The Theatrical Critic as Cultural Agent: Constructing Pinter, Orton and Stoppard as Absurdist Playwrights

The Theatrical Critic as Cultural Agent: Constructing Pinter, Orton and Stoppard as Absurdist Playwrights

by Yael Zarhy-Levo
     
 

The Theatrical Critic as Cultural Agent reconstructs the story of three British playwrights: Harold Pinter, Joe Orton and Tom Stoppard. It traces the process of their acceptance and establishment within the local context of the British theatre, as well as within the larger context of the group of European playwrights associated with the label

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Overview

The Theatrical Critic as Cultural Agent reconstructs the story of three British playwrights: Harold Pinter, Joe Orton and Tom Stoppard. It traces the process of their acceptance and establishment within the local context of the British theatre, as well as within the larger context of the group of European playwrights associated with the label «Theatre of the Absurd». This book focuses on an overlooked link - theatre criticism and reviewing - thereby presenting criticism’s role in the process of the formation of a theatrical «school».
Through an investigation of the practice of criticism in the various cases, this book discloses the mechanisms involved in the process of a new playwright’s acceptance - the objectives sought, the repertoire of strategies employed, the subsequent impact on the progress of the playwright’s career, and his historical standing in the theatrical canon.
Recognizing critical consensus as a driving force in the process that determines a playwright’s acceptance into the theatrical canon, this book advances the view that critical acceptance itself determines how history is reconstructed.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820444796
Publisher:
Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
11/01/2001
Series:
Artists and Issues in the Theatre Series
Pages:
158

Meet the Author

The Author: Yael Zarhy-Levo teaches literature and theatre history in the Department of Poetics and Comparative Literature at Tel-Aviv University. She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from The School of Cultural Studies at Tel-Aviv University. Dr. Zarhy-Levo investigates contemporary British theatre and critical dynamics. Her articles have appeared in professional journals such as Poetics and Theatre History Studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Absurd as Cultural Phenomenon1
Ch. 1Absurd Beginnings9
Esslin's Contribution: Constructing and Promoting the Theatre of the Absurd9
The Initial London Reception of Beckett's and Ionesco's Plays16
Ch. 2Usages of the Absurd Construct: The Pinteresque21
Pinter's Acceptance Process21
The Pinter Package of Attributes32
Ch. 3Introducing Orton43
Orton's Acceptance Process43
The Orton Myth62
Orton and the "Absurd"63
Ch. 4Stoppard, The Story of Canonization67
Stoppard's Acceptance Process67
Stoppard and the "Absurd," a Culminating "Episode"86
Ch. 5Critical Strategies: Theoretical Conclusions95
Comparison97
Forecasting99
Name-giving100
Formation of the Attributes Package101
Construction of a Group104
Minor Strategies104
Ch. 6Reconstructing Theatre History, The Case of the British Absurd: Historical Conclusion107
History as Construct107
Reconstructing Theatre History113
A Concluding Note119
Bibliography121
Notes135
Index153

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