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A History of Modern Drama, Volume I

David Krasner

ISBN: 978-1-444-34376-2 November 2011 Wiley-Blackwell 416 Pages


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)