British Playwrights, 1880-1956

British Playwrights, 1880-1956

by William Demastes, Katherine Kelly
     
 

From 1880 to 1956, when John Osborne transformed the British theater world with Look Back in Anger, British playwrights made numerous lasting contributions and provided a foundation for the innovations of dramatists during the latter half of the 20th century. This reference profiles the life and work of some 40 British playwrights active during the late 19th

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Overview

From 1880 to 1956, when John Osborne transformed the British theater world with Look Back in Anger, British playwrights made numerous lasting contributions and provided a foundation for the innovations of dramatists during the latter half of the 20th century. This reference profiles the life and work of some 40 British playwrights active during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many of whom are also known for their work as novelists and poets. Included are figures such as W. H. Auden, Max Beerbohm, Noel Coward, T. S. Eliot, John Galsworthy, Graham Greene, D. H. Lawrence, W. Somerset Maugham, George Bernard Shaw, and Oscar Wilde. Each entry provides a biographical overview; a list of major plays and summaries of their critical reception; a list of minor plays, adaptations, and productions; an assessment of the playwright's career; and archival and bibliographical information.

Included in this reference book are alphabetically arranged entries for some 40 British playwrights active from 1880 through 1956. Entries are written by expert contributors, with each entry providing a biographical overview; a list of major plays, premieres, and significant revivals, along with a summary of the critical reception of these works; a listing of additional plays, adaptations, and productions; an assessment of the playwright's career and contributions, with reference to published evaluations in magazines, journals, dissertations, and books; a listing of locations housing unpublished archival material, if available; a selected bibliography of the dramatist's published plays and of essays and articles by the playwright on aspects of the theater; a selected bibliography of secondary sources; and, when available, a listing of previously published bibliographies on the playwright.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Taken as a set, these two new volumes supplement British Playwrights, 1956-1995 (Greenwood, 1996), edited by Demastes (English, Louisiana State Univ.), to form an excellent critical overview of regional drama in this century. The British edition features ten to 15-page essays on 40 writers active during the period, both famous (Auden) and forgotten (William Archer). The uniformly well-written essays each include biographical data, summaries of the critical reception of all works, assessments of the playwrights' careers, primary and secondary bibliographies, and the housings of unpublished archival material. Generally, this is a welcome addition to literature and theatrical collections that already own Stanley Weintraub's two-volume Modern British Dramatists, 1900-1945 (Gale, 1982). The Irish volume parallels the British one in format and quality, covering 32 major and minor playwrights throughout the century. Librarians should note, however, that essays on Wilde and Bernard Shaw appear in both sets, although by different authors who each offer useful information and assessments. Whereas 18 of these writers are lumped together in either the Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB) 10 (the Weintraub work cited above) or DLB 13 (Weintraub's British Dramatists Since World War II, Gale, 1982), another 14 have yet to appear in any DLB series. As there is no comparable current volume in print specifically on Irish playwrights, Irish Playwrights, 1880-1995 would make a first-rate addition for all collections. Both volumes under review are highly recommended.-Anthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ. Lib., Tex.
Booknews
Included in this reference are alphabetically arranged entries for some 40 British playwrights active from 1880 through 1956. Each entry provides a biographical overview; a list of major plays, premieres, and significant revivals, along with a summary of the critical reception of these works; a listing of additional plays, adaptations, and productions; an assessment of the playwright's career and contributions, with reference to published evaluations in magazines, journals, dissertations, and books; a listing of locations housing unpublished archival material; and bibliographies. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313287589
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
12/09/1996
Pages:
470
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
1260L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

WILLIAM W. DEMASTES is Professor of English at Louisiana State University. His publications include Beyond Naturalism: A New Realism in American Theater (1988), Clifford Odets: A Research and Production Sourcebook (1991), American Playwrights, 1880-1945: A Research and Production Sourcebook (1995), and British Playwrights, 1956-1995: A Research and Production Sourcebook (1996), all published by Greenwood Press.

KATHERINE E. KELLY is Associate Professor of English at Texas A&M University and Executive Director of the South Central Modern Language Association. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Modern Drama, Theatre Journal, Comparative Drama, and Journal of Beckett Studies.

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