet, and Craig's very reluctance (which must not be mentioned), the question mark after the word tail, and his use of Italian words (certain topics always are easier to tackle in a foreign language...) make it quite clear that he actually had another unruly member in mind. Throughout his life, Craig remained very much something of a prudish Victorian... which makes it all the more difficult to acknowledge the symbolic and religious value of phallism in his work and thought.
  • 2
    Undated Craig's note on the back of first cover page.
  • 3
    Also in an unpublished letter from Craig to Cooper, 23 April 2010.

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Dec 2014


  • Received
    07 Mar 2014
  • Accepted
    29 May 2014
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Av. Paulo Gama s/n prédio 12201, sala 700-2, Bairro Farroupilha, Código Postal: 90046-900, Telefone: 5133084142 - Porto Alegre - RS - Brazil