Postmodern/Drama : Reading The Contemporary Stage

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Postmodern/Drama scrutinizes the critical tendency to label texts or writers as "postmodern" and delineates what it might mean to "read" drama more "postmodernly." That is to say, this book resists interpretive gestures that would label writers like Samuel Beckett as a modernist, existentialist, absurdist, or postmodernist, and instead asks in what ways Beckett's plays open themselves to readings that might be termed postmodern in emphasis. Along the way, the author offers sustained analyses of such dramatists as Harold Pinter, David Rabe, David Mamet, Arthur Kopit, Cherrie Moraga, Luis Valdez, Sam Shepard, Karen Finley, and others. In addition to the dramatists it explores, the book considers novels by Samuel Beckett, Italo Calvino, and Don DeLillo; films by George Huang and Robert Altman; and commentary on postmodernity by Jean Baudrillard and Fredric Jameson. In the end, the postmodernity of contemporary drama is shown as less a question of genre or media than of a certain mode of subjectivity shared and contested by playwrights, producers, and audiences.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 232 pages
  • 160.27 x 236.22 x 24.38mm | 562.45g
  • Ann Arbor, United States
  • English
  • 0472108727
  • 9780472108725

Review quote

"A very readable and well constructed book. Watt's approach is exploratory and this is particularly impressive. His thesis is all the more convincing for his willingness to consider both sides of any given critical argument or approach."
--Lois Oppenheim, Montclair State University
-- (04/08/1999) "Watt comes up with fresh insights into Beckett, Pinter, Rabe, Shepard, Mamet, Kopit, and others. His methodology of 'reading postmodernly' proves its usefulness beyond any doubt."
--Choice, April 1999, Vol. 36, No. 8
-- (04/14/1999)
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About Stephen Watt

Stephen Watt is Professor of English, Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the author of Joyce, O'Casey, and the Irish Popular Theater, and coeditor of Marketing Modernisms (with Kevin J. H. Detmar), American Drama: Colonial to Contemporary (with Gary L. Richardson), and When They Weren't Doing Shakespeare (with Judith L. Fisher).
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