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Home > Catalog > The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre and Literature of the Absurd
The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre and Literature of the Absurd


  • Page extent: 178 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.41 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 809.2/04
  • Dewey version: 23
  • LC Classification: PN1861 .B43 2015
  • LC Subject headings:
    • aDramay20th centuryxHistory and criticism.
    • aTheatre of the absurd.
    • aAbsurd (Philosophy) in literature.

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9781107053922)

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$92.99 (P)

Michael Y. Bennett's accessible Introduction explains the complex, multidimensional nature of the works and writers associated with the absurd - a label placed upon a number of writers who revolted against traditional theatre and literature in both similar and widely different ways. Setting the movement in its historical, intellectual and cultural contexts, Bennett provides an in-depth overview of absurdism and its key figures in theatre and literature, from Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter to Tom Stoppard. Chapters reveal the movement's origins, development and present-day influence upon popular culture around the world, employing the latest research to this often challenging area of study in a balanced and authoritative approach. Essential reading for students of literature and theatre, this book provides the necessary tools to interpret and develop the study of a movement associated with some of the twentieth century's greatest and most influential cultural figures.


1. Introduction: overview of the absurd; 2. Setting the stage; 3. The emergence of a 'movement': the historical and intellectual contexts; 4. Samuel Beckett; 5. Beckett's notable contemporaries; 6. The European and American wave of absurdism; 7. Post-absurdism?; 8. Absurd criticism.


'In his latest book Michael Bennett sets out to provide a scholarly but reader-friendly appraisal of the literary and dramatic manifestations of the absurd. … this book manages to be both an accessible introduction to readers unfamiliar with the absurd and a thought-provoking addition to absurd criticism.' Pedro Querido, Modern Language Review

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