European Lyric Folkdrama: A Definition

European Lyric Folkdrama: A Definition

European Lyric Folkdrama: A Definition

European Lyric Folkdrama: A Definition


"Robert M. Farrington sheds new light on nine folk-inspired rural dramas produced by three European playwrights between 1885 and 1936: Spain's Federico Garcia Lorca, Ireland's John Millington Synge, and Germany's Gerhart Hauptmann. Through an analysis of the linguistic conventions of the three dramatists and by tying their plays' language to a myth/ritual content, this book defines the works as representative of a sub-genre - that is, lyric folkdrama. A sound/meaning nexus is identified as an essential ingredient of folkdrama. To clarify this relationship between sound and meaning and to establish a theoretical basis for the linguistic analysis, this book draws from works on myth, ritual, drama, and poetic language by Aristotle, Richard Wagner, Mircea Eliade, and Northrop Frye, as well as from critical studies by the structuralists Roman Jakobson and Claude Levi-Strauss." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


While reading a group of European dramatic works, folk in nature, written between 1885 and 1936, I was struck by a commonality in both their form and their content. They possessed a linking thread, i.e., their language was lyrical and poetic, and it reflected certain mythic and ritualistic archetypal motifs. the playwrights whose folk dramas stood out in this regard were Germany's Gerhart Hauptmann, Federico García Lorca of Spain, and the Anglo-Irish dramatist, John Millington Synge.

This study is the result of my investigation of the unique language created by these dramatists and my effort to identify several of their dramas within the context of a new classification—a sub-genre which I choose to call European lyric folkdrama. As my search to identify this genre continued, I found it necessary to draw a major distinction between “lyric folkdrama” and verse or poetic drama. To support this differentiation I concluded that I would need to conduct a substantial analysis of the language of folkdrama.

Major poetic and dramatic authors including T.S. Eliot, William Butler Yeats, and the French poet, Stephane Mallarmé, have called for the creation of a drama (not necessarily folk) based on a renewed principle of the centrality of language. in response to this call, they have created a body of theoretical writing from which a structural unity may be discerned, this despite their various national origins and the diversities of their aesthetic concerns. Their theories do, however, possess a common preoccupation with the function of language as the central mechanism of a revised notion of the nature of drama.

Heretofore, critics have classified this folkdrama as “neo-romantic” or “iconoclastic, ” but it has been principally associated with the writings of the Symbolist movement. I have chosen to draw a distinction between the language of folkdrama and that signaled by the Symbolist poets. a major . . .

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