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Maurice Maeterlinck and the Making of Modern Theatre [Hardcover]

Patrick McGuinness

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Book Description

Jan. 6 2000 0198159773 978-0198159773
This is a study of one of theatre's quietest but most radical innovators. The playwright, poet, and essayist Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) has been called the prodigal father of the Theatre of the Absurd. Admired by writers as diverse as Mallarme and Yeats, Artaud and Strindberg, Chekhov and Jarry, Maeterlinck was the most celebrated avant-garde playwright of his day. By 1900 he had given theatre a new set of bearings: 'static theatre', 'the theatre of the unexpressed', and 'the tragic of the everyday'. He had, according to Rilke, relocated theatre's centre of gravity, replacing action with inaction, events with the eventless, and dialogue with a semantics of silence as expressive as any of Symbolism's most sophisticated poetic constructions. The author of the supreme Symbolist play, Pelleas and Melisande, and of haunting, minimalist dramas of waiting (L'Intruse, Les Aveugles, Interieur), Maeterlinck laid the foundations for the most revolutionary theatre of the twentieth century. Opening with a chapter on Maeterlinck's Symbolist and decadent beginnings, and proceeding by way of comparative readings of Maeterlinck and contemporary Symbolist dramatic theory (with particular attention to Mallarme), Maurice Maeterlinck and the Making of Modern Theatre provides close readings of the one-act plays, and his seminal theories of static theatre and the theatre of waiting.

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`This study amply prepares the reader for Maeterlinck's minimalism with a clear and wide-ranging exposition of his achievement, elucidating the context for his experiments in his first writings for the theatre and in his poetry.' W.L.Hodson, Modern Language Review

`McGuinness's book is well written and contains, in addition to his own stimulating readings of Maeterlinck's work, much useful information that had never been gathered into a single, concise source.' April Wuensch, Modern Language Notes

`McGuinness does a fine job of showing how, from the electicism of the Symbolists' theater and theoretical musings, certain common principles emerge' April Wuensch, Modern Language Notes

`the first full-length study in English to appear in over a decade' April Wuensch, Modern Language Notes

`Patrick McGuinness's study is a welcome addition to the slim corpus of recent work on Maeterlinck.' April Wuensch, Modern Language Notes

`It warms the heart to see university presses continuing to publish such scholarly monographs' Nicholas White, Journal of European Studies

`the theoretically-informed close readings are often leavened by fascinating minutiae' Nicholas White, Journal of European Studies

`an impressively broad artistic contextualization' Nicholas White, Journal of European Studies

`one of the great virtues of this book is precisely its willingness to reflect the density of the literary and critical archive' Nicholas White, Journal of European Studies

`McGuiness's discussion ... is rich and comprehensive ... a penetrating analysis.' D.A. Collins, Choice, July/Aug. 00.

About the Author

Patrick McGuinness is at St Anne's College, Oxford.

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