Timberlake Wertenbaker is one of the most linguistically adept, thematically provocative, and biographically elusive playwrights of the contemporary Anglo-American theatre scene. Critical assessment of her plays and translations focuses on Wertenbaker’s great skill with language and deft interaction with historical, mythical, and literary sources, as well as on her thematic concern with the ability of art to transform life, the role of speech and silence in liberation and oppression, and the fluidity of sex and gender roles.

Wertenbaker’s body of work abounds with self-invented female characters that transcend strictures of class, gender, and nationality. Because of this, her plays consistently speak to the desire (as their titles indicate) to “break through”, find a “new

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Citation: Freeman, Sara. "Timberlake Wertenbaker". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 August 2004; last revised 10 April 2006. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5520, accessed 11 December 2023.]

5520 Timberlake Wertenbaker 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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