This study includes chapters on European, American and British drama, and bibliographic reference to many other plays about scientists. While it is based on study of the original texts, it employs citations from English translations to make the material accessible to the English-speaking reader. Because of the continued relevance of the topic and the background information that introduces each play and puts it in a literary-historical context, this work should appeal to both scholars and students, readers and theatregoers. Another contribution of the book is its analysis of the social issues and literary themes that emerge from modern society's encounter with science and technology. It focuses on the moral dilemmas of the scientist and society but goes beyond the political and ethical discussion of atomic weapons that dominates most other studies. The plays discussed explore scientific experimentation with human subjects, utopian social science, the threat of irresponsible engineering and technology, creationism versus evolution, and the abuses of psychiatry.
Dramas studied include: Goethe's "Faust" and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"; Bnchner's "Woyzeck"; Hauptmann's "Before Daybreak"; Kaiser's "Gastrilogy"; Brecht's "A Man's a Man", "The Ocean Flight/The Baden Didactic Play of Agreement", and "Life of Galileo"; Kipphardt's "In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer"; Dnrrenmatt's "The Physicists"; Lawrence and Lee's "Inherit the Wind"; and Barnes' "The Ruling Class".