Art Of Dramatic Writing

Art Of Dramatic Writing : Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives

4.18 (2,517 ratings by Goodreads)
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Lajos Egri examines a play from the inside out, starting with the heart of any drama: its characters. For it is people - their private natures and their inter-relationships - that move a story and give it life. All good dramatic writing depends upon an understanding of human motives. Why do people act as they do? What forces transform a coward into a hero, a hero into a coward? What is it that Romeo does early in Shakespeare's play that makes his later suicide seem inevitable? Why must Nora leave her husband at the end of A Doll's House? These are a few of the fascinating problems which Egri analyzes. He shows how it is essential for the author to have a basic premise - a thesis, demonstrated in terms of human behaviour - and to develop his dramatic conflict on the basis of that behaviour. Premise, character, conflict: this is Egri's ABC. His book is a direct, jargon-free approach to the problem of achieving truth in a literary creation.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 140 x 214 x 20mm | 261g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0671213326
  • 9780671213329
  • 89,654

Table of contents







1. The Bone Structure

2. Environment

3. The Dialectical Approach

4. Character Growth

5. Strength of Will in a Character

6. Plot or Character -- Which?

7. Characters Plotting Their Own Play

8. Pivotal Character

9. The Antagonist

10. Orchestration

11. Unity of Opposites


1. Origin of Action

2. Cause and Effect

3. Static

4. Jumping

5. Rising

6. Movement

7. Foreshadowing Conflict

8. Point of Attack

9. Transition

10. Crisis, Climax, Resolution


1. Obligatory Scene

2. Exposition

3. Dialogue

4. Experimentation

5. The Timeliness of a Play

6. Entrances and Exits

7. Why Are Some Bad Plays Successful?

8. Melodrama

9. On Genius

10. What Is Art? -- A Dialogue

11. When You Write a Play

12. How to Get Ideas

13. Writing for Television

14. Conclusion

APPENDIX A. Plays Analyzed

APPENDIX B. How to Market Your Play

APPENDIX C. Long Runs on Broadway

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Review quote

Moss Hart I found Lajos Egri's book enormously interesting -- one of the best I have ever read.
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About Lajos Egri

Lajos Egri (1888-1967) was born in Hungary and founded the Egri School of Writing in New York City in the 1930s. In addition to writing books, he spent his life writing and directing plays in both the United States and Europe, as well as writing screenplays for the film industry.
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Rating details

2,517 ratings
4.18 out of 5 stars
5 44% (1,096)
4 36% (913)
3 15% (389)
2 4% (92)
1 1% (27)
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