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History of the Theatre [Hardcover]

Oscar G. Brockett , Franklin J. Hildy
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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History of the Theatre History of the Theatre 5.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

14 July 1998 0205281710 978-0205281718 8

First published in 1968, History of the Theatre is the most comprehensive and widely used survey of theatre history. The eighth edition retains all of the traditional features that have made History of the Theatre a classic for over thirty years, including over 530 photos and illustrations, useful maps, and the expertise of Oscar Brockett, one of the most widely respected theatre historians in the field. Franklin J. Hildy contributes his scholarship and experience throughout the text and, in particular, to a discussion of English Theatre/Shakespeare (Ch. 6).

The authors have scrutinized each chapter closely to sharpen, update, and reinterpret information. Revised to include and address new revisionist scholarship, the eighth edition continues to provide the most thorough and accurate assessment of the history of theatre available.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 708 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 8 edition (14 July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0205281710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0205281718
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 22.1 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,800,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the Back Cover

History of the Theatre, 10/e

Oscar G. Brockett and Franklin J. Hildy


Congratulations on beginning your learning experience with the 40thAnniversary Edition of this bestselling theatre history textbook written by two of the most highly respected theatre historians in the field: Oscar G. Brockett and Franklin J. Hildy.  You’ll begin your historical journey chronologically with the ritual origins of theatre. Then you’ll travel around the world as you explore the roots of theatre in countries such as Spain, England, and France, in Latin America and more. You’ll end your survey with the theatres of Africa and Asia. The cover alone captures the drama and diversion that an evening at the theatre provides.              



  • The most comprehensive coverage of European, American, Asian, African, and Latin American theatre history exposes you to many types of theatre you may have never before considered.
  • A revised chapter on contemporary theatre covers avant-garde theatre from around the world and brings theatre history up to the present day.
  • Updates throughout every chapter provide you with the most current and accurate information available, so you’ll be well-informed for discussions in class as well as with family and friends. 



“Most people involved with teaching theatre history know that this text is unequaled in the field. No other survey text gives this kind of detail, is revised as often to keep pace with research and historical developments, is as qualified or clear in what the state of knowledge and debate are on particular topics, covers as many areas of world theatre, has as thorough an index, is as rich in images, or has as useful a bibliography.” 

–Dennis C. Beck, James Madison University


“Since I was a college undergraduate, the Brockett history book has been a ‘must do’ on my bookshelf and the bookshelves of all of my theatre peers and professors alike. The Brockett book is affectionately referred to as ’The Bible’ among my colleagues. There is no question it is a remarkable compilation of information and an invaluable addition to my resources.”

–Kimberly Wagner, Edinboro University

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab 4 Oct 2003
By Kim
I originally bought this book because it was on my booklist at uni and I felt that I ought to buy one general reference book, so having bought it it actually spent a long time sat on my book shelf completely unused! However, in a moment of boredemn one day I picked it up and started to flick through it and found that I was absolutely engrossed!
Brockett covers all aspects of theatre from all ages. He concentrates mostly on European and American drama, which for me as a drama student is great because those are the areas that we are most likely to cover, but there are also charters covering different theatre styes from different continents!
Each chapter is spilt up into subsections, which is especially useful if you are looking for a specific piece of information and at the end of each chapter there is a half page summary about what the chapter contains and how this relates to theatre history as a whole, great if you've been told to research a subject and don't have time to read a whole chapter!
Finally, theatre teachers and lecturers love Brockett, so if you put this in your bibliography and quote it on a regualr basis then your lecturer will probably love you forever!
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, Oscar Brockett is God 18 Feb 2000
By Jason Groce - Published on Amazon.com
I had the pleasure of being Brock's student for three years at the University of Texas. The book is phenomenal, easy to read and amazingly complete. The History of the Theatre experience should also be augmented by the opportunity to hear Brockett speak. He is erudite, funny, a lively teacher and an incredible intellect. There is no other book to serve as a reference and introduction to theatre history. No other book and no other teacher so expertly and informatively makes you realize the interweaving of theatre and society throughout its long history. IMHO, Brockett should write the history not just of theatre but of everything. His non-didactic, straight-forward and lively prose would make any work of history or criticism on any subject a delight.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the lot 5 April 2011
By Grover Smittle - Published on Amazon.com
Quite simply the best comprehensive theatre history text available. In every new edition, Brock reviewed every word on every page, incorporating new research, new theories, and new opinions. He never just "tacked on" a new chapter every couple of years. The good doctor is careful to separate fact from speculation, and often includes alternate interpretations of the historical record.

As other reviewers have noted, this text is best accompanied by Dr. Brockett's lively lectures. Unfortunately, since his death last year this is impossible. I found during my time at UT that Brock was a careful scholar, interesting lecturer, and outstanding mentor.

Buy this book! It puts the others in my theatre history collection (Molinari, et al.) to shame.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent and Thorough Text Under Great Editorship 25 Jan 2000
By Book Addict - Published on Amazon.com
As a former student of Franklin J. Hildy's, and a reader of the Brockett text for several theater courses, I must highly recommend this book to anyone seeking a detailed, yet expansive, overview of the history of the theatrical arts throughout the world. Dr. Hildy's passion for and knowledge of the subject matter is rivaled by none and the complete scope of this project would have daunted many editors less competent to undertake such a task. A great reference text as well as course material. I often find mine useful in day-to-day queries as well as research on period and scenic styles.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Theatre History Textbook 10 Aug 2013
By Kameron Lineback - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I used this book for my first theater history class (origins-1800 theatre) and I was fairly impressed with what I have read in the book, it covers a great deal of actors styles and stagecraft involved in all the history a very detailed book, if you use it for a textbook it is probably the best one out there
5.0 out of 5 stars Only Book in Theatre History 21 Feb 2013
By Matthew - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Chances are if you are reading this you are either a student or just very interested in Theatre History. If you don't know this... THIS IS THE ONLY BOOK IN THEATRE HISTORY TAKEN SERIOUSLY... you can use another book for other ideas, but you aren't serious if use something other than Brockett for your primary text.
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