An Introduction to Stuart Drama

An Introduction to Stuart Drama

An Introduction to Stuart Drama

An Introduction to Stuart Drama

Excerpt

With this volume I complete a trilogy, which began with an Introduction to the Reading of Shakespeare in 1927, and was followed by an Introduction to Tudor Drama in 1933. It is owing to war conditions that this Introduction to Stuart Drama has not appeared till 1945.

I have here attempted to set forth what seem to me to be the most significant aspects of the plays of the chief dramatists whose work falls mainly or entirely between the accession of James I and the Restoration. The labours of scholars on both sides of the Atlantic have in recent years added considerably to our biographical knowledge of many of these dramatists. They have also led to some marked changes in our critical perspective. New light has thus been thrown on the dramatic range of Chapman and Heywood, Marston and Dekker, Webster and Ford, Shirley and Davenant. The stately progress of the Oxford Ben Jonson has brought into truer focus his classical tragedies, masques and last plays. In the so-called Beaumont and Fletcher corpus the respective shares of each of the pair and of Massinger can now be assigned with an approach to accuracy.

The fruits of such research are mostly to be found in collected editions and biographies or scattered through periodicals. I have aimed in this volume at bringing them together and making them accessible to those who are interested in Stuart drama without being professed scholars. With them in view too I have given special attention to the critical analysis both of plots and characterization without which an Introduction is apt to leave its readers at a loss. I hope that I may have been able to communicate something of what I have gained from the study of so many distinctive varieties of technique, and of dialogue in verse or prose, here quoted in modernized spelling. It will be evident that the . . .

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