Preamble / Objectives (Optional): This course will introduce students to notions of the absurd in
European theatre. We will discuss some of the major playwrights writing from the 1950s who were
associated with this style of theatre. The plays will be analyzed for their focus on existentialism and
the formal elements they deployed for this purpose, which included repetition, word plays, clichés,
nonsense words and phrases to suggest the breakdown of meaning and purpose in a world of
religious and political orthodoxy.
Course Content/ Syllabus (as a single paragraph if it isq not containing more than one subject. Sub-topics/
Sections may be separated by commas(,). Topics may be separated by Semi-Colons(;). Chapters may be separated by
Full-Stop(.). While starting with broad heading, it may be indicated with Colon symbol before the topics. For
example: Multi-variable Calculus: Limits of functions, Continuity, …… )
Introduction to the playwrights: Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ioneseco, Jean Genet, Tom Stoppard,
Tadeusz Rozewicz and Harold Pinter, their shared engagement with the absurd, their critiques of
religious and political conformism and corruption; features of the absurd: repetition, word play,
irony, nonsense words and phrases, meta-theatrical techniques; texts: Arthur Artaud’s The Theatre and
its Double, Martin Esslin’s The Theatre of the Absurd, Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot, Endgame and
Krapp’s Last Tape; Eugene Ionesco: Rhinoceros, The Killer; Tom Stoppard: Rosencratz and Guildenstern are
Dead; Jean Genet: The Maids, The Balcony; Tadeusz Rozewicz: Reading the Apocalypse in Bed; Harold
Pinter: The Dumb Waiter, The Homecoming, The Birthday Party.
Books (In case UG compulsory courses, please give it as “Text books” and “Reference books”.
Otherwise give it as “References”.
Texts: (Format: Authors, Book Title in Italics font, Volume/Series, Edition Number, Publisher, Year.)
1. Samuel Beckett, The Complete Dramatic Works of Samuel Beckett. Faber&Faber
2. Eugene Ionesco, Rhinoceros, Chairs and Lesson. Trans. Derek Prouse, Donald Watson. Penguin, 2000.
3. Jean Genet, The Balcony. Avalon Travel Publishing, 1994.
4. Jean Genet, The Maids and Deathwatch. Avalon Travel Publishing, 1994.
5. Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Dead. Faber & Faber. 2017.
6. Harold Pinter, Complete Works. Avalon Travel Publishing, 1994.
References: (Format: Authors, Book Title in Italics font, Volume/Series, Edition Number, Publisher,
1. Martin Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd. Bloomsbury Publishing India Pvt. Limited, 2014.
2. Antonin Artaud, The Theatre and its Double. Grove Press, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1994.
3. Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus. Penguin, 2005.
4. Xingjian Gao, The Other Shore: Plays. Gilbert C.F. Fong (trans.) Chinese University Press, 2000.
Academic Complex Block F Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati Guwahati, Assam, 781039 India