Chapter

Past present: dramatisations of ‘return’

Geraldine Cousin

in Playing For Time

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780719061974
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700976 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719061974.003.0002
Past present: dramatisations of ‘return’

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This chapter focuses primarily on four of Priestley's ‘time plays’, each of which is structured either around the return of a character or a reversal to a previous point in the action. Dangerous Corner and An Inspector Calls are also heavily indebted to a popular narrative form that relies on an investigation of the past in order to bring the present into clearer focus. Time and the Conways and Eden End are meditations on the nature of loss, but they also contain seeds of hope. The chapter ends by discussing J. M. Barrie's Mary Rose, which is haunted even more obviously than Eden End by the lost generation of the First World War. Loss in Mary Rose is eventually succeeded by redemption, but the ghostly protagonist can find release only by embracing her dead state.

Keywords: time plays; Mary Rose; Eden End; Priestley's plays; Time and the Conways; ghostly protagonist; Dangerous Corner

Chapter.  8596 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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