Abstract/Details

Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd: Parabolic drama and the question of absurdity


2009 2009

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Abstract (summary)

Entitled “Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd: Parabolic Drama and the Question of Absurdity,” my dissertation interrogates the conventional idea that the Theatre of the Absurd contemplates the purposelessness of life by re-examining some of the major plays of Beckett, Ionesco, Genet and Pinter. I suggest that the plays of the Theatre of the Absurd are, instead, ethical texts that contemplate how life can be made meaningful. I argue that Martin Esslin’s 1961 characterization of such work as “absurd” does not take into account a fully informed reading of Camus, and thus Esslin’s reading does not see the extent to which meaningfulness is fundamental to such cultural productions. Therefore, I push for a re-reading of these plays and playwrights that allows for decidedly meaning-making conclusions. Using an up-to-date understanding of Camus’ philosophy as a theoretical frame, I engage with the long history of Theatre of the Absurd criticism, performance histories and reviews, the genre of the parable, philosophy and performance studies. My dissertation, ultimately, argues against a strictly absurd reading and, instead, positions such work within the larger realm of ethics (in the general vein of Camus).

Indexing (details)


Subject
Comparative literature;
Romance literature;
Theater;
British and Irish literature
Classification
0295: Comparative literature
0313: Romance literature
0465: Theater
0593: British and Irish literature
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Language, literature and linguistics; Algeria; Beckett, Samuel; Camus, Albert; France; Genet, Jean; Ionesco, Eugene; Ireland; Theatre of the Absurd
Title
Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd: Parabolic drama and the question of absurdity
Author
Bennett, Michael Y.
Number of pages
188
Publication year
2009
Degree date
2009
School code
0118
Source
DAI-A 70/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9781109189834
Advisor
Spencer, Jenny S.
Committee member
Freeman, James; Lenson, David
University/institution
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Department
English
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3359128
ProQuest document ID
230532234
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/230532234
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