Chief Contemporary Dramatists: Twenty Plays From the Recent Drama of England, Ireland, America, Germany, France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Russia (Classic Reprint)by Thomas H. Dickinson
This volume contains complete plays by Wilde, Pinero, Jones, Galsworthy, Barker, Yeats, Syoge, Lady Gregory, Fitch, Moody, Thomas. MacKaye, Hauptmann, Sudermami, Brieuz, Hervieu, Biaeterlindc Bjmson,
Excerpt from Chief Contemporary Dramatists: Twenty Plays From the Recent Drama of England, Ireland, America, Germany, France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Russia
This volume contains complete plays by Wilde, Pinero, Jones, Galsworthy, Barker, Yeats, Syoge, Lady Gregory, Fitch, Moody, Thomas. MacKaye, Hauptmann, Sudermami, Brieuz, Hervieu, Biaeterlindc Bjmson, Strindberg, and Tchekhov. It has not been found possible to include plays by Barrie and Shaw, but as, in the opinion of the editor, they cannot be ignored in making a list of the chief contemporary dnunatists, materiab for the study of these writers have been included in the notes.
Hie term Contemporary as used in the title of this volume requires definition. The primazy intention in the issuing of Chief Contemporary Dramatists has been to provide irithin reasonable compass a series of plays which would as nearly as possible represent th abidiDg achievements of the present dramatic era. Naturally there was required, if this representative character was to be secured, a better basis of choice than that provided by the accidental collocation of plays that may have got themselves written within a certain arbitrary period. Diligent study enforces the conviction that there is to be found in the drama of the last generation a unity that is little dependent upon the accidents of time, and finds ezpresnon in the living formula of the play itself. In other words, a dramatic movement of recent times has now so nearly reached a culmination that it provides its own basis for discrimination. Tio Bmovement, roughly speaking, may be said to find its source in the woik of Ibsen, and to be connected with him, either directly through the stress of his particular technique and mteresta, or indirectly through his renovating influence on the theater as a social and 9 ft mstnunent. Tliere is here a unity that transcends that of dates. It remains to apply the principles of this unity to the selection of plays, and to find an acceptable term by which thia unity may be denominated. The term Contemporaiy is chosen to represent the unit underlying this era in the same way that the term Elizabethan is made to do service for the large mass of plays written during the reigns of Elizabeth, James, and Charles. This usage bto-day so well accepted that when one speaks of Elizabethan, he is known to refer not only to the years comprised in the reign of Elizabeth, but to the solid mass of historical connotation that attaches to that name. In the ame way it is thought that the term Contemporary may serve as a convenient handle to denominate an era, not yet complete, though in all probability nearing maturity, in which there may be found all the signs of an inherent solidity. In the choice of plays there is a positive advantage in laying dq)endence upon the salient characteristics of a clearly defined movement rather than !qon the chances of the output of a certain period. The characteristics by which the era of Ibsen is identified are mainly two: its adherence to the naturalistic tendency mellowed to the motives of the humanities; and, on the side of production and organization, a tendency toward the reorganization of the theater to a nearer alignment to the social terms of the age. These provide bases of inclusion and exclusion which make it possible to overlook many of the dilemmas of date. How serious these dilemmas are is seen in the fact that there are still being written excellent plays which belong to the time of Scribe; on the other hand, that there were written a generation ago plays which for subject-matter and technique attach themselves to the oresent period.
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