Representative Plays

Representative Plays

Representative Plays

Representative Plays

Excerpt

"L'art pour l'art," ("art for art's sake"), -- three utterly meaningless words Dumas fils declared them half a century ago, when he was fighting in play, feuilleton and preface for the ideas of love, marriage and divorce which his plays presented and defended.

Not "art for art's sake," not "man for art's sake," but "art for man's sake" he insisted should be the slogan for any thoughtful dramatist closely observing his time and seeking painstakingly to depict some of his problems. Differ from Dumas fils as Mr. Galsworthy undoubtedly does in subjects and artistic methods, nevertheless it is "art for man's sake" which is the essence of his work. He has himself said that "he is not conscious of any desire to solve problems in his plays, or to effect direct reforms. His only ambition in drama is to present truth as he sees it and, gripping with it his readers or his audience, to produce in them a sort of mental ferment whereby vision may be enlarged, imagination livened, and understanding promoted." Clearly Mr. Galsworthy believes what many a coworker in the drama has come to believe in the past twenty years, that the province of the dramatist is not to preach definite reforms, but to arrest attention and stimulate thinking on the conditions depicted.

Born at Coombe, Surrey, in 1867, passing his childhood in a cultivated home, educated at Oxford, taking at New College an Honor degree in Law, he would seem destined . . .

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