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A Study of Tom Stoppard’s Early Metadramas: Focusing on Albert’s Bridge and The Real Inspector Hound

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2017, 30(3), pp.63-86
  • DOI : 10.29163/jmed.2017.12.30.3.63
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

KIM,TAI-WOO 1

1국민대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

At first sight, Albert’s Bridge(1967) seems like a loosely constructed unrealistic radio drama. However, if we understand Albert as a sort of artist figure and the whole play as ‘a portrait of an artist’, it suddenly looks like a play of consistent themes and structure, as in the case of Lord Malquist and Mr Moon, Stoppard’s only novel so far, where Mr. Moon plays the role of a thinly-veiled writer figure. Albert’s death with the collapse of the Clufton Bay Bridge seems to be the logical conclusion of his failure both as a man and as an artist in that entrapped in the chaos of the realities, he cannot make any meaningful artistic achievement. The Real Inspector Hound(1968), while parodying Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, successfully combines various dramatic devices which are vital in making so-called Stoppardian ‘comedy of ideas’. The setting of two theater critics being drawn into the inner play they are watching seems to be particularly original and effective, making The Real Inspector Hound quite a unique metadramatic work. It is not certain whether Stoppard indeed had the intention of writing metadramas, but these two Stoppard’s early works characteristically show metadramatic self-reflexive or self-conscious aspects. Even so, these two works are not entirely cut off from the realities. A drama work inevitably gets involved in the realities when and where it is created, Albert’s Bridge and The Real Inspector Hound being no exceptions. It is only that these two works, foregrounding such issues as the relationship between reality and illusion, and the theatricality of the theater, interestingly suggest to the audience that some drama works should be approached from a new perspective rather than from that of traditional realism.

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