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Brecht, Pinter and the Avant-Garde: Three Essays on Modernist Drama

Brecht, Pinter and the Avant-Garde: Three Essays on Modernist Drama (Hardback)

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This is a collection of three long essays arranged around the primordial subject of realism and non-realism or anti-realism (which can also be termed the experimental or non-representational) in drama, as this subject manifests itself in modern Europe and contemporary America, and at the moment when the theater returns to its non-realistic origins in ancient Greece-the very moment, paradoxically, when surface realism reaches its zenith on the Western stage. Brecht, Pinter, and the Avant-Garde: Three Essays on Modernist Drama treats not only the issue of realism versus anti-realism in theater from a practical as well as a theoretical point of view.

It also treats a number of subjects related to this issue: the relationship of the non-real to the spiritual or the religious; the avant-garde, the rearguard, and the middle-to-advanced artistic ground in between claimed by such major figures as Bertolt Brecht and Harold Pinter; the military, scientific, and philosophical origins of theatrical avant-gardism; the deceptive ease, and consequent shallowness, of superficial or imitative realism; and the use of distancing devices or defamiliarization-effects in the Epic Theater of Brecht, as well as the use of similarly distancing comedy on the part of Pinter. In sum, Brecht, Pinter, and the Avant-Garde treats the subject of realism and non-realism from the point of view of the theater's ability to create not only the illusion of reality, but also the reality of illusion onstage (the reality, that is, of the unreal, or of the illusion-making capacity, illusion-projecting essence, or illusion-embracing tendency of the human mind)-as well as something in between the two.

Moreover, there are no single-authored performing-arts books in English that feature the comparative, in-depth perspective of this book, in which so vital, if sometimes vexing, a subject as realistic versus non-realistic theater is discussed in the context of Euro-American drama.

Bert Cardullo is Professor of Media and Communication at the Izmir University of Economics in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in film history, theory, and criticism, as well as in the interrelationship between drama and film. He is the author, editor, or translator of more than thirty books, the most recent of which are Soundings on Cinema: Speaking to Film and Film Artists and Serious Dialogue: Interviews with American Theater Critics.

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