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Irony and the Modern Theatre

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Modern Theatre

  • Date Published: May 2011
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781139066235

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About the Authors
  • Irony and theater share intimate kinships, not only regarding dramatic conflict, dialectic, or wittiness, but also scenic structure and the verbal or situational ironies that typically mark theatrical speech and action. Yet irony today, in aesthetic, literary, and philosophical contexts especially, is often regarded with skepticism – as ungraspable, or elusive to the point of confounding. Countering this tendency, Storm advocates a wide-angle view of this master trope, exploring the ironic in major works by playwrights including Chekhov, Pirandello, and Brecht, and in notable relation to well-known representative characters in drama from Ibsen's Halvard Solness to Stoppard's Septimus Hodge and Wasserstein's Heidi Holland. To the degree that irony is existential, its presence in the theater relates directly to the circumstances and the expressiveness of the characters on stage. This study investigates how these key figures enact, embody, represent, and personify the ironic in myriad situations in the modern and contemporary theater.

    • Presents a comprehensive treatment of irony in relation to modern theatre and drama
    • Focuses on irony in a carefully chosen selection of major plays and playwrights including Chekhov and Brecht, with emphasis on well-known representative characters to provide specific examples
    • Looks at irony inclusively, with a wide angle rather than a restrictive or esoteric view, avoiding specialized terminology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "… a discerning commentary … William Storm’s Irony and the Modern Theatre revisits some well-mapped territory, surveying as it does the nature and purpose of irony in selected dramatic texts from Ibsen to Tony Kushner."
    Modern Philology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2011
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781139066235
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Irony personified: Ibsen and The Master Builder
    2. The character of irony in Chekhov
    3. Irony and dialectic: Shaw's Candida
    4. Pirandello's 'father' - and Brecht's 'mother'
    5. Absurdist irony: Ionesco's 'anti-play'
    6. 'Ironist first-class': Stoppard's Arcadia
    7. American ironies: Wasserstein and Kushner
    8. Irony's theatre
    Works cited.

  • Author

    William Storm, New Mexico State University
    William Storm teaches dramatic literature, theory and theatre history at New Mexico State University. He is the author of After Dionysus: A Theory of the Tragic as well as numerous essays, articles and plays. His scholarly specializations include dramatic theory and dramaturgy, the history and theory of the tragic form and sensibility, art in relation to literature and performance, and connections of science with theatre and narrative studies.

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