The Jacobean Drama: An Interpretation

The Jacobean Drama: An Interpretation

The Jacobean Drama: An Interpretation

The Jacobean Drama: An Interpretation

Excerpt

This book is an attempt to interpret some aspects of the major Jacobean drama.

The time has passed, as a recent critic has said, for estimates of the Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists, and it would be equally unnecessary, perhaps even illadvised, to attempt surveys of either of those periods of dramatic history. The individual studies of the nineteenth-century critics culminated in Swinburne's and have led on, in our own day, to those of Rupert Brooke, Herford and Simpson, Lucas, Eliot and others; the surveys, begun in the same century by Ward and Symonds, have been carried forward in the twentieth century by Schelling, Tucker Brooke, Boas, Reed, the authors of the Cambridge History of English Literature (vols. V and VI) and others working on specialized aspects of dramatic history. In the twentieth century a scientific foundation for historical and critical writing has been laid by the biographical and bibliographical researches of such scholars as Greg and Pollard, followed more recently by Alexander, Eccles, Hotson, Sisson and Wilson. All this being so, it is with some degree of hesitation that a modern reader adds a comment.

All that is attempted in the present book is a consideration of the outstanding work of less than a dozen playwrights, chiefly in regard to certain dominant lines of thought and habits of dramatic technique, which are indicated in the first two chapters. The individual studies which follow suggest, in more detail, how each of the playwrights stood in relation to these prevailing characteristics and attempt to give at the same time, for the reader who is not familiar with it, some indication . . .

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