Unnatural Temporalities and Projected Places in Sam Shepard’s Cowboys #2
Keywords:Sam Shepard’s Cowboy #2, unnatural narratology, impossible worlds, projected places, postmodernism
Sam Shepard’s Cowboys #2 (1967) belongs to his first period of play writing. In this phase, his works exhibit experimental, remote, impossible narrative/fictional worlds that are overwhelmingly abstract, exhibiting “abrupt shifts of focus and tone” (Wetzsteon 1984, 4). Shepard’s unusual theatrical literary cartography is commensurate with his depiction of unnatural temporalities, in that, although the stage is bare, with almost no props, the postmodernist/metatheatrical conflated timelines and projected (impossible) places in the characters’ imagination mutually reflect and inflect each other. Employing Jan Alber’s reading strategies in his theorization of unnatural narratology and Barbara Piatti’s concept of projected places, this essay proposes a synthetic approach so as to naturalize the unnatural narratives and storyworlds in Shepard’s play.
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