Reviews of Books



Analytic Philosophy and the World of the Play (2017)

“Bennett’s book combines depth with theoretical sophistication… the work confidently animates a template of analytic philosophy on drama with engaging examples and thoughtful application… The book is ultimately an invigorating and probative examination of theatre and philosophy.” David Krasner, Theatre Journal


Philosophy and Oscar Wilde (2017)

“Philosophy and Oscar Wilde takes as its provocation the recent and immanent publication of Wildean notebooks on the subject of philosophy. This collection, edited by Michael Y. Bennett, constitutes a valuable addition to our knowledge of Wilde’s influences and the development of his thought over time.” Andrea Henderson, SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900


The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre and Literature of the Absurd (2015)

“In his latest book Michael Bennett sets out to provide a scholarly but reader-friendly appraisal of the literary and dramatic manifestations of the absurd. … this book manages to be both an accessible introduction to readers unfamiliar with the absurd and a thought-provoking addition to absurd criticism.” Pedro Querido, The Modern Language Review


Oscar Wilde’s Society Plays (2015)

Oscar Wilde’s Society Plays is a timely intervention into Wilde studies, fulfilling the need for a series of essays which engage creatively with the text and context of Wilde’s society plays… In moving beyond an emphasis on Wilde’s sparkling wit to a fuller appreciation of the story behind each play, Bennett and the contributing authors have delivered a convincing case for, in the editor’s words, ‘the importance of being serious (while laughing).'” Sophie Stringfellow, Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film


Words, Space, and the Audience (2012)

“Through thoughtfully researched and engagingly argued case-studies, Bennett accomplishes two overlapping aims: to offer new readings of these canonical works and, more significantly, to develop a heuristic for considering the key question from reception theory [i.e., ‘how does meaning get made in the theatre?’] as it relates to modern dramatic texts . . . In all, these chapters were an exemplum of new historicism in the ways they discussed the interplay and interdependence of philosophy, history, politics, and drama . . . The reason that Bennett’s argument proves so effective is that he carefully traces the tensions between empiricism and rationalism . . . Because of this, Bennett’s argument has far-reaching implications for considering other dramatic texts and for theatrical performance . . . Words, Space, and the Audience is a welcome addition to the field of reception theory.” J. Chris Westgate, Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry


Eugene O’Neill’s One-Act Plays (2012)

Eugene O’Neill’s One-Act Plays: New Critical Perspectives is an important addition to O’Neill studies, and one that is likely to contribute… to the playwright’s ‘second birth.’” Chloé Lucidarme, The Eugene O’Neill Review


Oscar Wilde’s Salome (2011)

“The fifteen essays, from established and emergent scholars, range over a cornicopia of subjects… Far from confusing, this scholarly eclecticism produces some fruitful and exciting juxtapositions… The range of essays in this volume serves to locate the play in its original intellectual, aesthetic and theatrical context, and to suggest the complex possibilities of twentieth and twenty-first century readings and performances of the text without imposing an erroneously singular or homogeneous overview on this elusive play.” Viv Gardner, New Theatre Quarterly


Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd (2011)

“Michael Y. Bennett’s new book, Reassessing the Theatre of the Absurd, is an ambitious text fifty years in the making… [it] is a terrific first book. Bennett’s bravery in challenging the theoretical canon is a great example to follow.”  Gina Masucci MacKenzie, Journal of Modern Literature

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