The Theatre of the Absurd
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.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Devil_llama - LibraryThing
A history of absurdist theatre, with thorough profiles of some of the leading artists of absurdism, such as Beckett, Ionesco, and Genet. The author traces absurdism back throughout the history of ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - iayork - LibraryThing
a must read for the theatre teacher.: Esslin outlines important facts about this complicated and confusing theatrical movement. He helps provide a basic understanding for anyone who would like to know ... Read full review
Günter Grass 297 Robert Pinget 299
Norman Frederick Simpson 302 Edward Albee 311
Slawomir Mrozek 318 Tadeusz Rózewicz 321
The TRADITION OF the ABSURD
THE SIGNIFI cance of THE ABSURD
Background and history of the Theatre of
Manuel de Pedrolo 281 Fernando Arrabal 283
Max Frisch 292 Wolfgang Hildesheimer 293