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Alan Ayckbourn: Beyond Romanticism

  • Duncan Wu

Abstract

‘All I’m saying is — isn’t it ironic that the hero is forgotten? And the villain has now become the hero. That’s all. And isn’t that a reflection of our time?’1 ‘All I’m saying’, ‘that’s all’: the verbal tics that punctuate the question posed by the television reporter in Alan Ayckbourn’s Man of the Moment, suggest that by 1988 it was too obvious to be worth asking. They serve also to camouflage the implied political critique; after all, complicity is the theme also of Hare’s Heading Home and Brenton’s Berlin Bertie. Odd company, perhaps, for the ‘non-political Priestley’2 of British theatre to be keeping, but Ayckbourn sides with Brenton and Hare in regarding the betrayal of personal ethics as analogous to political corruption. Like theirs, his political consciousness dates back to the 1950s when, as they would agree, this country fell from grace. ‘At one stage’, Ayckbourn recalls,

there was this terrible old patriarchal society where Mr Macmillan was obviously the most honest man in the world; he’d shot a few grouse and things but knew what was good for you. He was like some sort of old uncle, really. And then somebody discovered that there was as much corruption in politics as in the rest of the world. One wasn’t so surprised by that, because politicians are representatives of us — we voted them in. But then everything became corrupt! I mean everything. We didn’t believe in anything.3

Keywords

Political Corruption Moral Blindness Happy Moment Revenge Motif Small Family Business 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes and References

  1. 1.
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Copyright information

© Duncan Wu 1996

Authors and Affiliations

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

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