Ecology and Environment in European Drama

1st Edition

Downing Cless

Routledge
Published August 16, 2011
Reference - 244 Pages
ISBN 9780415807791 - CAT# Y126840
Series: Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies

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Summary

Looking at European drama through an ecological lens, this book chronicles nature and the environment as primary topics in major plays from ancient to recent times. Cless focuses on the few, yet well-known plays in which nature is at stake in the action or the environment is a dramatic force. Though theater predominantly explores human and cultural themes, these plays fully display the power of the other-than-human world and its endangerment during the history of Europe. While offering a broad overview, the book features extensive case studies of several playwrights, plays, and eco-theater productions: Aristophanes’ The Birds, Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest, and Giraudoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot. In each case, Cless connects nature in the play to nature in the life of the playwright based on biographical research into the understanding of natural philosophy and awareness of the immediate environment that influenced the specific play. The book is one of the first of its kind in a growing field of ecocriticism and emerging eco-studies of theater.

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