Forms of Drama and Novel Study Material Notes

Forms of Drama and Novel Study Material Notes

Forms of Drama and Novel Study Material Notes: Welcome to my friends. Today we learn about the forms of Drama and Novel Books Notes Study Material. Drama and Novel is one of the most important part of English Literature. Here, we will discuss types or forms of Drama and Novel Books Study Material Notes.

Forms of Drama and Novel Study Material Notes
Forms of Drama and Novel Books Notes Study Material

Forms of Drama and Novel Study Material Notes

1. Elements of Drama

Most successful playwrights follow the footprints of Aristotle. Various theories of drama were established two thousand years ago by this versatile genius from Greece. ‘Poetics’ is his grand work. In his work he outlined the elements of drama. His critical analysis is on classical Greek tragedy ‘Oedipus Rex’ written by the Greek playwright named Sophocles in the fifty century B.C.

In this analysis Aristotle gave a closely reasoned argument in favour of a complex relation-cause and effect, means and end, form and matter -among six qualitative parts or elements of the literary art and particularly as the figure in tragic drama: Plot (mythos), characters (ethos), thought and feeling (dianoia), diction (lexis), sound or music (melos) and spectacle (opsis).

2. Elements of Novel

There is little consensus among bestselling authors regarding the number and composition, regarding the fundamental elements of fiction. For some authors fiction has three main elements of plotting, character and setting. For others they include theme, character, conflict, setting, style and so on. According to Evanovich the framework of a story contains characters, action and conflict as major elements. In a Broadway for our study purpose we can include seven things and activities as main elements in a novel. They are plot, characters, theme, place or setting, conflict, style and action.

3. Drama of Ideas

To George Bernard Shaw the aim of the drama was the interpretation of life through the picture of human existence. So presented that from it could be gathered the philosophy which the author wished to propagate. Closely allied to this view of the drama of ideas is that adopted by Butler, Wells and Galsworthy. They believe it as a means of social propaganda and a medium for the discrimination of their ideas. They stand on such contemporary problems as religion, shifting social values and family life.

The darling genius was found, to some extent in Arthur Wing Pinero and H.A. Jones who made pretty serious efforts through drama of ideas to drive away undiluted romanticism from the English stage. As an expert craftsman Pinero had the courage to introduce several innovations in dramatic technique. In his “The Second Mrs Tanqueray’, produced in 1893, Pinero played the pioneer in discarding the ‘soliloquy’ and the ‘aside’ along with certain other old stage conventions.

Pinero and Jones were taste pioneers of their field in literature. But they could not ignore bibulous taste altogether, nevertheless they played the deciding role in discarding soliloquy and aside. They also cast aside some conventions current in their time. Jones wrote in his preface to ‘Saints and Sinners’ (1884) that play-writing should not be merely the art of sensational and spectacular illusion.

4. Regional Novel

Regional novel particularizes each fact of the nature and human environment peculiar to the selected locale. Henry James reviewing the southern fiction to the American writer Fenimore Woolson (1840-94) praised her familiarity with the natural objects of the region.

“Riders to the Sea’ is unquestionably a play with a distinct regional interest. Its setting is an island of the west coast of Ireland. This is located at Aran Islands. Thomas Hardy is also a regional novelist. His novels have for their background Dorsetshire, which becomes Wessex in them. The novels are known as Wessex novels. It was for the first time in the history of English fiction that a particular region was exploited so vividly and at the same time without any loss of universality of appeal.

In regional novel the dialogue in the dialect has a direct appeal to the readers. The writer shows first-hand knowledge not only of the geography of the region but also the people. He descends to the level of common man. The reader feels that the people are a part and parcel of his own life. Regional novel is packed up with local colour and natural description. It is thrilling and quite interesting.

Before Hardy, Scott and Wordsworth had portrayed regional country scenes but they were limited in their range. Hardy used Wessex as the background for his novels. (Forms of Drama and Novel Study Material Notes)

Regional Novel

Hardy is a great regional novelist. He is the creator of ‘Wessex’, a small tract of country comprising six odd counties in South England. His knowledge of this limited region was as comprehensive as that of Scott of Waverley and that of Wordsworth of the Lake District. Wessex appears in all his novels and the seldom strays out of it.

J.M. Synge has worked on old legend and presented an excellent but ironical picture of Irish character. He has depicted region in his work. J.M. Synge stayed on Aran Islands in order to study the manners, habits, beliefs and mode of life of the natives there. He drew his first-hand knowledge of these islands. The idea for writing ‘Riders to the Sea’ came to him from a drowning incident which took place during one of his visits to these islands.

The success of Hardy as a novelist of Wessex was undoubtedly one of the factors which stimulated the production of fiction set in particular regions. The novels of the ‘Five Towns’, which are Bennett’s best work, are examples of this regionalism. Westmorland was the setting of the novels of Constance Holme,

5. Narrative Techniques

The narrative technique is the way a story is told. The perspective is established by an author through which the reader is presented with the characters, actions, setting and events which constitute the narrative in a work of fiction.

There have been developed many different ways to present author’s work in the genre of story or fiction. Sometimes many extended works employ several ways within a single narrative. The narrative techniques are broadly divided into two categories: (i) third-person narrative and (ii) first-person narrative.

In the third-person narrative, the narrator is someone outside the story and characters are referred by their proper name. In first-person narrative, the narrator speaks as T and is himself a character in the story.

Following are the literary works in which the first person narration technique is adopted.

(i) ‘Robinson Crusoe’ by Daniel Defoe (ii) David Copperfield’ by Charles Dickens (i) A Farewell to Arms’ by Ernest Hemingway (iv) ‘I am John’s Heart’ by J.D. Ratcliff.

In the backstory technique, the story that precedes events in the main story is told. This way the past events or background add meaning to the current circumstances of the story. (Forms of Drama and Novel Study Material Notes)

Narrative Techniques

‘Deus ex machina’ is a narrative technique in which the primary conflict is resolved by a means unrelated to the story. A God may appear and solve everything. This devices dates back to ancient Greek theatre.

A flashback or analeptic reference is a general term for altering time sequences, where the characters are taken to the beginning of the tale. In this way the reader becomes acquainted with the previous activities.

‘In medias res’ is a device in narrating a story where the story begins in the middle of a sequence of events. It is a specific form of narrative.

‘Story within a story’ is a story told within another story. It is technically called as ‘hypodiegesis’. It is known as frame story. ‘Story within a story’ is a narrative technique where main story organizes a series of shorter stories.

6. Picaresque Novel

The term ‘picaresque’ has been derived from a Spanish word ‘picaro’ meaning a rogue or villain. It is a word used for a novel, dealing with the life and adventures of rogues. Originally a type of romance that dealt with rogues or villains was coined as picaresque. In a picaresque novel a hero is sent to the sea also. With the development of novel, it was no longer considered essential to take only a rogue or a villain as the central character. A regular hero, gallant and chivalric, adventurous in spirit and liberal in outlook, came to be equally acceptable.

In picaresque novel the novelist does not require a regular, well-organized, well-rounded plot. Picaresque form offers enough scope to throw light on the life, culture and morality of the age and to critize the evils infesting it.

‘Don Quixote’, written by Cervanties in Spanish is the most well-known picaresque novel. In English Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) wrote in picaresque tradition. His ‘Robinson Crusoe’ (1719) and ‘Moll Flanders’ (1722) are wellknown adventures of the genre. Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones’ and Mark Twain’s ‘Huckleberry Finn’ are also popular picaresque novels. (Forms of Drama and Novel Study Material Notes)

Daniel Defoe had a comprehensive knowledge of various aspects of human nature. He portrayed pirates and pickpockets and loose women in a realistic way. He is the mouthpiece of middle class of his day. His interest in contemporary life is reproduced in his famous picaresque novel ‘Robinson Crusoe’.

Picaresque Novel

At the head of the list of books by Defoe stands ‘Robinson Crusoe (1719. 1720), one of the few books in any literature which has held its popularity undiminished for nearly two centuries. The story is based upon the experiences of Alexander Selkirk, who had been marooned in the island of Juan Fernandez, off the coast of Chile, who lived there is solitude for five years.

Picaresque novel deals with adventures of rogues. A picaresque novel is a union of intrigue and adventure. The only unity in it is provided by the central figure of the protagonist. Tobias Smollett made remarkable contribution to this genre of novel. His famous picaresque novels are “The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle’, ‘The Adventures of Roderick Random’ and ‘The Expedition of Humphry Clinker’.

Cervantes great work ‘Don Quixote’ is the model of picaresque fiction. Many novelettes were written on the same theme. In the story of ‘Don Quixote’, an engaging madman tries to live by the ideals of chivalric romance and is used to explore the role of illusion and reality in life. It was the single most important progenitor of the modern novel.

Fielding wrote some novels with the glimpse of picaresque novel. His Jonathan wild has a story of a rogue. “The History of Tom Jones’ is his best work on the line of picaresque novel. In these books his satire is subtle as that of Chaucer and good-natured as that of Steele. These picaresque novels are most artistic that English literature has produced.  (Forms of Drama and Novel Study Material Notes)

7. Expressionist Drama

Expressionist drama was concerned not with society but with man. It aimed to offer subjective psychological analysis, not so much of an individual as of a type and made much to the sub-conscious. For such a study established dramatic forms and methods of expressionists threw overboard conventional structure in favour of an unrestricted freedom.

Expressionism was an artistic movement which began in Germany at the start of twentieth century. Swedish dramatist Stindberg (1849-1912) greatly influenced the movement and reached its height in the decade 1915-25. It manifested itself in painting and music, as well as in literature. Its most persistent influence has been in the theatre. It flourished in Germany as an anti-realistic mode of artistic expression. James Joyce, Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf, the great novelists of twentieth century were greatly influenced by expressionism.

Expressionism is a form of romantic art in which emotion or emotive element, expressed through violent distortions and exaggeration, are taken to the point of excess. It is a characteristic of art which emerges and becomes dominant in time of social and spiritual stress. This movement became dominant, especially in Germany, during the decade following world war first.  (Forms of Drama and Novel Study Material Notes)

Though expressionism as a concerted dramatic movement did not endure, it has had an important effect on the writing and staying of such plays as Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth’ and Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’, as well as on more recent non-realistic enterprises such as the ‘theatre of the absurd.’

Expressionist Drama

The extraordinarily flexible possibilities of its medium has made the motion picture an important vehicle of expressionism. The early German expressionist film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ is often revived and the techniques of expressionism are being exploited. They are exploited to manifest the distorted perceptions, dreams and fantasies in the current films of great directors and producers.

Disgusted with the overtone of realism in drama and the expression of the external life of sordid realities, certain dramatist of America, Europe and England made new experiments in producing plays not dealing with external realism but with the inner life of the characters. Expressionism in drama is just an experiment in presenting the inner life of the character in a psychological way. (Forms of Drama and Novel Study Material Notes)

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