Preface to Drama: An Introduction to Dramatic Literature and Theater Art

By Charles W. Cooper | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

THIS TEXTBOOK for undergraduates is a systematic introduction to DRAMATIC Literature within a theatrical context and to Theater Art within a literary context.

It comprises two parts. "Part One: the Preface" consists of five essays on dramatic theory, to which are added five shorter plays as examples, with introductory notes and commentary. The point of view of the essays is psychological, and the drama is observed in its relation to common elements in human behavior. Consideration of it is controlled by the discriminating use of certain lieterary and theatrical terms. Thoughtful analysis of the content of a play enforces close interpretation of the lines and the patterning of the complex dramatic experience. This, in turn, calls for recognition of the theatrical potential of the playscript and for unusually creative reading. Once fully realized, the play then invites discussion in historical perspective and critical consideration of its form and ideas.

"Part Two: the Plays" is an anthology of eight longer dramas, preceded by introductory notes and followed by pairs of selections from dramatic criticism. The plays in Preface to Drama, counting the short ones in Part One, make up a baker's dozen, representative of our Western Civilization. Here are exemplified the short play, the medium, and the long--comedy, tragedy, and other types--classical, romantic, and realistic--ancient, more modern, and contemporary--European, British, and American. A handful of the great historic dramatists are here: Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Molière. So, too, are the several fathers of modern drama: Ibsen, Shaw, and O'Neill. And here, as well, are significant recent dramatists: Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. Modern literary playwrights, Laurence Housman and Thornton Wilder, rub elbows with theatrical actor-dramatists, Noel Coward and Howard Lindsay. Even the librettist, W.S. Gilbert, has his niche. But the plays selected for inclusion are not merely representative; they have proved to be evocative of student interest and of class discussion, whether for their eduring values or for their immediate relevancy.

-iii-

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Preface to Drama: An Introduction to Dramatic Literature and Theater Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Contents v
  • Part One - The Preface 1
  • I - Preliminary 3
  • II - The Playscript 25
  • Scene I 44
  • Scene II 52
  • III - The Stageplay 64
  • IV - The Play 93
  • V - The Drama 124
  • H.M.S. Pinafore or the Lass That Loved a Sailor 145
  • Part Two - The Plays 181
  • I - Antigone 185
  • Scene I 192
  • Scene II 197
  • Scene IV 202
  • Scene V 206
  • II - Othello 221
  • Act One 224
  • Scene III - The Council Chamber. 229
  • Act Two 232
  • Scene II - A Street. 242
  • Act Three 251
  • Scene II - A Room in the Citadel. 261
  • Scene IV - Before the Citadel. 263
  • Act Four 276
  • Scene II - A Room in the Citadel. 282
  • Scene III - State Bedroom in the Citadel. 290
  • Act Five 297
  • III - The Ridiculous PrÆCieuses 320
  • Scene I - La Grange, Du Croisy 323
  • Scene IV - Madelon, Cathos, Gorgibus. 324
  • Scene V - Cathos, Madelon. 325
  • Scene VII - Mascarille, Two Chairmen. 327
  • Scene VIII - Marotte, Mascarillie. 328
  • Scene X - Cathos, Madelon, Mascarille, Marotte. 330
  • Scene XI - Cathos, Madelon, Jodelet, Mascarille, Marotte, Almanzor. 334
  • Scene XII - Lucile, CÉLimÈne, Cathos, Madelon, Mascarille, Jodelet, Marotte, Almanzor, and Fiddlers. 335
  • Scene XIII - Du Croisy, la Grange, Cathos, Madelon, Lucile, CÉLimÈne, Jodelet, Mascarille, Marotte, and Fiddlers. 337
  • Scene XVI - Madelon, Cathos, Jodelet, Mascarille, and Fiddlers. 338
  • Scene. XVIII - Gorgibus, Madelon, Cathos, and Fiddlers. 339
  • IV - Hedda Gabler 344
  • Act Two 347
  • Act Three 370
  • Act Four 390
  • V - Candida 420
  • Act I 423
  • Act II 445
  • VI: Life with Father - A Period Comedy by Lindsay and Crouse 482
  • Act One 485
  • Scene II 503
  • Scene II 517
  • Act Three 548
  • VII - The Glass Menagerie 569
  • Scene 1 572
  • Scene 2 578
  • Scene 3 583
  • Scene 5 587
  • Scene 6 594
  • Scene 7 601
  • VIII - The Crucible 636
  • Act One - (An Overture) 639
  • Act Two 663
  • Act Four 683
  • Appendix 731
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