THE PUBLIC DEATH OF SHAKESPEARE

SHAKESPEARE'S dead. Producers, actors, audience, and dramatists have all had a hand in it. He has been half kicked to death by bad productions of his plays, and finished finally by having no production at all. There's a sigh of relief heard now that all is over, for he always stood in the way of bad drama, and we are so used to this now, that it is all we want and as much as we need. Actors can go on serenely lisping their nancy numbers, mincing the English language into shrivelled murmurs; managers can safely take a chance with any damned thing that comes their way; dramatists can go on brocading the English Theatre with one triviality after another; and the critics can go on writing their golden scriptures of criticism about bum plays without a single prod of pain assailing their artistic consciences. The public death of Shakespeare is the symbol of the public death of the Theatre, though we have to-day what we never had before, namely, six famous plays written, produced, and scheduled every year as regularly as the import and export records from the Office of Statistics. So, apparently, we have improved on Shakespeare and the other great Elizabethans. Six famous plays in a year! Why, the English dramatists haven't given us six famous plays in a century.

-i-

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The Flying Wasp
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Flying Wasp *
  • Contents v
  • Overture vii
  • The Public Death of Shakespeare i
  • National Theatre Bunkum I 11
  • England, Say When 29
  • The Cutting of an Agate 39
  • Three Cheers for Noah 51
  • Murdher in the Theatre 57
  • Mr. Ervine's Cry for the Critics 69
  • Sainte-Beuve, Patron of Poor Playwriters, Pray for Us! 79
  • It's All Very Curious, Isn't It? 85
  • Poor Pinero Passes By 107
  • Green Goddess of Realism 111
  • Coward Codology: I. 129
  • Coward Codology : II 141
  • Coward Codology: III 153
  • Shakespeare Lives in London Lads 163
  • Critici Infallibilibombast 169
  • Let the Wheel Turn 179
  • Pro-Per Proscenium 183
  • Hail, Columbia! 195
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