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A History of Modern Drama, Volume II: 1960 - 2000



A History of Modern Drama, Volume II: 1960 - 2000

David Krasner

ISBN: 978-1-405-15758-2 April 2016 Wiley-Blackwell 608 Pages



A History of Modern Drama: Volume II explores a remarkable breadth of topics and analytical approaches to the dramatic works, authors, and transitional events and movements that shaped world drama from 1960 through to the dawn of the new millennium.

  • Features detailed analyses of plays and playwrights, examining the influence of a wide range of writers, from mainstream icons such as Harold Pinter and Edward Albee, to more unorthodox works by Peter Weiss and Sarah Kane
  • Provides global coverage of both English and non-English dramas – including works from Africa and Asia to the Middle East
  • Considers the influence of art, music, literature, architecture, society, politics, culture, and philosophy on the formation of postmodern dramatic literature
  • Combines wide-ranging topics with original theories, international perspective, and philosophical and cultural context

Completes a comprehensive two-part work examining modern world drama, and alongside A History of Modern Drama: Volume I, offers readers complete coverage of a full century in the evolution of global dramatic literature.

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

Part I: Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Strangers More than Ever: Modern Drama and Alternative Modernities 3

Part II: United Kingdom and Ireland 47

Chapter 2 Jewish Oedipus, Jewish Ethics: Harold Pinter and Postmodern Philosophy 49

Chapter 3 Tom Stoppard and the Limits of Empiricism 92

Chapter 4 Caryl Churchill, Monetarism, and the Feminist Dilemma 119

Chapter 5 “Can’t Buy Me Love”: Socialism, Working Class Sensibilities, and Modern British Drama 139

Chapter 6 Between Past and Present: Brian Friel’s “Symbolic Middle Ground” 186

Part III: United States 205

Chapter 7 “Participate, I suppose”: Edward Albee and the Specter of Death 207

Chapter 8 “Ask a Criminal”: White Postmodern Manhood in David Mamet and Sam Shepard 225

Chapter 9 Modern Drama, Modern Feminism, and Postmodern Motherhood 254

Chapter 10 History, Reinvention, and Dialectics: African American Drama and August Wilson 279

Chapter 11 Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: Postmodern Ethics in the Age of Reagan 301

Part IV: Western and Eastern Europe 319

Chapter 12 Post]War, Cold War, and Post]Cold War: Marxism, Post]Totalitarianism, and European Drama in the Postmodern Era 321

Chapter 13 Eastern Europe, Totalitarianism, and the Wooden Words 353

Part V: Postcolonial Drama 387

Chapter 14 The Fragmentation of the Self in Postcolonial Drama 389

Chapter 15 Africa: Wole Soyinka, Athol Fugard, and Christina Ama Ata Aidoo 401

Chapter 16 Central and South America: Carlos Fuentes and Derek Walcott 417

Chapter 17 Asia and the Middle East: Yukio Mishima, Gao Xingjian, Girish Karnad, Hanoch Levin, and SaaDallah Wannous 429

Chapter 18 Canada: Ann]Marie MacDonald and Judith Thompson 449

Part VI: Nihilism at the Door 459

Chapter 19 Crisis of Values and Loss of Center in the Plays of Martin McDonagh and Sarah Kane 461

Chapter 20 Blasted, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, and Phaedra’s Love 477

Chapter 21 Pushing More Boundaries: Children and Desire 493

Notes 500

Index 567

David Krasner’s A History of Modern Drama, Volume II: 1960–2000 offers… a structural and technique-based approach to differentiating dramatic eras. In his sequel to A History of Modern Drama, Volume I, Krasner shifts focus from dividing drama by time periods (i.e., “modern” and “contemporary”) to categorizing dramatic eras according to their use of different formal techniques (i.e., “modern” and “postmodern”). This is an important distinction, as book-length studies on postmodern drama are few. Krasner’s Volume II makes this scholarly move feel like a logical step and a natural conclusion. 

This book will reinvigorate the study of postmodernism and drama. This is a worthy and important volume that should be read by anyone who teaches theatre history and/or modern and postmodern drama courses.

- Michael Y. Bennett, Modern Drama