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Sartre’s Theatre: Acts for Life

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Benedict O'Donohoe

Published on the eve of the philosopher-playwright’s centenary, this study offers a wide-ranging re-appraisal of Sartre’s complete dramatic opus, from the inaugural ‘nativity’ play, Bariona (1940), to the swan-song chorus of Armageddon, Les Troyennes (1965). It draws on a close reading of Sartre’s writings in philosophy, literature and criticism, and provides an extensive survey of journalistic and academic reception. Each play is situated in relation both to Sartre’s intellectual evolution and to the broader historical context. This is the first full-length study in English, for more than thirty years, covering the whole of Sartre’s theatre, and it will interest students of twentieth-century European drama, as well as those of modern French literature and ideas.
Contents: Sartre’s theatre: genesis and reception – Myth-making: Bariona, ou le Fils du tonnerre, Les Mouches, Huis clos – Too much reality: Morts sans sépulture, La Putain respectueuse, Les Mains sales – From Hispano-German melodrama to Anglo-French farce: Le Diable et le bon Dieu, Kean, Nekrassov – Madness and Armageddon: Les Séquestrés d’Altona, Les Troyennes.