Modern Drama: A Very Short Introduction
Modern Drama: A Very Short Introduction
  • Traces the development and evolution of modern drama since 1880
  • Considers drama from a diverse range of cultures and societies
  • Emphasizes the dual nature of drama, exploring how it behaves on both the page and the stage
  • Covers the works of key playwrights including Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Shaw, Wilde, Glaspell, O'Neill, Osborne, Delaney, Hansberry, Williams, Miller, Baraka, and Churchill, and considers how they share themes of hostility and contrarianism

The story of modern drama is a tale of extremes, testing both audiences and actors to their limits through hostility and contrarianism. Spanning 1880 to the present, Kirsten E. Shepherd-Barr shows how truly international a phenomenon modern drama has become, and how vibrant and diverse in both text and performance. 

This Very Short Introduction explores the major developments of modern drama, covering two decades per chapter, from early modernist theatre through post-war developments to more recent and contemporary theatre. Shepherd-Barr tracks the emergence of new theories from the likes of Brecht and Beckett alongside groundbreaking productions to illuminate the fascinating evolution of modern drama.


1: 1880-1900: realism, naturalism and symbolism
2: 1900-1920: sex, suffrage, and scandal
3: 1920-1940: metatheatre and modernity
4: 1940-1960: salesmen , southerners, anger and ennui
5: 1960-1980: absurdism, protest and commitment
6: 1980-2000: bearing witness
7: 2000-present: contemporary theatre


Kirsten E. Shepherd-Barr is Professor of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Catherine's College. She is the author of Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett (Columbia University Press, 2015), Science on Stage: From Doctor Faustus to Copenhagen (Princeton University Press, 2006), and Ibsen and Early Modernist Theatre, 1890-1900 (Greenwood Press, 1997) as well as numerous articles on modern drama.

"Shepherd-Barr manages to survey over a hundred years of Western drama in this pocket-sized book ... Providing a cursory, but considered, overview that introduces the reader to the richness and diversity of the topic in an engaging and readily comprehensible manner. That is no mean feat." - Adrian Curtin, Studies in Theatre and Performance

"an excellent and insightful short introduction to modern drama" - Adrian Curtin, Studies in Theatre and Performance

"Modern Drama: A Very Short Introduction, is something of a marvel. A clear case is made for each of the eras of modern drama while also demonstrating the lasting influence of directors, playwrights, and styles." - Lee Jacobus, Emeritus Prof. of English, UConn, Storrs


ISBN : 9780199658770

Kirsten E. Shepherd-Barr
152 ページ
115 x 174 mm





Modern Drama: A Very Short Introduction

Modern Drama: A Very Short Introduction

Modern Drama: A Very Short Introduction