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The Theatre of the Absurd

The Theatre of the Absurd
Your Price: $20.00 CDN
Author: Martin Esslin
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 480
Pub. Date: 2004
Edition: 3rd
ISBN-10: 1400075238
ISBN-13: 9781400075232

About the Book:

In 1953, Waiting for Godot premiered at a tiny 75-seat avant-garde theatre in Paris; within five years, this timeless masterpiece by Samuel Beckett had been translated into more than twenty languages and seen by more than a million spectators. Its startling popularity marked the emergence of a new type of theatre whose proponents – Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet, Harold Pinter, and others – shattered dramatic conventions and paid scant attention to psychological realism, while highlighting their characters' inability to understand one another. In 1961, Martin Esslin coined the phrase 'Theatre of the Absurd' in this ground-breaking book, and the term has become part of the language just as this book has become an indispensable part of any literature and drama library: the definitive study of the playwrights who have dramatized the fundamental absurdity at the core of the human condition.

Over four decades after its initial publication, this landmark book by Martin Esslin has lost none of its freshness. The questions these dramatists raise about the struggle for meaning in a purposeless world are still as incisive and necessary today as they were when Beckett's tramps first waited beneath a dying tree on a lonely country road for a mysterious benefactor who would never show. Authoritative, engaging, and eminently readable, The Theatre of the Absurd is nothing short of a classic: vital reading for anyone with an interest in the theatre.

What people say:

"A seminal work." — Independent

"An exciting and stimulating book, a very useful reference work and a standard textbook." — Literary Review

"This is a book that literally created the movement it defined, changing not only scholarly and public perceptions but also the nature of contemporary theatre." — Times Higher Education Supplement

About the Author:

Martin Esslin OBE (1918-2002) was a prolific writer, academic, radio drama producer, and translator, as well as being one of the most perceptive theatre critics of the 20th century. He was born in Budapest and educated in Austria. He read Philosophy and English at Vienna University and trained as dramaturge under the great Austrian impresario and director, Max Reinhardt. He left Austria in 1938 and in 1940 began working for the BBC as a producer, scriptwriter, and broadcaster. In 1963 he became Head of Radio Drama at the BBC, a position he held until his retirement in 1977. At his death at the age of 83 he was Emeritus Professor of Drama at Stanford University.