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An Idea of the Drama

Six Modern Playwrights in One Movement- Essays in Revisionism

Robert Cardullo

This is a collection of ten long essays arranged around the primordial subject of realism and non-realism, or anti-realism, in the drama, as this subject manifests itself in modern Europe and contemporary America from Ibsen and Shaw to the symbolists, expressionists, surrealists, dadaists, futurists, and absurdists. This book treats not only the issue of realism versus anti-realism in theater from a practical as well as a theoretical point of view. It also treats at least two subjects related to this issue: the superficial or bourgeois realism that has long crippled the theater versus the critical and sometimes poetic realism that liberates it; and the avant-garde, the rearguard, and the middle-to-advanced artistic ground in between claimed by Bertolt Brecht and Harold Pinter. Special attention is paid, moreover, to the first thoroughgoing American avant-garde dramatist, Gertrude Stein. In sum, this book treats the subject of realism and non-realism from the point of view of the theater’s ability to create not only the illusion of reality onstage, but also the reality of illusion.
Contents: Euro-American dramatic literature and criticism – Realism vs. anti-realism – Modern drama – Avant-gardism – Theatrical illusionism.