closet drama


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

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.
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.
(14) Clara's closet drama stages a battle between her authorized and unauthorized selves, both of which--it is crucial to note--exhibit her emotional perversions and repressions.
Elizabeth Sauer, in "Closet Drama and the Case of Tyrannicall-Government Anatomized," focuses on a kind of drama in which the readers' private recitation was the only normal kind of performance.
This text also takes an unusual approach to women's closet drama in other ways.
women in the closet drama of Milton and Elizabeth Cary, but the
Cavendish's other work, especially her closet drama and her scientific work, have equally attracted critical attention.
Burroughs's attentiveness to costume and different acting styles likewise adds weight to her arguments for understanding closet drama on its own terms, and Joanna Baillie as its best exponent.
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.
Mary Sidney's translation of Robert Gamier's Tragedy of Antonie (1592) has received less attention than it deserves, probably because most twentieth-century readers don't know enough about neo-Senecan closet drama to read Antonie as more than an inferior predecessor of Shakespeare's magnificent Antony and Cleopatra.
Dramatic ideology becomes defined by two contrary forces: a peak phenomenon which accentuates key periods in theatrical history leaving others in relative silence and a "culture gap" in which canonized plays are only seen by their commonality to other eras and other dramatic traditions, Therefore, Cox argues that drama during this key period (he carefully avoids its more conventional terminology of Romantic period) is viewed as either reflective of Elizabethan drama or deeply divided as closet drama or as popular "stagey" performance drama.