The Dawning of American Drama: American Dramatic Criticism, 1746-1915

By Jürgen C. Wolter | Go to book overview

have not attempted to establish the identities of the numerous anonymous authors, following Nina Baym's example: "Reviews were almost always anonymous, and since I am interested in a body of critical opinion rather than in indiviual personalities, I have usually left them so."15 While the bibliography gives the titles of articles as they are in the original in the text collection I have replaced uninformative tides such as "The Drama," "The Theatre," and "The Stage with my own, which in many cases use phrases from the article in question. Frequently, I have made the author's on more concise by deletions; in particular, I have deleted plot summaries of plays. My deletions or annotations are indicated by [ . . . ]; if the original text used brackets, I have changed them to parentheses.

The text are arranged in chronological order to illustrate both the continuity of some critical concerns over the centuries (most importantly the questions of morality and the decline of the drama) and the gradual change in attitudes as well as national aspirations. The numbers preceding the texts refer to the bibliography, as do the numbers in brackets in the introduction.

I am grateful to the Ministerium für Wissenchaft und Forschung in Nordrhein-Westfalen for financial support over several years and to the staff of the libraries at the Bergische Universität-Gesamthochschule Wuppertal, at the John F. Kennedy Institut, Berlin, as well as at the Niedersächsische Staats-und Universitaätsbibliothek, Göttingen, for invaluable assistance. I wish to express my gratitude to Alfred Weber for unflagging support and valuable advice and to Ulrich Halfmann for amicable encouragement. I should also like to thank Philip Kolin and Irmgard Wolfe of the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, for providing texts not available in Europe, Angelika Lotz, Michael Windgassen, Thomas Göhler, and Ute Pantenburg for substantial help with both the manuscript and the bibliography, and Ingrid Hinz-Hildebold and Isa Wendler of the Wuppertal University Library, who valiantly wrestled with microforms of varying format and quality, striving to make readable copies.


NOTES
1.
Walter J. Meserve, "The State of Research in American Theatre History," Theatre Survey 22 ( 1981):125-31.
2.
For a list of anthologies, see Walter J. Meserve, American Drama to 1900: A Guide to Information Sources ( Detroit: Gale, 1980), 15-21.
3.
Merrill G. Christophersen, "Early American Dramatic Criticism," Southern Speech Journal 21 ( 1956): 195.
4.
Brenda Murphy, American Realism and American Drama, 1880-1940 ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), x.

-5-

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