Post-war British Drama: Looking Back in Gender / Edition 1

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In this extensively revised and updated edition of her classic work, Look Back in Gender, Michelene Wandor confirms the symbiotic relationship between drama and gender in a provocative look at key, representative British plays from the last fifty years.
Repositioning the text at the heart of hteatre studies, Wandor surveys plays by Ayckbourn, Beckett, Churchill, Daniels, Friel, Hare, Kane, Osborne, Pinter, Ravenhill, Wertenbaker, Wesker and others. Her nuanced argument, central to any analysis of contemporary drama, discusses:
*the imperative of gender in the playwright's imagination
*the function of gender as a major determinant of the text's structural and narrative drives
*the impact of socialism and feminism on post-war British drama, and the relevance of feminist dynamics in drama
*differences in the representation of the fmaily, sexuality and the mother, before and after 1968
*the impact of the slogan that the 'personal is political' on contemporary form and content.

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Editorial Reviews

Examining the relationship between gender and theater as it was construed in Britain during the last half of the twentieth century, Wandor (a playwright, critic, and lecturer on creative writing, University of North London) provides an analytic framework for the study of drama. With a renewed emphasis on the text, she analyzes representative plays from the period and considers the influences of gender on the playwright's imagination, and his or her choices regarding structure and narrative. The impact of socialism and feminism are also discussed; Wandor compares representations of the family, sexuality, and the mother in plays written before and after 1968. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415138567
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/10/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Imperative of gender 15
Orlando's tea-party 15
To be or not to be (gendered) 17
The imperative of gender 21
2 The imperative of context: family and gender 27
After the war was over 27
Public and private 35
3 The 1950s 41
Good causes. Displacement: kitchen sink and psyche 41
Men, authority and the state 48
Political causes: Communism and the Jewish family 50
The outsider at the door 58
Voices from the distaff side: mother and daughter 60
Women and myth 63
Women and emancipation 67
Men and the military 71
4 The 1960s 76
Military homosexuality 77
Behind the lace curtains 80
Suburbia fights back 81
Respectable lesbians 82
Beginning to come out 86
Urban violence 87
5 The Lady Macbeth syndrome - The 1950s and 1960s: conclusions 91
6 The Royal Smut-Hound 98
7 New contexts 115
Sexual politics 115
Alternative theatres 121
Who works where: writers and the rest 130
Gender and playwriting 132
Cross-dressing and gender 136
Feminist dynamics: radical, bourgeois and socialist feminism 140
8 A theatrical legacy 148
Mother on a pedestal - a doubtful chivalry 148
9 The 1970s 157
Whose territory? 157
On female territory 159
Womb envy 162
Whose public school? 164
The sexual psyche 166
Whose sexual freedoms? 168
Biology and property values 170
Gender and creativity: the Ophelia syndrome 173
Gender and the Left 176
Rites of passage 179
Utopias 181
Daring loves 185
Chronicling gender 187
10 The 1970s: conclusions 190
11 The 1980s 197
Ireland, imperialism and language 197
Taking gender out of the ring 199
Foreign customs 202
Cleaning up the act 204
The right legacy 207
Pornographics 212
Myth revisited 217
12 The 1980s: conclusions 220
13 The 1990s 225
Down on the estate 225
New urban disaffection 227
Intellectual life 229
New brutalism 232
14 The 1990s: conclusion 235
15 Turning the tables 241
16 Coda 253
Serendipities and alter egos 253
Home and away 255
Epilogue 260
Select bibliography 261
Index 266
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