History as Theatrical Metaphor: History, Myth and National Identities in Modern Scottish Drama

History as Theatrical Metaphor: History, Myth and National Identities in Modern Scottish Drama

by Ian Brown

Hardcover(1st ed. 2016)

Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, December 19


This revelatory study explores how Scottish history plays, especially since the 1930s, raise issues of ideology, national identity, historiography, mythology, gender and especially Scottish language. Covering topics up to the end of World War Two, the book addresses the work of many key figures from the last century of Scottish theatre, including Robert McLellan and his contemporaries, and also Hector MacMillan, Stewart Conn, John McGrath, Donald Campbell, Bill Bryden, Sue Glover, Liz Lochhead, Jo Clifford, Peter Arnott, David Greig, Rona Munro and others often neglected or misunderstood.

Setting these writers’ achievements in the context of their Scottish and European predecessors, Ian Brown offers fresh insights into key aspects of Scottish theatre. As such, this represents the first study to offer an overarching view of historical representation on Scottish stages, exploring the nature of ‘history’ and ‘myth’ and relating these afresh to how dramatists use – and subvert – them.

Engaging and accessible, this innovative book will attract scholars and students interested in history, ideology, mythology, theatre politics and explorations of national and gender identity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781137473356
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication date: 09/26/2016
Edition description: 1st ed. 2016
Pages: 247
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x (d)

About the Author

Emeritus Professor in Drama at Kingston University, UK, and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Glasgow University, Ian Brown’s previous posts include Dean of Arts, Queen Margaret University, and Drama Director, Arts Council of Great Britain. Published widely on theatre history and cultural matters, he is a playwright and poet.

Table of Contents

Introduction.- Chapter one. Playwrights and History.- Chapter two. History, Mythology and “Re-presentation” of events.- Chapter three. Language, Ideology and Identity.- Chapter four. The creation of a “missing” tradition.- Chapter five. Revealing hidden histories.- Chapter six. The re-visioning of history.- Chapter seven. Alternative visions.- Chapter eight.
Re-constructing the deconstructed.- Chapter nine. Conclusion.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“The most critically engaged look at the history of Scottish drama from the eighteenth century to the present day.” (Gerard Carruthers, Francis Hutcheson Chair of Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow, UK)

“This book offers an insightful discussion of how dramatists treat historical and mythic material, and a comprehensive survey of the specific approaches of Scottish playwrights, past and present. Brown's analyses of individual texts are both judicious and fair.” (David Hutchinson, Visiting Professor in Media Policy, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK)

“The major strength of this important and lively new book is Ian Brown’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the rich and diverse theatrical culture of Scotland, combined with his understanding of wider European traditions and his experience as a playwright. This combination enables him to trace genealogies, offer comparative commentary and it facilitates a deep understanding of the ideological consequences of themes, myths, language, dramaturgy and theatrical strategies. Focusing on leading Scottish playwrights including David Greig, Liz Lochhead, John McGrath, Robert McLellan and Rona Munro, Brown explores how they have created plays that draw attention to competing versions of history, marginalised histories and the potential to revision history as a way of engaging in debates around such themes as power, independence, gender and the past and future of the Scottish nation.” (Nadine Holdsworth, Professor of Theatre and Performance, Warwick University, UK)

“Ian Brown has written an excellent book about the infinite adaptability of history. He opened my eyes to a world of pre-20th century Scottish drama of which I was only dimly aware. He also writes about more familiar figures, from Barrie and Bridie to Lochhead and Munro with a scholarly brio that demonstrates their ability to find a metaphor for the present in the past. I learned a massive amount from Ian Brown's informed intelligence.” (Michael Billington, the Guardian theatre critic)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews