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 ?
While such an approach could have been the book's strength, the arguments get lost when they assume that N-Town was simply a closet drama.
Marta Straznicky readily acknowledges the many contributors who have advanced our understanding of early modern women's closet drama to date, and her thorough research is obvious as she draws on past readings of the plays she discusses.
Straznicky's analysis goes further than earlier studies like Dale Randall's Winter Fruit or Susan Wiseman's Drama and Politics in the English Civil War (1998) by scrutinizing the ways in which playreading is theat-ricalized in midcentury closet drama as part of the interface between private and public spheres.
A study of Baillie's early plays suggests the extent to which closet dramas show characters struggling with what are today considered subjects central to gay dramaturgy--that is, the ways in which particular characters comply with or rebel against prescribed gender and sexual identities in both private and public settings .
At the same time, Straznicky's work on the construction of female playreaders, Sauer's on the political appropriation of closet drama, Lesser's on black-letter nostalgia, and Berek's on the "theatricalization of public discourse" not only go a long way towards establishing that "playreading was [not] simply an extension of playgoing," but they also enlarge our "conceptualizing [of] the place of drama in the public sphere" (16).
The first discussion of Elizabeth Cary, for example, comes in the chapter on genre where her translations are mentioned, and in the subsection on closet drama there is a passing reference to Mariam, which is then afforded fuller treatment in the section in the final chapter devoted to Cary.
Her discussion of the private theaters, such as Blackfriars, and their male playwrights Ben Jonson and John Webster, aptly situates the closet drama within the larger theatrical world.
Raber insists on the existence and significance of this distinction in mapping the various uses to which closet drama was put over the course of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: to shore up the validity of conservative social hierarchies at the turn of the century; to articulate cultural continuities amid the ruptures of the civil war period; to affirm or reject the ideology of monarchy at the Restoration.
These essays explore the relationship between Milton's personal view of heresy and its impact on his public life, particularly his role as licenser (Dobranski), his views of the culture of insults (Hale), the meaning of blasphemy (Loewenstein), and the implications of Samson Agonist es as closet drama (Sauer).
Her translation of Antonius was part of the well-known efforts of that coterie to establish a tradition of neo-classical closet drama to counter the "barbarism of the increasingly popular public theatre" (ix).
the very heart of Cary's dramatic vision" (38); examine the play's structure and characterization; note intertextual connections to Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra and Othello; and, finally, suggest that Mariam, "poised on the threshold between the private antitheatrical formalism of closet drama and the public forms of dissemination .
These works may be written specifically to be performed by actors, or they may be closet dramas -simple literary works-written using dramatic forms, but not meant for performance.