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The Theatre of the Absurd

Written by Martin Esslin

The Theatre of the Absurd
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Category: Performing Arts - Theater - History & Criticism; Literary Criticism & Collections - Drama
Imprint: Vintage
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: January 2004
Price: $16.00
Can. Price: $18.00
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7523-2 (1-4000-7523-8)
Pages: 480
Also available as an eBook.



 
“Exciting and stimulating...a very useful reference work and a standard text book.” —Literary Review

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.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
An internationally renowned critic and scholar, Martin Esslin probably is best recognized for coining the phrase that came to define the work of such playwrights as Eugène Ionesco and Samuel Beckett. Born Julius Pereszlenyi on June 6, 1918, in Budapest at the sunset of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Esslin attended the University of Vienna, where he studied philosophy and English. He then studied theatrical direction at Vienna's famed Reinhardt Seminar of Dramatic Art. Among his noted books are The Anatomy of Drama (1965), The Peopled Wound: The Work of Harold Pinter (1970), Artaud (1976) and The Age of Television (1981). Esslin died in February 2002, and is survived by his wife and a daughter, Monica Esslin of London, England.





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