Theatre of the Absurd

ISBN-10: 1400075238

ISBN-13: 9781400075232

Edition: 3rd 2004

Authors: Martin Esslin

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In 1953, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot premiered at a tiny avant-garde theatre in Paris; within five years, it had been translated into more than twenty languages and seen by more than a million spectators. Its startling popularity marked the emergence of a new type of theatre whose proponents—Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, Pinter, and others—shattered dramatic conventions and paid scant attention to psychological realism, while highlighting their characters’ inability to understand one another. In 1961, Martin Esslin gave a name to the phenomenon in his groundbreaking study of these playwrights who dramatized the absurdity at the core of the human condition. Over four decades after its initial publication, Esslin’s landmark book has lost none of its freshness. The questions these dramatists raise about the struggle for meaning in a purposeless world are still as incisive and necessary today as they were when Beckett’s tramps first waited beneath a dying tree on a lonely country road for a mysterious benefactor who would never show. Authoritative, engaging, and eminently readable, The Theatre of the Absurd is nothing short of a classic: vital reading for anyone with an interest in the theatre.
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Book details

List price: $17.00
Edition: 3rd
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 1/6/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 480
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.012
Language: English

Martin Esslin was the author of such ground-breaking classics as The Theatre of the Absurd and Brecht: A Choice of Evils, as well as The Field of Drama in which he focused on the semiology of drama. He joined the BBC in 1940 and was head of Drama (Radio) from 1963-1977. He published many collections of essays including Brief Chronicles: Essays on Modern Drama and Mediations: Essays on Brecht, Beckett and the Media. His critical articles used to appear regularly in Plays and Players, Encounters and many other periodicals. He was also a well-known translator of plays, particularly by German-speaking dramatists. He died in 2012.

Foreword: Forty Years on
Preface (1961)
Introduction: The absurdity of the Absurd
Samuel Beckett: The search for the self
Arthur Adamov: The curable and the incurable
Eugene Ionesco: Theatre and anti-theatre
Jean Genet: A hall of mirrors
Harold Pinter: Certainties and uncertainties
Parallels and Proselytes
The Tradition of the Absurd
The Significance of the Absurd
Beyond the Absurd
Bibliography: 1. The dramatists of the Absurd
Bibliography: 2. Background and history of the Theatre of the Absurd
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