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The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre and Literature of the Absurd


Part of Cambridge Introductions to Literature

  • Date Published: October 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107635517

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About the Authors
  • Michael Y. Bennett's accessible Introduction explains the complex, multidimensional nature of the works and writers associated with the absurd - a label placed upon a number of writers who revolted against traditional theatre and literature in both similar and widely different ways. Setting the movement in its historical, intellectual and cultural contexts, Bennett provides an in-depth overview of absurdism and its key figures in theatre and literature, from Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter to Tom Stoppard. Chapters reveal the movement's origins, development and present-day influence upon popular culture around the world, employing the latest research to this often challenging area of study in a balanced and authoritative approach. Essential reading for students of literature and theatre, this book provides the necessary tools to interpret and develop the study of a movement associated with some of the twentieth century's greatest and most influential cultural figures.

    • Offers a comprehensive survey of absurd literature, from its early influences to its cultural legacy today
    • Explains the historical and intellectual contexts behind absurdism to provide a greater understanding of the movement and its key texts
    • Presents a new way to understand and group absurd writers through a structured approach
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In his latest book Michael Bennett sets out to provide a scholarly but reader-friendly appraisal of the literary and dramatic manifestations of the absurd. … this book manages to be both an accessible introduction to readers unfamiliar with the absurd and a thought-provoking addition to absurd criticism.' Pedro Querido, Modern Language Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107635517
    • length: 173 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.26kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: overview of the absurd
    2. Setting the stage
    3. The emergence of a 'movement': the historical and intellectual contexts
    4. Samuel Beckett
    5. Beckett's notable contemporaries
    6. The European and American wave of absurdism
    7. Post-absurdism?
    8. Absurd criticism.

  • Author

    Michael Y. Bennett, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
    Michael Y. Bennett is Associate Professor of English and affiliated faculty in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, where he teaches courses on modern drama. He is the author of Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd (2011), Words, Space, and the Audience (2012) and Narrating the Past through Theatre (2012); the editor of Refiguring Oscar Wilde's Salome (2011); and the co-editor of Eugene O'Neill's One-Act Plays: New Critical Perspectives (2012). He is also Editor of The Edward Albee Review.

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