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 ?
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.
While the idea of the closet drama appears to be the very opposite of the theatricality of Bayreuth, it can in fact be read as an extension of late Wagnerian aesthetics.
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.
The wider circulation of their work has been accompanied by increasing recognition that closet drama is not a poor cousin of publicly staged dramatic entertainment but a genre with its own merits, produced for specific occasions and purposes and with its own set of dramatic conventions.
Comment should also have been made about the notion of closet drama, particularly given the fairly universal view that Margaret Cavendish wrote closet drama but her plays evince a great concern with issues of display and performance.
Wright acknowledges closet drama precedents, particularly of the plays in the Senecan mode by Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke and her circle, but ends up stretching the public aspirations Cary may have had for her play too far.
Although recent productions of Antonie and Mariam demonstrate that they are performable (as are, say, Corneille's heroic dramas translated into English and acted later in the seventeenth century in Dublin and London), editors who query, as Cerasano and Wynne-Davies do, definitions of what counts as woman's drama might do more to remind us that closet drama (1) was not a marginalized genre in early modern England, and (2) is indeed drama--even if not intended to be represented on a stage.
7) Marta Straznicky, Privacy, Playreading, and Women's Closet Drama, 1550-1700 (Cambridge, 2004), 1.
In other words, following her logic, since N-Town is not literarily inferior to the other northern plays and since theatrical fundraisers for religious guilds would have necessarily produced inferior drama, N-Town must be a closet drama.
Catherine Burroughs reminds us that the intentional closet drama offered a space for 'learning, rehearsing, reflection and rereading' (p.
Women's contribution to and involvement with closet drama has attracted considerable critical attention and Bruce's essay is a valuable correlative to inquiries based on women writers.
Perhaps the most unexpected essay in the performance section is by Laurie Maguire, discussing the benefit of having students stage the first scene of Tragedy of Mariam, with surprisingly effective results for teaching closet drama.