History will eat itself: Rory Mullarkey's "Cannibals" and the terrors of end-narratives

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Rory Mullarkey’s Cannibals (2013), an odyssey from post-Soviet Ukraine to contemporary Britain, catalogues the destructive power of teleological historical narratives through the eyes of a protagonist “mutilated in acts of spectacular terror” (Gray 205). This article aligns Mullarkey’s play with the anti-narrative political philosophy of John Gray, criticizing their approaches as implicitly valorising the very philosophies they purport to oppose. Offering an alternative reading of Cannibals through the lens of Alain Badiou’s Rebirth of History (2012), I contend that the play opens up a space of resistance against the totalizing impulses of the present, one in which “the power of an Idea may take root” (Badiou 15).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-288
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Contemporary Drama in English
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2014


  • Rory Mullarkey
  • John Gray
  • Alain Badiou
  • Cannibals
  • Eschatology


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