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The Theatrical Critic as Cultural Agent

Constructing Pinter, Orton and Stoppard as Absurdist Playwrights

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Yael Zarhy-Levo

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.