Peter Szondi: The Theory of Modern Drama 1880.-1950., 2001.

Original Title: Teorija moderne drame 1880-1950

Since it first came out, The Theory of Modern Drama 1880-1950 has gone through a series of editions and become one of the basic and most widely read books from the field of the theory of literature. Starting from the Hegelian comprehension of drama and the dramatic, the author very concisely analyses the causes of the crisis in drama – in fact, a crisis of such form that the German theoretician Volker Klotz called it closeted – along with the way in which that crisis was manifested in the works of Ibsen, Chehov, Strindberg, Maeterlinck and Hauptmann, and then speaks of attempts at salvaging that form through naturalism, the conversational play, the modernistic one-act play and the philosophical existential drama. The last part of the book is devoted to attempts at resolution of the crisis in expressionistic subjective dramatics. Piscat’s political reviews, Brecht’s epic theatre, Bruckner’s montage and the drama texts of Pirandello (a play about the impossibility of drama), O’Neill (the internal monologue), Wilder (the epic subject and the dramatic play of time) and Miller (memory). In his lucid analyses and interpretations of drama texts, the author focuses on the relation between the dramatic and the epic in modern drama and, particularly, on the various procedures for creating internal epic quality in modern drama.