My definition of drama is pretty common and not mine. If you mean by
"drama" a play for the stage, you have a point. But even then it is
problematic because as you said Sweeney has been staged. Here is, for
example, a definition from Holman's A HANDBOOK TO LITERATURE:
Aristotle called drame "imitated human action." But since his meaning of
IMITATION is in doubt, this phrase is not as simple or clear as it seems.
Professor J. M. Manlysaw three necessary elemants in drama: (1) a story
(2) told in action (3)by actors who impersonate the CHARACTERS of the
Now Sweeney clearly fits that as well as an added criterion by some of
I use Holman only because it is to hand and a standard, not an individual
claim. I could also find many such definitions. But Stephen Daedalus in
Joyce's PORTRAIT, like many others, defines it by point of view. Structure
is only a kind of drama by definitions I know, not the essence.
Date sent: Wed, 15 May 2002 15:58:18 -0400
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From: Marcia Karp <[log in to unmask]>
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Subject: Re: Furnished flats (was: Small correction)
Nancy Gish wrote:
> If "drama" depends on "structure," a great deal that has been called
> "dramatic"--monologues for example or the definition of the genre as in
> separate voices rather than third or first person--is all dismissed. I
> don't see why you assume any such "structure."
I'm on my way out the door ...
The dramatic structure -- exposition, complication, rising action, climax
(there are other terms used) -- is necessary to differentiate a drama from
a skit, or (in modern fiction) a short story from an anecdote.
"Dramatic," like "poetic," does not define a form. Don't know about
dramatic monologues. Are they plays (for me equivalent in this discussion
to dramas) or something else? (And there is the dramatic method.)
Are you referring to Eliot's "definition of the genre"? I may have
misunderstood Jennifer, but I didn't think she was. If not, who defines
drama the way you do?
Drama, poem, story are, for me, forms. I don't see how Sweeny A has the
form of a drama, nor do I think it suffers from not having it. You are
right about its staging. I saw it done and it was fabulous. Samson A,
which, if my long memory serves, is a drama and would be difficult to
stage, J.P., if the temple is truly to be destroyed. I'd like to see it.
I'll be back later and look forward to your reply,