Bigsby, C. W. E. Joe Orton. London: Methuen, 1982. This brief study contends that Orton developed a style of anarchic farce that was deliberately subversive, not only of the authority figures appearing in his plays but also of language itself and conventionalities of plot and character. Bigsby also relates Orton’s work to developments in postmodern literature and contemporary art. Includes notes, bibliography.
Charney, Maurice. Joe Orton. London: Macmillan, 1984. This introductory overview concisely assesses not only all of Orton’s plays but also his novel Head to Toe and his unproduced screenplay for the Beatles, Up Against It. The final chapter offers a useful definition of “the Ortonesque.” Includes photographs, notes, bibliography.
Lahr, John. Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton. 1978. Reprint. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. This definitive biography of the playwright, based in part on Orton’s diaries, is indispensable to any study of Orton’s work. It is not only a readable, detailed study of his life but also an insightful critical appreciation of the plays. Includes photographs, notes.
Rusinko, Susan. Joe Orton. New York: Twayne, 1995. A basic biography of Orton that covers his life and works. Includes bibliography, index.
Shepherd, Simon. Because We’re Queers: The Life and Crimes of Kenneth Halliwell and Joe Orton. Boston: Alyson, 1989. A biography that covers the lives of Orton and his partner Halliwell. Bibliography.
Zarhy-Levo, Yael. The Theatrical Critic as Cultural Agent: Constructing Pinter, Orton, and Stoppard as Absurdist Playwrights. New York: Peter Lang, 2001. A look at the connection between absurdism and the theatrical works of Orton, Harold Pinter, and Tom Stoppard. Includes bibliography, index.