Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 September 2020
‘Decadent theatre’ is not an established genre within British theatre studies. Barring Wilde’s Salomé, Maeterlinck’s Symbolist theatre had little impact on the British stage, though it strongly influenced the Irish theatre. Frequently applied to Ibsen as a term of abuse, ‘Decadent’ denoted plays that challenged social and moral conventions. Sensuality and sexual temptation became a staple within purportedly moral plays, and ‘fallen woman plays’ like Bella Donna (1911) and ‘toga dramas’ like The Sign of the Cross (1894–5) made box office gold. British avant-garde theatre was shaped by Bernard Shaw, who blended realism and theatrical extravagance into an alternative form of Decadent theatre. Shavian realism and social critique were key to the development of the British theatrical avant-garde, and ‘Decadent’ theatre thus took on different forms from on the Continent. The verbally extravagant, self-consciously theatrical comedies of Oscar Wilde produced one brand, whose legacy was the poised black comedies of Noël Coward and Joe Orton. Elizabeth Robins and Florence Bell, by contrast, pushed unrepentant realism to the point of awakening critics’ lurid imaginations.
To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.