In a new edition of this now-classic work, Robert Brustein argues that the roots of the modern theatre may be found in the soil of rebellion cultivated by eight outstanding playwrights: Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Shaw, Brecht, Pirandello, O'Neill, and Genet. Focusing on each of them in turn, Mr. Brustein considers the nature of their revolt, the methods employed in their plays, their influences on the modern drama, and the playwrights themselves. "One of the standard and decisive books on the modern theater.... It shows us the men behind the works,... what they wanted to write about and the private hell within each of them which led to the enduring works we continue to treasure."—New York Times Book Review. "The best single collection of essays I know of on modern drama... remarkably fine and sensitive pieces of criticism. "—Alvin,Kernan, Yale Review.
The founder and director of the Yale Repertory Theater, as well as Harvard's American Repertory Theater, and a drama critic for more than thirty years, Robert Brustein is a living legend in theatrical circles. Letters to a Young Actor not only inspires the multitudes of struggling dramatists out pounding the pavement, but also reinvigorates the very state of the art of acting itself.
Winter Passages is Robert Brusteinâs nineteenth book of criticism. It includes his considerations of culture and politics over the past four years of American life, demonstrating how the imperfections of the government and economy have plunged the country into an artistic winter in which there is a troubling lack of support for, and understanding of, Americaâs arts and artists. In a section on âCultural Passages,â Brustein includes chapters on compromised theatre institutions, auteur productions, the American musical, generational idiosyncrasies, and Chinaâs growing theatre culture, which contrasts with American culture. The second section, âDramatic Passages,â addresses twenty-seven great playwrights from Aeschylus to August Wilson and demonstrates how they have influenced our sense of history and human character. In âLaudatory Passages,â Brustein discusses great American artists, living and dead, who continue to influence our sense of self as a nation and as individuals. Brustein concludes that we will be judged, like all cultures, by the quality of our arts and artists, and by our willingness to allow their insights to influence our behavior.