Theatre of Shadows: Samuel Beckett’s Drama 1956-1976
21.6 x 13.8 cm. pbk edition of Irish Literary Studies Series (ISSN 0140-895X) volume 28
Perhaps nothing is more fascinating to the student of literature than an insight into a writer's creative process, a study of how the published works, from All That Fall to Footfalls, came to be as they are.
Theatre of Shadows both defines and takes as its subject the middle period of Samuel Beckett's dramatic writing. By making a close study of the structure, and of the largely unpublished manus-cript drafts, of the plays written from 1956 to 1976, this book offers considerable insight into Beckett's creative process. A combination of rigorous patterning and a movement away from concrete expression (what Beckett himself called a 'vaguening' of the text) is seen to be his customary working method during this period. Dr Pountney goes on to discuss how the plays work in the theatre, through a detailed analysis of Beckett's stagecraft.
In order to set the middle period in context some discussion of Beckett's early work for the theatre is included, and a final chapter on the late plays shows his dramatic imagination still finding new channels to explore. The book provides the student with as comprehensive an approach as possible to two decades of Beckett's drama. This is a paperback edition of the original 1988 publication.
Rosemary Pountney, whose first training was in theatre, performed the Irish premières of Not I (Mouth) and Footfalls (May) at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1978. She combines her Lectureship in English at Jesus College, Oxford, with touring (most recently in Eastern Europe and New Zealand), lecturing on Beckett's work in the theatre, and performing Rockaby and other one-woman plays.
'a marvellous contribution to Beckett criticism.... painstakingly scholarly, meticulous in its observations, and illuminating in its detail' Review of English Studies, 1990
'If you want the best book on the background to Beckett's plays (without jargon) this is it. It is also the most useful for the actor.' Barry McGovern