Radical Stages: Alternative History in Modern British Drama (Hardback)
  • Radical Stages: Alternative History in Modern British Drama (Hardback)
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Radical Stages: Alternative History in Modern British Drama (Hardback)

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£67.00
Hardback 208 Pages / Published: 30/10/1991
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This unique volume examines the evolution of British historical drama from the birth of modern British drama with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in 1956 to the establishment of the right-wing government of Margaret Thatcher during the early 1980s. The book illustrates how the ruling group within a society establishes a cultural hegemony by which it perpetuates its values as society's norms. Radical Stages demonstrates how historical drama within the period increasingly was employed as a weapon in an assault upon this cultural hegemony. First defining historical drama, Peacock differentiates the historical drama after 1956 from its predecessors as representing a shift from concern with individual psychology to an emphasis upon the socioeconomic context in which personality is formed. The first stage of this development, to 1968, was marked by a populist concern with ordinary people and by an absence of specific political propaganda. Following the defeat of student revolutionary movements in 1968, the gradual change in left-wing political inclination from anarchism to Marxism was treated in historical settings by such dramatists as Howard Brenton, Trevor Griffiths, Edward Bond, and David Edgar. Radical Stages analyzes these movements as reflected in drama and also considers the place of women in the revolutionary movements of the 1960s and in the British theatre and historical drama of the period. The final chapter speculates on the future of British historical drama in the wake of the fall of both the Thatcher government and communist governments in Eastern Europe.

Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 9780313278884
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 481 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"This is a well-researched, intelligently presented account of historical/political drama in Britain since 1956, when John Osborne's Look Back in Anger brought a new idiom and emphasis to the London stage. Part 1, concerned with such drama through 1968 (when New Left activity increased and stage censorship relaxed), documents a range of antiestablishment political positions, with special attention paid to Arnold Wesker's plays of social realism, Joan Littlewood's documentary drama, and John Arden's epic. Part 2 traces the evolution of historical drama from the utopian socialism or anarchism of the 1960s through the more radical revolutionary socialism of the 1970s and 1980s, with such playwrights as David Edgar, Howard Brenton, David Hare, and, especially, Edward Bond figuring prominently in the discourse. The chapter "The Woman's Place," with mention of the work of Pam Gems, Caryl Churchill, Timberlake Wertenbaker, and others, connects feminism and politics in a delayed but important development. Peacock's analysis is informed throughout by the assumption that history plays, in accounting the past, always refract the present. This highly informative and thoughtful book is recommended for all libraries."-Choice
?This is a well-researched, intelligently presented account of historical/political drama in Britain since 1956, when John Osborne's Look Back in Anger brought a new idiom and emphasis to the London stage. Part 1, concerned with such drama through 1968 (when New Left activity increased and stage censorship relaxed), documents a range of antiestablishment political positions, with special attention paid to Arnold Wesker's plays of social realism, Joan Littlewood's documentary drama, and John Arden's epic. Part 2 traces the evolution of historical drama from the utopian socialism or anarchism of the 1960s through the more radical revolutionary socialism of the 1970s and 1980s, with such playwrights as David Edgar, Howard Brenton, David Hare, and, especially, Edward Bond figuring prominently in the discourse. The chapter "The Woman's Place," with mention of the work of Pam Gems, Caryl Churchill, Timberlake Wertenbaker, and others, connects feminism and politics in a delayed but important development. Peacock's analysis is informed throughout by the assumption that history plays, in accounting the past, always refract the present. This highly informative and thoughtful book is recommended for all libraries.?-Choice

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