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Book Title: The Theatre of the Absurd|
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The author of the book: Martin Esslin
Edition: Penguin Books
Date of issue: 1968
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 960 KB
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In 1953, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot premiered at a tiny avant-garde theatre in Paris; within five years, it had been translated into more than twenty languages and seen by more than a million spectators. Its startling popularity marked the emergence of a new type of theatre whose proponents—Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, Pinter, and others—shattered dramatic conventions and paid scant attention to psychological realism, while highlighting their characters’ inability to understand one another. In 1961, Martin Esslin gave a name to the phenomenon in his groundbreaking study of these playwrights who dramatized the absurdity at the core of the human condition.
Over four decades after its initial publication, Esslin’s landmark book has lost none of its freshness. The questions these dramatists raise about the struggle for meaning in a purposeless world are still as incisive and necessary today as they were when Beckett’s tramps first waited beneath a dying tree on a lonely country road for a mysterious benefactor who would never show. Authoritative, engaging, and eminently readable, The Theatre of the Absurd is nothing short of a classic: vital reading for anyone with an interest in the theatre.
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Read information about the authorMartin Julius Esslin OBE (6 June 1918 – 24 February 2002) was a Hungarian-born English producer and playwright dramatist, journalist, adaptor and translator, critic, academic scholar and professor of drama best known for coining the term "Theatre of the Absurd" in his work of that name (1961).
Born Julius Pereszlényi (Hungarian: Pereszlényi Gyula Márton) in Budapest, Esslin moved to Vienna with his family at a young age. He studied Philosophy and English at the University of Vienna and also graduated from the Reinhardt Seminar as a producer. Of Jewish descent, he fled Austria in the wake of the Anschluss of 1938.
Esslin defined the 'Theatre of the Absurd' as that which
"The Theatre of the Absurd strives to express its sense of the senselessness of the human condition and the inadequacy of the rational approach by the open abandonment of rational devices and discursive thought."
Esslin's definition encompassed not only Beckett's works but those of Sławomir Mrożek, Eugène Ionesco, Harold Pinter, Jean Genet, Günter Grass and Edward Albee amongst others.
He began working for the BBC in 1940, serving as a producer, script writer and broadcaster. He was head of BBC Radio Drama 1963-77, having previously worked for the external European Service. After leaving the BBC he held senior academic posts at Florida State and Stanford Universities.
He also adapted and translated many works from the original German, for example many plays of Wolfgang Bauer between 1967 and 1990. Original works included the seminal Theatre of the Absurd, and The Field of Drama.
Esslin died in London on February 24, 2002 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
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