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A study of the plays of Howard Barker, with special reference to the artist figures

Imran, Mamdouh Yousef (1989) A study of the plays of Howard Barker, with special reference to the artist figures. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86540) (KAR id:86540)


This thesis attempts to examine Howard Barker's plays and trace his evolution, both politically and as a dramatist, emphasising his oppositional and subversive orientation, as well as to demonstrate the shapes through which his oppositional stance is manifested. The first part consists of two chapters, the first of which is concerned with Barker's reactions to works by fellow-authors, whether by way of ripostes or full-scale adaptations. The second chapter attends to Barker's oppositional treatment of history and myth. The second part, which is composed of four chapters, concentrates on the aesthetic aspects of Barker's work, and points out that these, too, give clear signs of his oppositional tendency and innovativeness. The first chapter demonstrates the poetic elements of Barker's language, and the second shows that Barker is endowed with a visual imagination that enables him to construct memorable visual images on stage in illustration of dramatic conflict in his plays. The third chapter is addressed to Barker's style of characterization, and argues that Barker's tendency to define characters by their contradictions has recently given way to a more complex method, the simultaneous existence of contradictory qualities within the same psychic. The last chapter investigates the relationship Barker sets between verbal and visual language in his plays, and concludes that violence is an important term of this relationship. The third part comprises three chapters, the first of which deals with Barker's characterisation of 'non-subversive' artists, and concludes that this characterization negatively explains Barker's position at the time of writing the play concerned. The second chapter analyses Barker's portrayal of 'subversive' artists and finds out that explicit connection exists between Barker and his artists. The third chapter is a continuation of the second, but it mainly focuses upon Barker's recent propensity to use the plays themselves as vehicles to reiterate his aesthetic views.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86540
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: Hannah Rhodes
Depositing User: Liam Green-Hughes
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:32 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 09:25 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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