By Professor Bert Cardullo, Mr. Robert Knopf
This severe anthology of avant-garde drama deals entire assurance of that distinctively twentieth-century culture. It contains the complete texts of 16 very important performs, each one preceded by way of a historical-critical advent and via an essay, usually written by means of the playwright, that elaborates at the dramatic and aesthetic concerns raised via the play. Cardullo and Knopf, in making performs and records of the avant-garde to be had in a single assortment for the 1st time, underscore where and significance of the stream. In a provocative common advent to the booklet, Bert Cardullo lines the heritage of the avant-garde culture and argues for a revisionist historical past of contemporary drama that may recognize the leading edge contributions of the avant-garde. The anthology, which offers examples of French and Russian Symbolism, Italian Futurism, German Expressionism, and Dada-Surrealism, in addition to paintings by means of such seminal figures as Jarry, Strindberg, Artaud, and Kandinsky, illuminates the striking bold of those writers from many Western international locations and numerous theatrical pursuits.
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Extra info for Theater of the Avant-Garde, 1890-1950: A Critical Anthology
Although the Absurdists were especially attuned to as well as inclined to imitate the work of Jarry, Artaud, Pirandello, the Futurists, the Dadaists, and perhaps above all the Surrealists, their subject becomes peo ple's entrapment in an irrational and hostile or impersonal and indifferent universe, an existence in which the search for truth is an exercise in futility. (This attitude, incidentally, does not seep into American drama, with Jack Gelber's The Connection  and Edward Albee's The American Dream [ 1961 ], until postwar euphoria wears off, the Korean War erupts in the midst of the Cold War, and the Vietnam debacle looms on the horizon.
To the three spatial dimensions, he added the fourth dimension of time, in the form of movement; and the faster the movement, the greater are the changes in the perceived dimensions of both time and space. Even though Einstein saw mass, length, time, and simultaneity as rela tive, he never doubted the orderliness of the universe, and he sought to harmonize the variables through mathematical formulas. Less scientifically iu 5 < jj. *j ^ < K jjj •" I oriented minds, however, were more attracted to the idea of relativity itself and elevated it as a principle by which they could not only question the linear progression of time or the related principle of inexorable, determinis tic causality but also postulate the purely subjective nature of human percep tion.
As a performance phenomenon and as dramatic art, Dada disposed of or ganic contexts by removing from language its readily recognizable character of communication. The Dadaist poet hacked up words and rearranged their syllables, exalting the outcome as new language whose meaning camped sometimes in inflection, sometimes in the resemblance to other, fixed words. Indeed, Dada poetry actively inconvenienced—or indeed eradicated—im mediate comprehension by aggrandizing language into art and then depriv ing that art of a clear and consistent aesthetic.
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