An Outline of Contemporary Drama

An Outline of Contemporary Drama

An Outline of Contemporary Drama

An Outline of Contemporary Drama

Excerpt

In the book that is before us two qualities will, without doubt, be remarked. These are the wide extent and inclusiveness of its subject-matter, and the rigorous condensation of its treatment. Perhaps there will be those who will claim that the subject-matter is too broad, that by no stretch of meaning can the term "contemporary" be enlarged to cover the movements of a hundred years. To these objections, which at first view appear to be valid, it can only be answered that if the term "contemporary" has any critical meaning for our time, this meaning must go beyond the mere accidents of date and inhere in those qualities that make the theater of our time a different theater from any that has gone before. If we are to understand the differentiating qualities of the current drama of Europe and America, we must seek for these in the social, intellectual, and art events of the early nineteenth century. Herein lies the best justification for the broad inclusiveness of this book. As to its quality of condensation perhaps few will be found to raise objections. Readers will ask only that whatever its length the book present the facts of contemporary drama fairly in their proper emphasis and relationship.

Any book that seeks to outline the history of an art form works under definite limitations. These limitations should be faced and admitted. They arise from the fact that many of the qualities that give vitality and beauty to a work of imagination are beyond the reach of the his-

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