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Modern Drama

Critical Concepts

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What is generally referred to as modern drama was an international development or movement centred in Europe and North America, a movement directed against many of the conventions and institutions of nineteenth-century drama and theatre. Between 1880 and 1960, a number of foundational figures broke with inherited dramatic conventions, instituted new forms of drama, and created different venues for performance. George Bernard Shaw and William Archer in England, Henrik Ibsen in Norway, August Strindberg in Sweden, Maurice Maeterlinck and Alfred Jarry in France, Gerhard Hauptmann in Germany, Luigi Pirandello in Italy, Federico Garcia Lorca in Spain, Eugene O'Neill and Gertrude Stein in the United States, and Anton Chekhov in Russia share, despite their considerable differences, a project of rupturing with the old and a belief in the new. Even though each national drama tradition can boast such a foundational figure, modern drama was at the same time an international movement. New plays quickly circulated through translation and new production techniques through touring companies and extended visits, establishing an international standard for modernism in drama. The four volumes that make up this new Routledge Major Work span the historical emergence and the continuing impact of modern drama on critical thought. By focusing on the origins of modern drama as well as on the narrative of its development, the collection is uniquely positioned to relate this historical period to current critical traditions. In terms of organization, the Major Work takes stock of the various critical traditions that have developed since the 1960s and that have fundamentally transformed our understanding of modernist drama and theatre even as these traditions have continued to draw on the original impulses of modern dramatists. It is an essential reference work destined to be valued as a vital research resource by all scholars and students of the subject.
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Martin Puchner is the H. Gordon Garbedian Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and the author of Stage Fright: Modernism, Anti-Theatricality, and Drama (Hopkins, 2002) and Poetry of the Revolution: Marx, Manifestos, and the Avant-Gardes (Princeton, 2006), winner of the 2006 James Russell Lowell Prize for best book, awarded by the Modern Language Association. His edited books and introductions include Six Plays by Henrik Ibsen (Barnes and Noble, 2003), Lionel Abel's Tragedy and Metatheatre (Holmes and Meier, 2003), The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings (Barnes and Noble, 2005), and Modern Drama: Critical Concepts (Routledge, forthcoming). He is also co-editor of Against Theatre: Creative Destructions on the Modernist Stage (Palgrave, 2006) and of the forthcoming Norton Anthology of Drama. He is the editor of journal Theatre Survey, published by Cambridge University Press.


VOLUME I: HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS AND DECLARATIONS Editor's General Introduction Introduction to Volume I 1. Richard Wagner, 'The Art-Work of the Future', in Bernard F. Dukore (ed.), Dramatic Theory and Criticism (Boston: Thomson Heinle, 1974), pp. 777-94 (originally published in Richard Wagner's Prose Works, Vol. 1, trans. William Ashton Ellis (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd, 1892)). 2. Emile Zola, 'Naturalism on the Stage', in Bernard F. Dukore (ed.), Dramatic Theory and Criticism (Boston: Thomson Heinle, 1974), pp. 692-719 (originally published in The Experimental Novel and Other Essays, trans. Belle M. Sherman (New York: The Cassell Publishing Co., 1893)). 3. Oscar Wilde, 'The Truth of Masks: A Note on Illusion', in Richard Ellmann (ed.), The Artist as Critic: Critical Writings of Oscar Wilde (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969), pp. 408-32. 4. August Strindberg, 'Preface to Miss Julie', Five Plays, trans. Harry G. Carlson (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), pp. 63-75. 5. William Archer, 'A Doll's House and the Ibsen Revolution', in Christopher Innes (ed.), A Sourcebook on Naturalist Theatre (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 91-6 (originally published in Charles Archer, William Archer (Allen & Unwin, 1894)). 6. George Bernard Shaw, 'The Problem Play', in Bernard F. Dukore (ed.), Dramatic Theory and Criticism (Boston: Thomson Heinle, 1974), pp. 630-5 (originally published in E. J. West (ed.), Shaw on Theatre (New York; Hill & Wang, 1958)). 7. Alfred Jarry, 'Of the Futility of the "Theatrical" in Theatre', in Michael Huxley and Noel Witts (eds.), The Twentieth-Century Performance Reader, 2nd edn. (London: Routledge, 1996), pp. 209-15 (originally published in R. Shattuck and S. Watson Taylor (eds.), Selected Works of Alfred Jarry, trans. B. Wright (London: Methuen, 1985)). 8. Adolphe Appia, 'Ideas on a Reform of Our Mise en Scene', in Richard C. Beacham (ed.), Adolphe Appia: Texts on Theatre (New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 59-65 (originally published as La Revue des revues, Vol. 1, No. 9, June 1904, pp. 342-9. 9. Maurice Maeterlinck, 'The Modern Drama', in Bernard F. Dukore (ed.), Dramatic Theory and Criticism (Boston: Thomson Heinle, 1974), pp. 731-6 (originally published in The Double Garden, trans. Alfred Sutro (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1904)). 10. William Butler Yeats, 'The Play, the Player, and the Scene', in W. B. Yeats, Explorations (New York: Macmillan, 1973), pp. 164-80 (originally published in Samhain, 1904). 11. George Bernard Shaw, 'Shaw on Ibsen's Philosophy', in The Quintessence of Ibsenism (London: Dover, 1994), pp. 71-84 (originally published in The Quintessence of Ibsenism (New York: Brentano, 1904)). 12. William Archer, 'Henrik Ibsen: Philosopher or Poet', in Vassiliki Kolocotroni et al. (eds.), Modernism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), pp. 145-7. 13. Vsevolod Meyerhold, 'First Attempts at a Stylized Theatre', in Michael Huxley and Noel Witts, The Twentieth-Century Performance Reader, 2nd edn. (London: Routledge, 1996), pp. 264-72 (originally published in E. Braun (ed. and trans.), Meyerhold on Theatre (New York: Hill & Wang, 1969)). 14. Edward Gordon Craig, extracts from 'The Actor and the Uber-Marionette', in On the Art of the Theatre (New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1956), pp. 54-77, 80-5, 90-4. 15. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, 'The Variety Theatre', in Michael Kirby (ed.), Futurist Performance (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971), pp. 179-86. 16. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Emilio Settimelli, and Bruno Corra, 'The Futurist Synthetic Theatre', in Michael Kirby (ed.), Futurist Performance (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971), pp. 196-202. 17. Guillaume Apollinaire, 'Preface to The Mammeries of Tiresias', Three Pre-Surrealist Plays, trans. Maya Slater (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 153-8. 18. William Butler Yeats, 'Introduction to Certain Noble Plays of Japan by Pound and Fenollosa', in Ezra Po