Equus/Playwrights Peter Shaffer, the British dramatist who authored "Equus" and "Amadeus," died in Ireland. He was ninety years old. Shaffer was well-known for his intricate psychological depictions and love of music. He also won an Oscar for best original screenplay for "Schindler's List."
Equus is a play about a young man's obsession with becoming a horse-riding master during the early 1960s in England. The lead role of Arthur Bryant is often cited as one of the most difficult to play on stage because of its intense emotional quality that some actors are not capable of portraying effectively.
It first opened at London's Royal Court Theatre in July 1973 and ran for more than a hundred performances. It then moved to New York where it played from March 4 to April 6, 1974. The original cast included Richard Griffiths (Arthur Bryant), John Neville (Mr. Charrington), Paul Rhys (Wilbur Smithers), and Denholm Elliott (Dr. Leeming).
Peter Shaffer had wanted to call the play "Horseradish" but the producers decided on "Equus" instead. He came up with the name after reading an article about the evolution of the horse and noticing that horses still use their front feet in a manner similar to humans walking on hands.
"What Exactly Is an Author?" (What exactly is an author?) This is a lecture on literary theory delivered by French philosopher, sociologist, and historian Michel Foucault on February 22, 1969, at the Societe Francaise de Philosophie. Many people see Foucault's talk as a response to Roland Barthes' essay "The Death of the Author." In it, Barthes argues for the death of the author in contemporary literature, claiming that authorship can no longer be assumed.
Foucault was reacting to the rise of new forms of writing that were appearing at the time: poetry published by groups, novels with multiple authors, etc. He argued that behind these developments there was a change in the way writers conceived of themselves, they ceased to be merely journalists or historians and became creators of texts that could have an aesthetic or political impact. This change did not go unnoticed by other writers who began to ask themselves how they could also become creators of texts that could have an influence on their readers.
For Foucault, this question led to the conclusion that what we call "authors" are actually publishers, designers, or programmers of texts that have an effect on others. Thus, he proposed to replace the term "author" with the more inclusive term "editor".
Foucault's idea has been widely accepted among philosophers, critics, and scholars who study literature. It is usually called the "editorial theory of authorship".
The famous Greek playwright Sophocles (c. 496–c. 406 BCE) wrote Antigone, the third play in his Oedipus trilogy. The play, which was composed about 441 BCE and won first prize at the Dionysia festival, was written long before both Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus. However, it is possible that some of its scenes may have been rearranged after its production to include elements from later plays in the trilogy.
Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus are known today as two separate works. They were originally one play with a single plotline that spanned three hours. Only the prologue to Oedipus the King remains, while the ending of the play has been lost. Although much of the dialogue between characters is similar in both plays, some details differ. For example, Creon is mentioned as king in Oedipus the King but not in Oedipus at Colonus. Also, Polybus, the father of Oedipus, is alive and well in Oedipus at Colonus but dead in Oedipus the King.
It is likely that Antigone was written first, since it includes many detailed descriptions of city life in Athens that aren't found in Oedipus the King or Oedipus at Colonus.
Equiano, Olaudah Wheatley's most renowned black literary contemporary, Olaudah Equiano, released his two-volume autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; or, Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself, in 1789. Equiano was a former slave who had been granted his freedom. He used his experience as a slave on a British plantation to write about Africa and its people in a way that would appeal to European readers.
Gustavus Vassa was first published in Swedish in 1771. It was written by Franciscus Junius, an accomplished Dutch writer and scholar who lived in Sweden during the late years of King Gustav III. Junius based his account on materials provided to him by Equiano when they were both prisoners in the Netherlands.
At the time it was written, Gustavus Vassa was the most widely read book published in Sweden. It has been estimated that between seven and eight thousand copies were sold during Junius' lifetime. After Junius' death in 1805, no other publisher in Sweden was interested in continuing the work, so Gustavus Vassa was eventually forgotten until it was rediscovered by academic scholars in the nineteenth century.
In addition to writing the biography, Junius also translated parts of Equiano's narrative into Swedish.