Romantic Comedy

Romantic Comedy

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'The course of true love never did run smooth' - so says Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and for more than 2000 years the problems faced by young men and women fighting to find and keep an appropriate sexual partner have been a theatrical staple. This book explores the shapes that Romantic Comedy has assumed from Greek New Comedy via Shakespeare to the present. Changing social values have helped to redefine the genre's traditional hetero-normativity, while the recent trend towards more fluid casting has opened up many romantic comedies to radical reinterpretations.

Organized chronologically to allow readers to trace the development of the form against changing societal norms, the book features a range of case studies of key works from the British tradition, including A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Susanna Centlivre's A Bold Stroke for a Wife, Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer, Stanley Houghton's Hindle Wakes, Noel Coward's Private Lives, Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey, Ayub Khan-Din's East is East and David Eldridge's Beginning.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 184 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 12.7mm | 312.98g
  • Methuen Drama
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 10 bw illus
  • 1350183377
  • 9781350183377

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Series Preface

Introduction: 'The Course of True Love'

1. Shakespeare and Romantic Comedy
2. Romantic Comedy: 1660-1895
3. Romantic Comedies of (Bad) Manners: 1895 to the present


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Review quote

Worth reading particularly for the intelligent way in which it defines its subject then follows it through history from ancient times to the present day. * British Theatre Guide * Griffiths' book offers a succinct and lively introduction to English Romantic Comedy. Analysing and contextualizing a range of key texts and their performance history from the Renaissance to the 21st century, this accessible book pays special attention to how dramatists have explored, adapted and challenged the conventions of Romantic Comedy, as they have used the genre to reflect not only on love but also on issues such as marriage, family, class, gender and sexuality. It is a welcome new resource for students of Romantic Comedy. * Siobhan Keenan, De Montfort University, UK * Romantic Comedy reveals the complexity and nuance of a genre that we think we know and easily understand. Exploring examples drawn from 2,500 years of theatre history, the work both outlines the history of Romantic Comedy and shows how more recent plays challenge the conventions of the genre. The book is particularly strong in its attention to the plays as acts of performance as well as scripts. Griffiths considers how contemporary productions can shed new light on classic romantic comedies and how 21st-century dramatists rework mainstays of the Romantic Comedy repertoire, thereby offering new insights into gender, race, and class. * Fiona Ritchie, McGill University, Canada *
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About Prof. Trevor R. Griffiths

Trevor R. Griffiths is a visiting honorary professor in Humanities at the University of Exeter, UK, and formerly Professor of Theatre Studies at London Metropolitan University, UK. He is Vice-Chair of the Society for Theatre Research and coordinating editor of the refereed journal Theatre Notebook.
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