The Theatre of Naturalism

Disappearing Act

by Philip Beitchman (Author)
©2011 Monographs 139 Pages

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The impact of naturalism, a literary approach invented by Zola and especially significant in the field of the novel through his American «disciples» Crane, Norris, and Dreiser, is well acknowledged and recognized. Not so well recognized, but equally important, is naturalistic theatre; this was a style that also originated with Zola, but its progeny was more international and its significance more radical and insurrectionary than in the less «spectacular» genre of fiction. The Theatre of Naturalism: Disappearing Act establishes the incipiently revolutionary context (between the Paris Communist Commune, crushed in 1871, and the successful Bolshevik insurrection of October 1917) – more or less foregrounded or in the background of works by Zola, Strindberg, Ibsen, Hauptmann, Synge, Shaw, and Tolstoy, focused especially on issues of class struggle and class war, as well as the prospects and possibilities of challenging the hegemony of the ruling orders. Especially in regard to later theatre, for instance the «hypernaturalism» of The Brig (Living Theatre) of Kenneth Brown, and of plays by Arnold Wesker and David Storey – Philip Beitchman frequently invokes themes culled from recent French theory, particularly Derrida’s deconstruction and Baudrillard’s ideas about simulation. The Theatre of Naturalism will open up new perspectives for anyone interested in theory or theatre, whether scholars or the wider theatre-loving or performing public.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2010 (November)
Socialist "Theatre, Naturalism, Hypernaturalism, Ibsen, Shaw Proletarian, Socialist, and Anarchist Class Stru Deconstruction." Theatre Naturalism Hypernaturalism Ibsen Shaw Synge Gorky The Living Theatre Arnold Wesker David Storey Jean Baudrillard Emile Zola Proletarian and Anarchist Class Struggle Deconstruction. Strindberg
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2011. X, 139 pp.

Biographical notes

Philip Beitchman (Author)

Philip Beitchman received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from The City University of New York and teaches world literature at Medgar Evers College, The City University of New York. He is the author of I Am a Process with No Subject (1988); Alchemy of the Word: Cabala of the Renaissance (1998); and The View from Nowhere: Essays in Literature, Mysticism and Philosophy (2001). His many translations from the French include works by Jean Baudrillard (Simulations, Fatal Strategies) and Paul Virilio (Aesthetics of Disappearance).


Title: The Theatre of Naturalism