History of Western Theatre: 17th Century to Now

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Comedy and tragedy



The main purpose of the present textbook is to encourage the reading and writing of plays. The plays are presented in a way to emphasize how exciting they are, and why scholarly and public attention have been continuously paid to them. There is also another goal: helping to make better known plays too much ignored, especially in the non-English literature. A particular emphasis is laid on action, what are the characters doing, or not doing.

Plays available on the Internet

Links on the Internet are provided to the complete version of the plays not protected by Copyright, with modern spelling. A more complete list of plays in English on the Internet is given in the "Added material" subsection presented below.

Chronology of plays

The dating of the plays is referenced according to the year first published or presented on stage, whichever came first, more rarely the year it was written, in cases when neither the one nor the other occurred until much later. Included in Pre-World War (WW) II plays are plays up to 1945, as the main difference in style in 20th century plays occurs before and after that date.

Boulevard theatre

A separate French section during 19th and 20th centuries is given to Boulevard theatre in view of its added importance in that language.

17th century English

From the Elizabethan period, English theatre developed to Jacobean and Caroline styles, offering in general more cynical tragedies and darker comedies. Restoration theatre emphasized the satiric to the detriment of romantic comedy, unlike Shakespeare who featured both aspects.

17th century French

17th century Spanish

18th century English

18th century French

18th century Spanish

18th century Italian

18th century German

18th century Scandinavian

19th century English

19th century French

19th century Spanish

19th century Italian

19th century German

19th century Russian

19th century Scandinavian

19th century American

20th century English

20th century French

20th century Spanish

20th century Latin American

20th century Italian

20th century German

20th century Russian

20th century Scandinavian

20th century East European

20th century American

20th century Canadian

21st century English

21st century French

21st century Italian

21st century Spanish

21st century Latin American

21st century German

21st century Russian

21st century Scandinavian

21st century East European

21st century American

21st century Canadian

Added material