This work is a revisionist study of Anton Chekhov's drama which points out, for the first time, the rhetorical and polemical elements that have remained unnoticed or unmentioned in previous studies. This work will appeal to scholars interested in Chekhov's plays and the polemical force of drama. This groundbreaking study insists that critical tradition has conspired to emasculate the polemical force Chekhovian comedy out of misplaced respect for his renowned objectivity and his loathing of overt moralizing. A rhetorical framework of analysis is predicated upon the assumption that all writings are implicated in 'interestedness' - the critic's task is to uncover the rhetorical parameters and nature of that 'interestedness.' Through analyses of each of Chekhov's plays in its original context, the author identifies the rhetorical potential that remains neglected in contemporary readings and productions. All of the readings in this study are addressed to actors and directors - inviting them to reassess and reclaim the force of these plays for our time.
Dr. John Reid is Principal Lecturer in Drama in the School of English and Drama of the University of the West of England. He earned his Ph.D. in English at Birkbeck College, University of London. Along with teaching, Dr. Reid has dramatic experience as both an actor and director.
Preface by Dr. Peter Billingham; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Ivanov: The Perils of Typicality; Matter and Spirit in The Seagull; Ga-Ga-Ga Gander Music: Polemical Cackling in Uncle Vanya; Part 1: Where is the Drama?; Part 2: The Plague of Theoretism; Three Sisters: Black Vesper's Opera Naturalistica; Part 1: Musica per Dramma; Part 2: The Personal is the Polemical; Polemic as Parting Advice: The Argument of The Cherry Orchard; Bibliography; Index.