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The Political Theatre of David Edgar
Negotiation and Retrieval

Part of Cambridge Studies in Modern Theatre

  • Date Published: August 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108701617
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About the Authors
  • David Edgar's writings address the most basic questions of how humans organize and govern themselves in modern societies. This study brings together the disciplines of political philosophy and theatre studies to approach the leading British playwright as a political writer and a public social critic. Edgar uses theatre as a powerful tool of public discourse, an aesthetic modality for engaging with and thinking/feeling through the most pressing social issues of the day. In this he is a supreme rationalist: he deploys character, plot and language to explore ideas, to make certain kinds of discursive cases and model hypothetical alternatives. Reinelt and Hewitt analyze twelve of Edgar's most important plays, including Maydays and Pentecost, and also provide detailed discussions of key performances and critical reception to illustrate the playwright's artistic achievement in relation to his contributions as a public figure in British cultural life.

    • Presents an in-depth reading of Edgar's work through contemporary politics and political theory, giving a nuanced approach to theatre in relation to the public sphere
    • Looks not only at the plays but also at Edgar as a public intellectual intervening in debates and operating professionally and politically within British culture
    • Affords careful attention to the plays themselves, while embedding them within their contemporary context and performance history
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    Customer reviews

    02nd Apr 2014 by Aha

    the political theater of david edgar is a good book for readers and researchers

    Review was not posted due to profanity

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108701617
    • length: 323 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.436kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: political commitment and performative practice
    2. Intervening in public discourse: Edgar as discursive arbiter
    3. Things fall apart: after ideology in Continental Divide and Maydays
    4. Governing memberships: Destiny, Playing with Fire and Testing the Echo
    5. A legend in your own time: The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs, Mary Barnes and Albert Speer
    6. Socialism's aftermath: The Shape of the Table, Pentecost and The Prisoner's Dilemma
    7. Conclusion: negotiating retrieval.

  • Authors

    Janelle Reinelt, University of Warwick
    Janelle Reinelt is Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Warwick. She was President of the International Federation for Theatre Research from 2004 to 2007, and is a former editor of the Theatre Journal. Her books include After Brecht: British Epic Theater (2004), Critical Theory and Performance (with Joseph Roach, 2007), The Performance of Power (with Sue-Ellen Case, 1991) and The Cambridge Companion to Modern British Women Playwrights (with Elaine Aston, Cambridge, 2000). She is the series editor, with Brian Singleton, of Studies in International Performance.

    Gerald Hewitt, University of the Pacific, California
    Gerald Hewitt is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of the Pacific, California and Research Fellow in the School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies at the University of Warwick. He was a founding faculty member of the School of International Studies at the University of the Pacific and Department Chair of the Department of Political Science. His areas of expertise include political theory, jurisprudence and modern European history and politics.

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