Quick Facts

  • In-depth coverage of 150+ dramatists and works
  • Nearly 3,000 reviews and essays
  • Browse by author, title, or topic
  • Covers all time periods


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Each of the more than 40 volumes in this series profiles approximately three to six dramatists selected from the literatures of all eras and all parts of the world. Entries provide an introductory biographical essay, a primary bibliography, a selection of full-text or excerpted criticisms reproduced from books, magazines, literary reviews, newspapers and scholarly journals, and sources for additional research. A full citation and annotation precede each of the approximately 50 essays per volume; many entries include an author portrait.

The series currently covers approximately 150 writers and includes numerous entries focusing on individual works and topics. Approximately 90-95% of critical essays from the print series are reproduced in full in this online version, which combines multiple search and browse options with an engaging format that matches the look and feel of the print originals.

Summary: Each volume of this reference provides a selection of critical essays as well as biographical information on three to six major dramatists or plays from all eras and all parts of the world.

Significance: Drama Criticism is principally intended for beginning students of literature and theater as well as the average playgoer. The series is designed to introduce readers to the most frequently studied playwrights of all time periods and nationalities, and to present discerning commentary on dramatic works of enduring interest. Furthermore, the series seeks to acquaint the reader with the uses and functions of criticism itself.

Where appropriate, reviews of important productions give readers a heightened awareness of drama as a dynamic art form, one that many claim is fully realized only in performance. Students writing papers or class presentations, instructors preparing their syllabi, or anyone seeking a deeper understanding of drama will find this a highly useful resource.

Source: Introductory essays are written and entries compiled by professional literature researchers and other subject matter experts. Each entry includes a set of previously published reviews, essays and other critical responses from sources that include scholarly books and journals, literary magazines, interviews, letters and diaries, carefully selected to create a representative history and cross-section of critical responses.

Structure: Each entry features:

  • An Introduction explaining the significance of the author or work and reviewing their critical reception across time. Author entries include a brief biography and a discussion and bibliography of major works; entries on individual works include a discussion of major themes as well as a plot summary and review of the textual history as appropriate
  • Several full-text critical essays, reviews or other critical responses, selected to provide a representative sampling of the range of critical responses over time
  • Suggested sources for further reading

For more information, download a Product Fact Sheet [pdf, 604 KB]

This easy-to-use resource is ideal for students new to literature and theater, and a valuable tool for the playgoer who seeks more insight into classic and contemporary drama.

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