closet drama

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closet drama,

a play that is meant to be read rather than performed. Precursors of the form existed in classical times. Plato's Apology is often regarded as tragic drama rather than philosophic dialogue. The dialogues of Cicero, Strabo, and Seneca were probably declaimed rather than acted, since only the comic theater survived transplantation from Greece to Rome. Closet dramas were particularly popular in the early 19th cent. when melodrama and burlesque dominated the theater, and poets attempted to raise dramatic standards by reviving past traditions. Byron's Manfred (1817) and Shelley's The Cenci (1819) imitate Shakespeare, and Goethe's Faust (Part I, 1808; Part II, 1832) draws in part on the Elizabethan tradition. Milton's Samson Agonistes (1671) and Shelley's Prometheus Unbound (1819) are based on Greek tragedies. Notable among other closet dramas are Robert Browning's Strafford (1837) and Pippa Passes (1841).
References in periodicals archive ?
Webster's conception of literary drama that allows audiences to see the play "acted to them only in the theatre of their minds" alludes to but also provides a feminist reworking of the closet drama form conceived of by male Romantic writers such as Byron and Coleridge, who envisioned this genre as a safe retreat from the anti-intellectual stage.
In the biocritical study Julia Augusta Webster, Rigg exalts The Sentence as the perfect fusion between stage drama and literary drama: "In The Sentence Webster would bring to fruition her awareness of the points at which stage drama and closet drama might merge to produce the kind of drama she describes, particularly in more precise setting and actor position and expression notes than appeared in her earlier plays" (p.
2 (2000): 75-107; Susan Brown, "Determined Heroines: George Eliot, Augusta Webster, and Closet Drama by Victorian Women," VP 33, no.
His sudden change in writing style suggests that O'Neill's performance in Fazio was a conversional experience, convincing Shelley to abandon closet drama and create full-bodied characters that talented performers can act onstage.
They motivated Shelley to abandon one style of poetry for another, to reject closet drama and create a dramatic role suited for the Regency's "It girl", Eliza O'Neill.
Privacy, Playreading, and Women's Closet Drama, 1550-1700.
Marta Straznicky's book--her first, surprisingly--is by one measure the culmination of her years of research into the cultural and literary conditions that produced women's sixteenth- and seventeenth-century closet drama.
is not necessarily antisocial, and this is where the usefulness of closet drama becomes evident' (83).
While scholars of closet drama and textual history will want to continue consulting the original versions, all other readers will find this a reliable and sophisticated edition.
And, once again, homosocial, perhaps homoerotic, desires bubble beneath the surface, desires which are intimately related to the closet: "That the dramaturgy of both plays is dominated by De Monfort's and Basil's repressed desire for other male characters suggests that one of the reasons Baillie was interested in domestic spaces and closet drama stemmed from her curiosity about `closet issues'" (142).