20th Century French Drama

20th Century French Drama

20th Century French Drama

20th Century French Drama

Excerpt

SECURE AND UNQUESTIONED as Monsieur Prudhomme might have considered his world, its very existence was in jeopardy wherever it implicated art forms that brooked no concessions but to themselves. This confrontation of the "genuine" artist and the less dedicated cannot be isolated according to historical moments. Rather, it is a question of noting here the forces contending at this particular time and examining those which, by the end of the nineteenth century, were to upset the most solid edifices of conventional art. Because he had failed to solve, or even suggest, transcendental riddles, the bourgeois was now to suffer the advent of new values that accepted the riddle as an ultimate destined to supersede his numb and obsolescent oracles. Eventually, the new cult acquired historic tenure as the subconscious, surrealism, dada, non-objectivism, the absurd, etc., but not before the heyday of individual iconoclasts.

The individual experiments were not always sublime, but, collectively, they were of such dimensions as not to leave unchallenged any aspect of the times, including the theater. Here, the spurious surfaces on stage had been credited too long and now provided evident material for the image breakers who not infrequently focused their attention too exclusively upon only the exteriors of a generally superficial art. When . . .

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