n French Studies in Southern Africa - Jean Anouilh et la pièce bien faite

Volume 2018 Number 48
  • ISSN : 0259-0247


The relationship between Anouilh and the well-made play has been a key issue in Anouilh studies. Anouilh opposes the well-made play, thinking that it represents an old, mechanical writing mode, and that an ideal drama, or future drama, should surpass this mode and its narrow realism. Meanwhile, Anouilh also recognises the value of the well-made play; he thinks that modern drama should inherit its traditional dramatic writing techniques, and that the representative genre of well-made play, the lighthearted comedy, can reveal the real situation of modern people better than tragedy.

This article focuses on the dialectical relationship between Anouilh’s drama and the well-made play. By analyzing Anouilh’s closeness to and deviation from the well-made play, the paper demonstrates the contradiction and complexity of the playwright, dynamically reveals Anouilh’s drama world, and depicts the choices and dilemma a playwright faces in mid-20th century when innovation and tradition alternate.

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