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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