Covering the period 1879 to 1959, and taking in everything from Ibsen to Beckett, this book is volume one of a two-part comprehensive examination of the plays, dramatists, and movements that comprise modern world drama. Contains detailed analysis of plays and playwrights, connecting themes and offering original interpretations Includes coverage of non-English works and traditions to create a global view of modern drama Considers the influence of modernism in art, music, literature, architecture, society, and politics on the formation of modern dramatic literature Takes an interpretative and analytical approach to modern dramatic texts rather than focusing on production history Includes coverage of the ways in which staging practices, design concepts, and acting styles informed the construction of the dramas
Preface and Acknowledgements ix Chapter 1 Introduction 1 Part I: Trauma Drama 33 Chapter 2 The Price of Freedom 39 Chapter 3 Unhinged Subjectivity 80 Chapter 4 Aboulia 109 Part II: Modernist Beginnings 137 Chapter 5 Rising Symbolism 145 Chapter 6 Rising Expressionism 158 Part III: Realism 167 Chapter 7 Rural Realism 171 Chapter 8 Urban Realism 178 Chapter 9 Optimistic Passion 182 Chapter 10 The Campaign Against Earnestness 189 Part IV: Dissociated Sensibility 193 Chapter 11 Distorted Modernism 195 Chapter 12 Lyrical Modernism 203 Chapter 13 Sentimental Modernism 210 Part V: Avant Garde 215 Chapter 14 Eros and Thanatos 217 Chapter 15 Robots and Automatons 226 Chapter 16 Farce and Parody 229 Part VI: Epic Modernism 235 Chapter 17 Gaming the System 237 Part VII: The Divided Self of American Drama 259 Chapter 18 Illusions 265 Chapter 19 Delusions 275 Chapter 20 Dreams 281 Chapter 21 Gender 289 Chapter 22 Race 293 Part VIII: Hell Is Other People 301 Chapter 23 The Farce of Intimacy 307 Chapter 24 The Tragedy of Intimacy 315 Part IX: Modernist Improvising 325 Chapter 25 Beckett Impromptu 327 Part X: Conclusion 349 Notes 351 Index 389
“Summing Up: Recommended. All readers.” (Choice, 1 November 2012) “In his comprehensive History of Modern Drama (the first of two volumes, running up to 1959), David Krasner cites Roland Barthes writing about Baudelaire, and responding to this question with his own answer.” (Times Literary Supplement, 4 May 2012)
David Krasner is Associate Professor at Emerson College. His publications include A Companion to Twentieth-Century American Drama (ed., Blackwell, 2005), American Drama, 1945-2000: An Introduction (Blackwell, 2006), and Theatre in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology (ed., Blackwell, 2008).
A History of Modern Drama, Volume I is the first of a two-part comprehensive examination of the plays, dramatists, and movements that comprise modern world drama. Drawing on the essential issues from dramaturgical and theatrical debate, David Krasner considers the influence of modernism in art, music, literature, architecture, society and politics and the impact these factors played in the formation of modern dramatic literature between 1880 and 1960. Covering non-English works and traditions to create a global view of modern drama, the author takes an interpretative and analytical approach to modern dramatic texts, considering a range of dramatists from Ibsen to Shaw, Strindberg to Brecht, Chekhov to O’Neill and Treadwell to Beckett. This volume highlights the transitional moments in the development of modern drama and understands drama as a literary document enriched by theoretical underpinnings, and as a blueprint for the stage.
"David Krasner's A History of Modern Drama is an impressive feat of synthesis. Krasner gives us not only detailed analyses of the most important playwrights and plays of the period, but also the cultural and political context in which they operated and which crucially shaped them.... This book fills a major gap and will prove to be an invaluable teaching tool." —Martin Puchner, Harvard University
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