Synopsis

Tragicomedy

Tragicomedy $18.99

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Brean Hammond

Published by Methuen Drama

This succinct authoritative book offers readers an overview of the origins, characteristics, and changing status of tragicomedy from the 17th century to the present

It explores the work of some of the key English and Irish playwrights associated with the form, the influence of Italian and Spanish theorist-playwrights and the importance of translations of Pierre Corneille's Le Cid

At the turn of the 17th century, English dramatists such as John Marston, John Fletcher, and William Shakespeare began experimenting with plays that mixed elements of tragedy and comedy, producing a blended mode that they themselves called 'tragicomedy'

This book begins by examining the sources of their inspiration and the theatrical achievement that they hoped to gain by confronting an audience with plays that defied the plot and character expectations of 'pure' comedy and tragedy

It goes on to show how, reacting to French models, John Dryden, Shakespeare 'improvers' and other English playwrights developed the form while sowing the seeds of its own vulnerability to parody and obsolescence in the eighteenth century

Discussing nineteenth-century melodrama as in some respects a resurrection of tragicomedy, the final chapter concentrates on plays by Ibsen, Chekhov, and Beckett as examples of the form being revived to create theatrical modes that more adequately represent the perceived complexity of experience

Table of Contents

Series Preface
List of Illustrations

Chapter One: Birth 1585-1640

Chapter Two: Dying and Death 1660-1900

Chapter 3: Beckett and Pinter. Two Tragicomedians

Notes
References
Index

Tragicomedy is a volume in the Forms of Drama Series - the Series Editor is Simon Shepherd

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