Copyright © 1996 by The Johns Hopkins University Press. All rights reserved. This work may be used, with this header included, for noncommercial purposes within a subscribed institution. No copies of this work may be distributed electronically outside of the subscribed institution, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the JHU Press. Journal of Modern Greek Studies 14.1 (1996)
Modern Greek drama has been performed and discussed in several European languages. This bibliography lists translated plays and original essays that appeared only in English. Therefore, the 182 entries that follow represent only a small sample of artistry and scholarship.
I compiled this bibliography in order to guide beginning students of Greek theater who are not fluent in modern Greek. Modern Greek theater has been victimized by brief, sweeping generalizations in introductory surveys that beginning students find in encyclopedias and in general histories of Greek literature. These surveys, which discourage the further study of modern Greek theater by underrating its significance, inadvertently expose the limitations of their authors.
For example, Myron Matlaw boldly--and, to a certain extent, unjustly--claims that "Greek drama in modern times hardly reflects the glories of its golden age" (Modern World Drama: An Encyclopedia 1972:318). Likewise, but more tactfully, Rae Dalven concludes that modern Greek theater is making an enormous contribution to world drama through the many revivals of classical Greek drama in translation, the production of countless foreign plays in translation, and the production of an "abundance" of original [modern] Greek plays (The Readers' Encyclopedia of World Drama 1969:400). This cajoling "abundance" of original modern Greek plays, however, misconstrues the production record of modern Greek drama in the 1960s and earlier.
A deprecating attitude toward modern Greek drama and scholarship is also shared by widely used texts such as Constantine Dimaras's A History of Modern Greek Literature (1972), Linos Politis's A History of Modern Greek Literature (1973), and Roderick Beaton's An Introduction to Modern Greek Literature (1994). The above popular histories share, in addition, a literary bias: they neglect the performance side of theater and give dramatic literature and scholarship only a cursory mention. However, a fair amount of modern Greek dramatic literature, performances, and scholarship is not second rate. Of course, modern Greek drama and theater have not yet benefited, internationally, from as systematic, extensive, or detailed an analysis as that accorded classical Greek drama and theater.
I offer my brief comments below with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I know
how presumptuous it is to attempt to describe or evaluate in ten-line
annotations plays such as Kostis Palamas's controversial Trisévyeni or
the books of prolific scholars, such as Linda Myrsiades, whose work has not yet
been fully discussed. On the other hand, I am aware of how indispensable a
bibliographical guide can be for a more analytical and, one hopes, revisionist
study of modern Greek theater.
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