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Theatre of The Absurd

  Theatre of the Absurd is a term coined by the critic Martin Esslin to draw attention to apparent similarities of approach and subject matter in plays by a number of mid-20th century dramatists, notably Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, Eugene Ionesco, Edward Albee and Harold Pinter. In his influential book The Theatre of the Absurd (1961), Esslin was following Albert Camus\'s philosophical use of the term ‘absurd’ (from Latin absurdus, ‘out of tune’) to refer to the meaninglessness of the universe; but journalistic usage has blurred the issue by seizing on those elements which are absurd in the more limited sense of ‘comic’. Although there never was an organized movement of Absurdists, the term has become shorthand for a type of drama which rejects determinism, linear causality, logic, and the trappings of naturalism in favour of more associative and allusive dramatic strategies. TRG SS

See also Dada; epic; existentialism; expressionism; Surrealism.Further reading Enoch Brater and , Ruby Cohn (eds.), Around the Absurd; , J.L. Styan, Modern Drama in Theory and Practice 2: Symbolism, Surrealism and the Absurd.



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