The Theatrical Critic as Cultural Agent
Constructing Pinter, Orton and Stoppard as Absurdist Playwrights
Year of Publication: 2001
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., Oxford, Wien, 2001. X, 158 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8204-4479-6 hardback (Hardcover)
Weight: 0.370 kg, 0.816 lbs
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The Theatrical Critic as Cultural Agent reconstructs the story of three British playwrights: Harold Pinter, Joe Orton and Tom Stoppard. It traces the process of their acceptance and establishment within the local context of the British theatre, as well as within the larger context of the group of European playwrights associated with the label «Theatre of the Absurd». This book focuses on an overlooked link - theatre criticism and reviewing - thereby presenting criticism's role in the process of the formation of a theatrical «school».
Through an investigation of the practice of criticism in the various cases, this book discloses the mechanisms involved in the process of a new playwright's acceptance - the objectives sought, the repertoire of strategies employed, the subsequent impact on the progress of the playwright's career, and his historical standing in the theatrical canon.
Recognizing critical consensus as a driving force in the process that determines a playwright's acceptance into the theatrical canon, this book advances the view that critical acceptance itself determines how history is reconstructed.
About the author(s)/editor(s)
The Author: Yael Zarhy-Levo teaches literature and theatre history in the Department of Poetics and Comparative Literature at Tel-Aviv University. She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from The School of Cultural Studies at Tel-Aviv University. Dr. Zarhy-Levo investigates contemporary British theatre and critical dynamics. Her articles have appeared in professional journals such as Poetics and Theatre History Studies.
«Yael Zarhy-Levo has placed theatre criticism and reviewing at the forefront of the historic construction of performance. Often discounted in favor of text-based approaches, Dr. Zarhy-Levo's study firmly establishes how individual playwrights - and the whole 'school' of the Absurd - owes its success not to its (evident) literary merit, but to its critical reception by the handful of scholars and reviewers who named, defined, validated, and created consensus about its aesthetic and cultural value. In the process of reconstructing the history of 'Theatre of the Absurd', Dr. Zarhy-Levo demonstrates an important historiographical shift in how critical consensus in theatre studies is constructed.» (Rosemarie K. Bank, Professor of Theatre, Kent State University)
Artists and Issues in the Theatre. Vol. 12
General Editor: August W. Staub