Art Of Dramatic Writing : Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives
About the book
Lajos Egri examines a play from the inside out, starting with the heart of any drama: its characters. For it is people - their private natures and their inter-relationships - that move a story and give it life. All good dramatic writing depends upon an understanding of human motives. Why do people act as they do? What forces transform a coward into a hero, a hero into a coward? What is it that Romeo does early in Shakespeare's play that makes his later suicide seem inevitable? Why must Nora leave her husband at the end of A Doll's House? These are a few of the fascinating problems which Egri analyzes. He shows how it is essential for the author to have a basic premise - a thesis, demonstrated in terms of human behaviour - and to develop his dramatic conflict on the basis of that behaviour. Premise, character, conflict: this is Egri's ABC. His book is a direct, jargon-free approach to the problem of achieving truth in a literary creation.
Moss Hart I found Lajos Egri's book enormously interesting -- one of the best I have ever read.
Lajos Egri Biography
Lajos N. Egri (June 4, 1888 – February 7, 1967) was a Hungarian-American playwright and teacher of creative writing. He is the author of The Art of Dramatic Writing, which is widely regarded as one of the best works on the subject of playwriting, as well as its companion textbook, The Art of Creative Writing. Beyond the theater, his methods have also been used to write short stories, novels, and screnplays.
Early yearsBorn into a Jewish family in Eger, Austria-Hungary, Egri came to the US in 1906 and worked in a New York garment factory as a tailor and presser. He was an active member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union.
PlaywrightEgri wrote his first three-act play at the age of ten, according to his biographical sketch in The Art of Dramatic Writing. In 1927, Rapid Transit, Egri's expressionist play, was translated from Hungarian and produced at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York. Casting about for some adequate means of conveying a sense of the furious pace of this machine age, Egri pictured a world in which all of life is compressed into twenty-four hours. Children grow to maturity in a few minutes; meals are eaten in split seconds; tabloid newspapers are issued at intervals of a second or two, and the loss of half a minute is a serious matter. The New York Times described the play as "chaotic at times, but sporadically interesting." Egri's other plays include the satirical comedy Believe Me or Not (1933), Tornado (1938), This is Love (1945 with Arden Young) and The Cactus Club (1957). His one-act Hungarian plays include Satan is Dead, Spiders, Between Two Gods, There Will be No Performance, and Devils.
Teacher of playwritingEgri taught courses in playwriting, first in New York (1860 Broadway and 2 Columbus Circle), and then in Los Angeles. One student who garnered much attention was a 63-year-old grandmother, Esther Kaufman, who attended Egri's classes. Egri encouraged Kaufman to write a play about growing up on the Lower East Side. The result was A Worm in the Horseradish, which had its premiere at the Maidman Playhouse in New York, March 13, 1961, and closed May 28 after mixed reviews. Egri also worked with other playwrights and screenwriters, including Woody Allen, who took Egri's course at 2 Columbus Circle. "I still think his The Art of Dramatic Writing is the most stimulating and best book on the subject ever written, and I have them all," Allen told biographer Eric Lax.
The Art of Dramatic WritingOriginally published by Simon & Schuster in 1942 as How to Write a Play, Egri's treatise was revised and published as The Art of Dramatic Writing in 1946. Egri argues in The Art of Dramatic Writing against Aristotle's view of character being secondary to plot (as stated in Aristotle's Poetics). According to Egri, well defined characters will drive the plot themselves, and so the foundation of character is the essential germination of a well crafted story. Central to Egri's arg ... Read full biography
|Publisher:||SIMON & SCHUSTER|
|Languages:||| English ||
|Publication date:||May 17, 2004|
|First Publication Date:||None|
|Publication City/Country:||New York, United States|