Epoch: The Life of Steele Mackaye, Genius of the Theater, in Relation to His Times & Contemporaries

Epoch: The Life of Steele Mackaye, Genius of the Theater, in Relation to His Times & Contemporaries

Epoch: The Life of Steele Mackaye, Genius of the Theater, in Relation to His Times & Contemporaries

Epoch: The Life of Steele Mackaye, Genius of the Theater, in Relation to His Times & Contemporaries

Excerpt

"We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough," wrote Steele MacKaye in one of the note-books of his youth.

In charting this memoir, I have taken a far look across a fascinating landscape, amid which his life-trail emerges out of mystery, glitters radiant and blends again with mystery. To-day is a tiny hollow of that landscape, wherein a lifetime is a little crinkling valley of the illimitable horizons whose majestic contours are etched with mergings of generations, like coalescent shadows of clouds on autumnal mountains.

Such horizons impress their own restorative serenity on their beholder. Looking upon these "we are never tired"; closing our eyes we are sustained inwardly by their larger images, in returning to the lesser grooves of circumstance where needfully our lives are passed. For it is a wholesome economy of natural vision, that the petty can never attain to perspective; as it is a noble paradox of spiritual survival that the only reality which outlasts its date is ephemeral beauty.

This work I have named "Epoch" because, in seeking to reveal some causes and radiating influences of a fecund life-force, it has necessarily had to deal with more than the life-span of an individual. In so doing, it touches upon records of over a hundred years and focuses on about three decades. Through the warp and woof of these years run threads of a biologic theme, which partly hints and reveals its subconscious designs in the Prologue and Epilogue. Between these, the memoir-proper traces the life of a genius from birth to death, through actual records related to the lives and ideals of his contemporaries, amongst whom are many of the outstanding figures of his time.

With respect to such records Epoch is concerned with humanistic material of the past. In that sense it is history, and presents its own varied contribution to the knowledge and interpretation of our cultural background, theatrical and non-theatrical. In as much, however, as these records reflect the life story of an artist-

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