English Drama of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century (1642-1780)

English Drama of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century (1642-1780)

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English Drama of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century (1642-1780)

English Drama of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century (1642-1780)

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Excerpt

Despite the activity of research in the general field of English drama, and the marked growth of critical interest in its contemporary aspects, little heed has yet been given to certain earlier periods of modern English drama which help to explain its later development. For the most part, students of English dramatic history have preferred even the by-paths and meanders of Elizabethan drama to the maintravelled roads that lead onward from the eighteenth century. In one of the bibliographical notes in his admirable volume entitled Tragedy, ProfessorA. H. Thorndike puts the case tersely: 'Ward's History of Dramatic Literature ends with the death of Queen Anne; and there is no adequate history of the English drama for the last two centuries, and no good bibliography.' So vigorously, indeed, have almost all the fields of English literature been cultivated, that it is doubtful whether there now remains any other equally neglected area comparable in breadth with that clearly suggested by Professor Thorndike. His own concluding chapters, though confined to tragedy, form, in fact, one of the few significant contributions toward the broader critical investigation which must review the whole course of modern English dramatic development.

The present volume owes its origin to a plan, formulated some dozen years ago, to continue, though . . .

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