Modern British Drama: The Twentieth Century / Edition 2

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A revised and updated version of Modern British Drama, 1890-1990, is the first one-volume analysis of English playwriting over the twentieth century. Through detailed discussions of major dramatists and plays, Christopher Innes traces the evolution of modernism from Bernard Shaw to the present as well as theatrical developments over the period. The text includes information on the social and political environment surrounding the plays, first productions and critical reception, and chronology and illustrations from key performances, lists of playwrights and works, and selective bibliographies. It is an invaluable guide for students, theater-goers and theater historians.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From the first edition of Modern British Drama: '… any student wishing to survey the field will find the work invaluable.' Forum for Modern Language Studies

'Christopher Innes' study provides the most valuable and extensive coverage that there has been on the subject in one volume. For teachers and students alike this work will become an essential handbook for the hundred years of British drama it covers … In short, the book is a triumph and a major contribution.' Modern Language Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521016759
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 604
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Innes is one of the leading experts in the field of modern British drama studies and he has written and published extensively in this and related areas. His books include Piscator's Political Theatre, Modern German Drama, Holy Theatre, Edward Gordon Craig, Avant Garde Theatre: 1892–1992, and A Sourcebook on Naturalistic Theatre, as well as Modern British Drama: 1890–1990. Professor Innes also serves as the General Editor for the Cambridge University Press series Directors in Perspective, and holds the Canada Research Chair in Performance and Culture.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations
1 Contexts 1
1.1 Defining British drama 4
1.2 Patterns of development and organizing principles 7
1.3 Critical treatment 11
2 Defining modernism: George Bernard Shaw 13
2.1 The reinterpretation of Ibsen 14
2.2 Refurbishing nineteenth-century styles 22
2.3 Thesis drama and metaphysical comedy 33
2.4 Symbolism and politics 39
3 Social themes and realistic modes 55
3.1 Shavian influences and the question of censorship 55
3.2 Intellectual drama versus public theatre: Granville-Barker and John Galsworthy 60
3.3 Realism versus Agitprop: D.H. Lawrence and the Workers' Theatre Movement 69
3.4 Terence Rattigan: updating the Well-Made Play 76
3.5 John Osborne: the rhetoric of social alienation 86
3.6 Arnold Wesker: utopian realism 103
3.7 Brechtian influences: Epic stagecraft and British equivalents 113
3.8 John Arden: the popular tradition and Epic alternatives 132
3.9 Edward Bond: rationalism, realism and radical solutions 152
3.10 David Edgar: from Agitprop to Social Realism 178
3.11 Howard Brenton and David Hare: utopian perspectives on modern history 196
3.12 The feminist alternative 233
4 The comic mirror - tradition and innovation 250
4.1 Somerset Maugham: popular comedy versus social criticism 253
4.2 Noel Coward:: comedy as social image 262
4.3 Ben Travers: society as Farce 285
4.4 Joe Orton: Farce as confrontation 293
4.5 Samuel Beckett: interior space and play as image 306
4.6 Harold Pinter: power plays and the trap of comedy 328
4.7 Peter Barnes and Trevor Griffiths: the politics of comedy 350
4.8 Traditionalism and theatricality: Alan Ayckbourn and Michael Frayn 370
4.9 Tom Stoppard: theatricality and the comedy of ideas 393
4.10 New Comic Voices: Patrick Marber 427
5 Poetic drama - verse, fantasy and symbolic images 436
5.1 The rejection of society: J.M. Barrie 438
5.2 J.B. Priestley: temporal dislocation and transcendence 442
5.3 Expressionistic archetypes: W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood 455
5.4 T.S. Eliot: the drama of conversion 461
5.5 Appealing to the popular imagination: Christopher Fry and Peter Shaffer 477
5.6 Apocalyptic visions in theatres of Cruelty and Catastrophe: John Whiting, David Rudkin and Howard Barker 495
5.7 Caryl Churchill: from the psychology of feminism to the surreal 512
5.8 Sarah Kane: the poetry of madness in violent dreams 528
5.9 Simon McBurney: devising a physical theatre 537
Bibliographies 544
Index 553
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