Howard Brenton: Romantic Retreats

  • Duncan Wu


In 1972 Howard Brenton told Peter Ansorge that

The theatre is a dirty place. It’s not a place for a rational analysis of society — it’s there to bait our obsessions, ideas and public figures.1


Human Nature Moral Good Double Agent Romantic Poet Cultural Terrorism 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Tony Mitchell, File on Brenton (London: Methuen, 1987), p. 86.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Antonin Artaud, The Theatre and its Double, tr. Victor Corti (London: John Calder, 1977), p. 71.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    ‘Our changing theatre’; Tom Stoppard and Howard Brenton interviewed by John Russell Taylor, BBC Radio, transmitted 23 November 1970.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Howard Brenton, Plays: One (London: Methuen, 1986), p. 27.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Among numerous examples see, for instance, Wordsworth, Thirteen-Book Prelude, v, 625-9: Even forms and substances are circumfused By that transparent veil with light divine, And through the turnings intricate of verse Present themselves as objects recognised In flashes, and with a glory scarce their own.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Plays: One, p. 28.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Plays: One, p. 29.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Plays: One, p. 345.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Plays: One, p. 346.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Margaretta D’Arcy, File on Brenton, p. 37.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    ‘3 Plays for Utopia’, programme note, Royal Court Theatre, 1988.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Frankenstein, ed. M. K. Joseph (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), p.100.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Plays: One, p. 384.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Plays: One, p. 376.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Plays: One, p. 378.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Plays: One, p. 390.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Howard Brenton, Bloody Poetry (2nd edn, London: Methuen/Royal Court Writers series, 1988), p. 14.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bloody Poetry, p. 37.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bloody Poetry, p. 43.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bloody Poetry, p. 67.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bloody Poetry, p. 80.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Bloody Poetry, p. 12.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Howard Brenton, Greenland (London: Methuen/Royal Court Writers Series, 1988), p. 51.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Greenland, p. 52.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Howard Brenton, Thirteenth Night & A Short Sharp Shock! (London: Methuen, 1981), pp. 10Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    File on Brenton, p. 50.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Howard Brenton, The Genius (London: Methuen/Royal Court Writers Series, 1983), p. 35.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Bertolt Brecht, The Life of Galileo, tr. Howard Brenton (2nd edn, London: Methuen, 1981), p. 85.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    The Genius, p. 37.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Howard Brenton, H.I.D. (Hess is Dead) (London: Nick Hern Books, 1989), p. 52.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    H.I.D., p. 53.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    H.I.D., pp. 56-7.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    H.I.D., pp. 59-60.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Howard Brenton, Diving for Pearls (London: Nick Hern Books), p. 159.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    I have revised the assessment given in my review at the time of the novel’s publication; see ‘Out of the gutter’, New Statesman and Society (16 June 1989), p. 37.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Diving for Pearls, p. 43.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    V, iii, 311-12.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Diving for Pearls, p. 223.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Diving for Pearls, pp. 24-5.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Diving for Pearls, pp. 26, 202.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    H.I.D., pp. 66-7. It is interesting how closely Brenton’s reflections on human nature in the post-communist era parallel those of Ian McEwan, Black Dogs (London: Jonathan Cape, 1992).Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Tariq Ali and Howard Brenton, Iranian Nights (London: Nick Hem Books, 1989).Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Tariq Ali and Howard Brenton, Moscow Gold (London: Nick Hem Books, 1990), p. 90.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Moscow Gold, p. 19.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Moscow Gold, p. 69.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Moscow Gold, p. 1.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Moscow Gold, p. 85.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Moscow Gold, p. 92.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Moscow Gold, p. 83.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Moscow Gold, p. 88.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Howard Brenton, Berlin Bertie (London: Nick Hem Books/Royal Court Programme, 1992), p. 55.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Plays: One, p. 370.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Berlin Bertie, p. 31.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Berlin Bertie, p. 59.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Berlin Bertie, p. 49.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Berlin Bertie, p. 66.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    This is a quotation, of course, from The Defence of Poetry.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Berlin Bertie, p. 67.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Berlin Bertie, p. 71.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Berlin Bertie, p. 70.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Berlin Bertie, p. 53.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Berlin Bertie, p. 58.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Berlin Bertie, p. 54.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    D. H. Lawrence, Apocalypse (London: Heinemann, 1972), p. 42.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Quoted by Carole Angier, ‘Defender of the memory’, The Guardian (18 November 1992), G2 Arts 4/5, p. 5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Duncan Wu 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Duncan Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English LiteratureUniversity of GlasgowUK

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