« (Anti?) Christ figure | Main | Is this a mistake? »

Anton Chekhov and David Mamet walk into a bar...

Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (1-31) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)
"Drama may be classified according to the literary period in which it was written"

I noticed in these lists that plays before the late 1800's seem to be pretty well-categorized, but anything after Ibsen is put into the very broad "modern" category. While I think that there could be a lot of similarities between Henrik Ibsen and August Wilson, it seems like this book is hesitant to notice the differences in this broad range of playwrights. The language used in a lot of plays nowadays could definitely make Eugene O'Neill blush. I noticed that most of the plays they discussed in the drama section were from way before 1960. Most of the works mentioned as examples in other parts of the book are pretty old, too. I think it's kind of difficult to fit modern works into preconceived patterns set up by writers working in very different environments. You need some distance in order to categorize literary trends, and I think with time this "modern" period will start to be divided up more.

Comments (4)

Of course, in his day, O'Neill made plenty of theater patrons blush with his choice of topics (mixed-race romance, infanticide, alcohol and drug abuse in his own family...

You're right, we only really need to start classifying things after they've been around long enough to have a significant effect on the works that follow. It's too soon to know which shows that were Broadway successes will have lingering literary impact.

There's already a "postmodern" period, by the way.

Chera Pupi:

That's really interesting to think about. I took Popular Fiction last semester, and I noticed a similar trend with novels and classifying them into genres. Older literature seems to be much easier to classify into genres. When I say classify, I mean it just fits perfectly into a specific drama. New literature combines so many elements of different genres, that it is often difficult to choose a genre which the book best fits. It's a little different from what you mentioned with drama, but I find both situations very interesting.

Sean Runt:

This is an interesting topic to think about because this sort of thing happens in many different areas of life. Such as in History, Greeks and Romans weren't standing around saying, "we're living in the Classical Age!" It was the future generations that defined the different periods of exsistence. I think I like the fact that not only do we have an impact on the future but also on the past, as small as it may be.

Mike Poiarkoff:

I also gets kind of tricky when classifying the works of a lot of mordern writers that are now incorporating many older styles into their writing. Classification is only going to get harder with modern writers piling gernres on top of each other to create literary muts.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 2, 2007 5:57 PM.

The previous post in this blog was (Anti?) Christ figure.

The next post in this blog is Is this a mistake?.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.