Revolution in American Drama

Revolution in American Drama

Revolution in American Drama

Revolution in American Drama

Excerpt

Of the numerous books on contemporary American drama few have attempted a panoramic survey of the field that would trace a little of the sweep of history and yet give an abundance of detail. Whatever its permanence, American drama of the past thirty years has proved its worth and significance in our literature. It has done far more than reflect passing fads and frivolities, which are themselves of considerable interest; it has portrayed the manners, voiced the creeds, and unveiled the psyche of a brilliant and erratic age. All this I have tried to record, allowing the playwrights to speak through their plays and critical dicta. I have sought to report objectively on this engrossing spectacle, and I have no personal axe to grind. While I have intended to offer a factual summary rather than a critical appraisal, I yet have not hesitated to give necessary evaluation to the material through selection, emphasis, attitude, and direct comment.

Among the more difficult problems have been those of selection and classification. Of the thousands of productions that have made their bid for favor on Broadway it has been impossible to consider every one. I have tried to include all significant plays, however, and yet to remain catholic in my approach, allowing space to the purely commercial theatre as well as to artistic and serious drama. The problem of classification has been solved by organizing the material under broad and general headings with special comment about plays that might equally well appear in different categories.

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