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Title:The Self-Regarding Comedy of the Contemporary British Stage
Author(s):Harbin, Leigh Joyce
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):James Hurt
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Through detailed analysis of individual plays I examine how these playwrights alter and update stock characters and boy-meets-girl plots, and how they move away from traditional exposition and neatly resolved linear plotlines. Their comedies rework the romantic hero and heroine, and other stock characters. Their works may end unhappily, or simply stop without providing the explanations and resolutions associated with the traditional comic ending. Similarly, they may use oblique, cryptic, or densely layered language rather than the straightforward language typically associated with comedy. They write comedies about such unusual subjects as the connection between gender roles and colonialism (Churchill's Cloud Nine), Chaos theory and English nineteenth-century landscape gardening (Stoppard's Arcadia) or a woman experiencing a complete mental breakdown (Ayckbourn's Woman In Mind). Though these subjects seem too cerebral or too grim to be funny, the plays in fact do produce laughter, but this laughter cannot be explained In traditional terms as either celebratory or corrective. Through heavily parodic and Ironic use of comic elements and a wide range of literary and non-literary sources, the self-regarding comedy of the late twentieth-century British stage forces us to redefine and update our definitions of comedy.
Issue Date:1998
Description:332 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9912253
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1998

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