Eugene Ionesco

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Ionesco, Eugene


Born Nov. 26, 1912, in Slatina, Rumania. French playwright. One of the founders of the modern theater of the absurd. Member of the French Academy (1970). Rumanian by origin. Resident of France since 1938.

In his early grotesque farces and allegories that parodied the alogism of language clichés and the automatism of stereotyped philistine thinking, Ionesco turned typical everyday situations inside out and gave them a buffoon-like incongruous cast (The Bald Soprano, staged 1950, published 1953; The Chairs, staged 1952, published 1954; and Amédéé, or How to Get Rid of It, staged and published 1954).

In his later parable plays, Ionesco tried to switch from criticism of insipid language and conformist consciousness to criticism of bureaucratic totalitarianism and fascist degradation of the bourgeois philistine. However, the social evil with which the individualist-loner clashed acquired a metaphysical aspect in Ionesco’s works (The Killer, staged and published 1958; Rhinoceros, published 1959; and A Stroll in the Air, staged and published 1963, Russian translation 1967). Exit the King (published 1963) interwove tragic variations of death motifs with a satire on dictatorship in general.

In later plays, the reality that formerly had been satirized was replaced by capricious phantasmagoria. Ionesco’s confusion and gloom deepened, reducing the playwright to a reiteration of decadent themes (Thirst and Hunger, staged and published 1966, and Macbett, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, 1972). His publicistic works became limited to bitter carping on the way the world is organized and to hysterical attacks against the socialist camp.


Théâtre, [vols.] 1–4. Paris [1954–66].
La Photo du colonel. Paris, 1962.
Notes et contre-notes. Paris, 1966.
In Russian translation:
Nosorog. Postscript by N. Naumov. Inostrannaia Literatura, 1965, no. 9.
Gnev. In Iskusstvo kino, 1966, no. 9.
Khameleon pastukha. In Voprosy Hteratury, 1969, no. 8.


Boiadzhiev, G. Teatral’nyi Parizh segodnia. [Moscow] 1960.
Mikheeva, A. Kogda po stsene khodiat nosorogi… Teatr absurda E Ionesko. Moscow, 1967.
Proskurnikova, T. B. Frantsuzskaia antidrama (50–60-e gody). Moscow, 1968.
Benmussa, S. Eugène Ionesco. Paris, 1966.
Donnard, J. H. Ionesco dramaturge ou Tartisan et le démon. Paris, 1966.
Serreau, G. Histoire du “nouveau théâtre.” Paris, 1966.
Théâtre français d’aujourd’hui, [vols.] 1–2 (Compilation, introductory article, and biographical data on writers by L. Zonina.) [Moscow] 1969.
Revzina, O. G., and I. I. Revzin. “Semioticheskii eksperiment na stsene.” Uch. zap. Tartuskogo un-ta, 1971, issue 5.
References in periodicals archive ?
Macbett by Eugene Ionesco, English version by Tanya Ronder, September 11-15
The New Tenant, a comedy by Eugene Ionesco, is to be performed at Newcastle's Gulbenkian Studio by the Northern Stage Ensemble.
Playhouse publicist Chris Collett says it is "a real coup" to bring Gabor Tompa, celebrated director of Hungarian State Theatre, to Newcastle to direct Northern Stage actors in a new production of The New Tenant by Eugene Ionesco (Feb 23 to Mar 6).
L'autre distinction, et non des moindres, le prix du meilleur texte, a ete remportee par un pur produit du Theatre national algerien, Mohamed Cherchell, qui a tout donne pour le succes de sa piece El Haicha qu'il a adaptee de [beaucoup moins que] Rhinoceros [beaucoup plus grand que], une œuvre ecrite par Eugene Ionesco pour denoncer la montee du nazisme.
WHEN did 'absurdist' playwright Eugene Ionesco die?
Prominent French alumni include philosopher Jacques Derrida; writers Eugene Ionesco, Alain Robbe-Grillet, and Nathalie Sarraute; and Dr.
The author, in comparing Moliere with followers such as Jacques Copeau, Jean Cocteau, Jean Giraudoux, and Eugene Ionesco, provides convincing solutions to lingering questions about the impromptu: What was its function?
The second play is El-Kanaba (the sofa), directed by Ahmed Fouad, who presents in his play an 'Egyptianisation' of the famous 'Frenzy for Two or More' written by Eugene Ionesco.
Romanian playwright Eugene Ionesco once said: "Ideologies separate us.
Marcus has been compared to Franz Kafka, Eugene Ionesco, and Jose Saramago, kindred spirits of the surreal, and readers "are plunged into the unbelievable with art and artifice" (Cleveland Plain Dealer).
Among them, however, is Jonathan Littell, an American who wrote Les Bienveillantes in French, but who, no more than Samuel Beckett or Eugene Ionesco, would be considered francophone.
At times, it has seemed as if the entire political class of Wales was participating in a play devised by that delicious dramatist of the absurd, Eugene Ionesco - I am thinking particularly of the row over seating arrangements in the Assembly debating chamber following the 2003 election.