The Flower and the Castle: An Introduction to Modern Drama

By Maurice Valency | Go to book overview
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Introduction

A GREAT deal has happened in the theatre since the turn of the century. The idioms of the stage have changed perceptibly. The texture of drama has loosened. Its forms have developed. Its subject matter has been several times renewed. New currents are felt; new departures announced. Yet essentially nothing has altered. The drama of our time is, on the whole, the drama of Ibsen and Strindberg.

The reason is clear. The cultural transition out of which these dramatists developed is still in progress. In their plays we see clearly reflected the tensions between the old world and the new. These are also the tensions of our time. From a cultural viewpoint, the First World War appears to have changed nothing, and the period that succeeded it has not yet acquired a distinct profile. Three trends shaped the art of Ibsen and Strindberg--naturalism, impressionism, symbolism. These currents are still dynamically effective. To them and to their consequences--among which must be numbered the expressionistic tendency of Strindberg's later

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