Love in Contemporary British Drama: Traditions and Transformations of a Cultural Emotion.
Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2021.
ISBN 9783110714647, 294 pp., hardb., € 99,95 (2021)
Despite the recent turn to affects and emotions in the humanities and despite the unceasing popularity of romantic and erotic love as a motif in fictional works of all genres, the subject has received surprisingly little attention in academic studies of contemporary drama. Love in Contemporary British Drama reflects the appeal of love as a topic and driving force in dramatic works with in-depth analyses of eight pivotal plays from the past three decades.
Following an interdisciplinary and historical approach, the study collects and condenses theories of love from philosophy and sociology to derive persisting discourses and to examine their reoccurrence and transformation in contemporary plays. Special emphasis is put on narratives of love’s compensatory function and precariousness and on how modifications of these narratives epitomise the peculiarities of emotional life in the social and cultural context of the present.
Based on the assumption that drama is especially inclined to draw on shared narratives for representations of love, the book demonstrates that love is both a window to remnants of the past in the present and a proper subject matter for drama in times in which the suitability of the dramatic form has been questioned.