T. S. Eliot's Drama: A Research and Production Sourcebook

T. S. Eliot's Drama: A Research and Production Sourcebook

T. S. Eliot's Drama: A Research and Production Sourcebook

T. S. Eliot's Drama: A Research and Production Sourcebook


T.S. Eliot wrote seven important plays of which Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Cocktail Party (1949) may be the most produced. This sourcebook surveys the entire dramaturgical and critical discourse surrounding Eliot's plays. A separate chapter for each play provides characters, synopsis, detailed production history, critical overview of both performance reviews and scholarly response, textual notes, and publishing history. A comprehensive annotated bibliography, a career chronology, an introductory analysis, and an appendix of adaptations are also included.


T. S. Eliot's poetry has been extensively covered by scholarship and bibliographies; his plays have a less coherent critical discourse. This book, I hope, will help to establish an orderly foundation for the study of Eliot's drama.

A chronology lists the most important events of Eliot's life and career, and the introduction surveys Eliot's literature and details his movement from poetry to drama.

Each of Eliot's seven plays is the subject of a separate chapter, which begins with a list of characters and a synopsis of the plot, followed by a production history that lists dates, places, casts, and production staffs of major peformances, as well as other relevant details (where available) that will help readers visualize, as much as possible, the nature of the play in performance. In the section headed Critical overview I present a summary of reviewers' reponses; a survey of scholarship regarding that play; and textual notes and allusions. The final section gives a publishing history.

I intend these chapters to serve as fairly comprehensive introductions to each play and the relevant critical reaction and performance details. I quote from numerous representative critics, reviewers, actors, and directors in each of these chapters. Though my intention is to provide an objective overview of the most important material, there is obviously an inherent bias: the sources quoted are, simply, the ones I judged most interesting, helpful, and original. Since the bibliography consists of over 600 entries, there are some--which certainly may be of considerable value--that are not specifically cited elsewhere in my text; the reader is advised not to overlook these sources simply because I have not referred to them in the chapters on the plays.

Appendix I lists additional dramatic, musical, film, and television adaptations of Eliot's work, including, most prominently, Cats; and gives locations of photographs of various productions of the plays. Another important vantage point on secondary sources for Eliot's drama is the chronological development--trends and changes--of the criticism. Appendix II provides a key . . .

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