Steven Earnshaw
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Realist drama
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This chapter looks at crucial elements in realist drama, stage design, and a technical feature often overlooked, the aside, something which seems non-realistic, and which might offer another view on Realism. Realism makes inroads into the melodrama of the day that dominated the theatre, and literary history has little regard for the period between 'Sheridan and Shaw', that is, a period from the end of the 1770s to the beginning of the 1890s. The chapter provides a number of plays from this period their due, in their relation to Realism, showing that they are not without their own merits, and once again to throw into relief the Realist novel. It discusses the role of the protagonist and the question of 'agency' in the relationship between Realism and the idea of drama in the nineteenth century. A STOP and THINK section helps readers to ponder whether drama is inherently unsuited to Realism.

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