John Arden

Arden, John (ärˈdən) [key], 1930–2012, English playwright and novelist best known for his politically engaged work of the 1950s and 60s, a period during which he was considered one of Britain's major dramatists. In an experimental manner reminiscent of Brecht, Arden's dramas employ songs, poetry, and mime to make sharp, political points. His plays include the antiwar drama and his best-known work, Sergeant Musgrave's Dance (1959), as well as Live like Pigs (1958), The Workhorse Donkey (1963), The Island of the Mighty (1972), The Little Grey Home in the West (1978), and a veiled attack on the British occupation of Northern Ireland, Vandaleur's Folly (1981). A number of his plays were written in collaboration with his wife, Margaretta D'Arcy. He was also the author of several novels, e.g., Silence among the Weapons (1982); a book of essays, To Present the Pretense (1978); and a short-story collection, Gallows and Other Tales of Suspicion and Obsession (2009).

See studies by A. Hunt (1973), F. Gray (1982), M. Page (1984), and J. Wike, ed. (1995).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.