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Playwrights A-K

Playwrights A-K Encyclopedia Articles

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Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen, major Norwegian playwright of the late 19th century who introduced to the European stage a new order of moral analysis that was placed against a severely realistic middle-class background and developed with economy of action, penetrating dialogue, and rigorous thought. Ibsen was born...
Biography
Ibsen, Henrik
Aeschylus
Aeschylus, the first of classical Athens’ great dramatists, who raised the emerging art of tragedy to great heights of poetry and theatrical power. Aeschylus grew up in the turbulent period when the Athenian democracy, having thrown off its tyranny (the absolute rule of one man), had to prove...
Biography
Aleksandr Pushkin
Aleksandr Pushkin, Russian poet, novelist, dramatist, and short-story writer; he has often been considered his country’s greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin’s father came of an old boyar family; his mother was a granddaughter of Abram Hannibal, who, according to...
Biography
Pushkin, Aleksandr Sergeyevich
Isaac Babel
Isaac Babel, Russian short-story writer known for his cycles of stories: Konarmiya (1926, rev. ed. 1931, enlarged 1933; Red Cavalry), set in the Russo-Polish War (1919–20); Odesskiye rasskazy (1931; Tales of Odessa), set in the Jewish underworld of Odessa; and Istoriya moey golubyatni (1926; “Story...
Biography
Babel, Isaac
Jean Racine
Jean Racine, French dramatic poet and historiographer renowned for his mastery of French classical tragedy. His reputation rests on the plays he wrote between 1664 and 1691, notably Andromaque (first performed 1667, published 1668), Britannicus (first performed 1669, published 1670), Bérénice...
Biography
Jean Racine, oil painting, 17th century; in the National Museum of Versailles and of Trianons, France.
James Joyce
James Joyce, Irish novelist noted for his experimental use of language and exploration of new literary methods in such large works of fiction as Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939). Joyce, the eldest of 10 children in his family to survive infancy, was sent at age six to Clongowes Wood...
Biography
Joyce, James
David Garrick
David Garrick, English actor, producer, dramatist, poet, and comanager of the Drury Lane Theatre. Garrick was of French and Irish descent, the son of Peter Garrick, a captain in the English army, and Arabella Clough, the daughter of a vicar at Lichfield cathedral who was of Irish extraction. David...
Biography
David Garrick as Richard III
Henry James
Henry James, American novelist and, as a naturalized English citizen from 1915, a great figure in the transatlantic culture. His fundamental theme was the innocence and exuberance of the New World in clash with the corruption and wisdom of the Old, as illustrated in such works as Daisy Miller...
Biography
Henry James, 1905.
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, German dramatist, critic, and writer on philosophy and aesthetics. He helped free German drama from the influence of classical and French models and wrote plays of lasting importance. His critical essays greatly stimulated German letters and combated conservative dogmatism...
Biography
Gotthold Lessing, detail of an oil painting by Georg May, 1768; in the Gleimhaus, Halberstadt, Ger.
Eugene O'Neill
Eugene O’Neill, foremost American dramatist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936. His masterpiece, Long Day’s Journey into Night (produced posthumously 1956), is at the apex of a long string of great plays, including Beyond the Horizon (1920), Anna Christie (1922), Strange Interlude...
Biography
O'Neill, Eugene
Denis Diderot
Denis Diderot, French man of letters and philosopher who, from 1745 to 1772, served as chief editor of the Encyclopédie, one of the principal works of the Age of Enlightenment. Diderot was the son of a widely respected master cutler. He was tonsured in 1726, though he did not in fact enter the...
Biography
Denis Diderot, oil painting by Louis-Michel van Loo, 1767; in the Louvre, Paris.
Ivan Turgenev
Ivan Turgenev, Russian novelist, poet, and playwright whose major works include the short-story collection A Sportsman’s Sketches (1852) and the novels Rudin (1856), Home of the Gentry (1859), On the Eve (1860), and Fathers and Sons (1862). These works offer realistic, affectionate portrayals of...
Biography
Ivan Turgenev.
Friedrich Schiller
Friedrich Schiller, leading German dramatist, poet, and literary theorist, best remembered for such dramas as Die R?uber (1781; The Robbers), the Wallenstein trilogy (1800–01), Maria Stuart (1801), and Wilhelm Tell (1804). Friedrich Schiller was the second child of Lieut. Johann Kaspar Schiller and...
Biography
Friedrich Schiller, painting by Anton Graff, c. 1785.
Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov, Russian playwright and master of the modern short story. He was a literary artist of laconic precision who probed below the surface of life, laying bare the secret motives of his characters. Chekhov’s best plays and short stories lack complex plots and neat solutions. Concentrating...
Biography
Anton Chekhov, 1902.
Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens, English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian era. His many volumes include such works as A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity during his...
Biography
Dickens, Charles
Gabriel Marcel
Gabriel Marcel, French philosopher, dramatist, and critic who was associated with the phenomenological and existentialist movements in 20th-century European philosophy and whose work and style are often characterized as theistic or Christian existentialism (a term Marcel disliked, preferring the...
Biography
Gabriel Marcel, 1951
D.H. Lawrence
D.H. Lawrence, English author of novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, and letters. His novels Sons and Lovers (1913), The Rainbow (1915), and Women in Love (1920) made him one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century. Lawrence was the fourth child of a north...
Biography
D.H. Lawrence
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw, Irish comic dramatist, literary critic, and socialist propagandist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. Shaw’s article on socialism appeared in the 13th edition of the Encyclop?dia Britannica. George Bernard Shaw was the third and youngest child (and only son) of...
Biography
George Bernard Shaw, photograph by Yousuf Karsh.
Euripides
Euripides, last of classical Athens’s three great tragic dramatists, following Aeschylus and Sophocles. It is possible to reconstruct only the sketchiest biography of Euripides. His mother’s name was Cleito; his father’s name was Mnesarchus or Mnesarchides. One tradition states that his mother was...
Biography
Euripides, marble herm copied from a Greek original, c. 340–330 bce; in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist, considered the greatest German literary figure of the modern era. Goethe is the only German literary figure whose range and international standing equal those of...
Biography
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, engraving by James Posselwhite, 19th century.

Playwrights A-K Encyclopedia Articles

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