This is a study of one of theatre's quietest but most radical innovators. The playwright, poet, and essayist Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) has been called the prodigal father of the Theatre of the Absurd. Admired by writers as diverse as Mallarme and Yeats, Artaud and Strindberg, Chekhov and
Jarry, Maeterlinck was the most celebrated avant-garde playwright of his day. By 1900 he had given theatre a new set of bearings: 'static theatre', 'the theatre of the unexpressed', and 'the tragic of the everyday'. He had, according to Rilke, relocated theatre's centre of gravity, replacing action
with inaction, events with the eventless, and dialogue with a semantics of silence as expressive as any of Symbolism's most sophisticated poetic constructions.
The author of the supreme Symbolist play, Pelleas and Melisande, and of haunting, minimalist dramas of waiting (L'Intruse, Les Aveugles, Interieur), Maeterlinck laid the foundations for the most revolutionary theatre of the twentieth century. Opening with a chapter on Maeterlinck's Symbolist and
decadent beginnings, and proceeding by way of comparative readings of Maeterlinck and contemporary Symbolist dramatic theory (with particular attention to Mallarme), Maurice Maeterlinck and the Making of Modern Theatre provides close readings of the one-act plays, and his seminal theories of static
theatre and the theatre of waiting.