Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.
(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)
Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd: Parabolic drama and the question of absurdity
Entitled “Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd: Parabolic Drama and the Question of Absurdity,” my dissertation interrogates the conventional idea that the Theatre of the Absurd contemplates the purposelessness of life by re-examining some of the major plays of Beckett, Ionesco, Genet and Pinter. I suggest that the plays of the Theatre of the Absurd are, instead, ethical texts that contemplate how life can be made meaningful. I argue that Martin Esslin’s 1961 characterization of such work as “absurd” does not take into account a fully informed reading of Camus, and thus Esslin’s reading does not see the extent to which meaningfulness is fundamental to such cultural productions. Therefore, I push for a re-reading of these plays and playwrights that allows for decidedly meaning-making conclusions. Using an up-to-date understanding of Camus’ philosophy as a theoretical frame, I engage with the long history of Theatre of the Absurd criticism, performance histories and reviews, the genre of the parable, philosophy and performance studies. My dissertation, ultimately, argues against a strictly absurd reading and, instead, positions such work within the larger realm of ethics (in the general vein of Camus).^
Literature, Comparative|Literature, Romance|Literature, African|Theater|Literature, English
Michael Y Bennett,
"Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd: Parabolic drama and the question of absurdity"
(January 1, 2009).
Electronic Doctoral Dissertations for UMass Amherst.