Christopher Fry Album

Christopher Fry Album

Christopher Fry Album

Christopher Fry Album

Excerpt

Success is a subject all to itself, with its own special laws of expansion and contraction; and wherever it appears the world is drawn to it, fascinated by the spectacle of fortune in the flesh. This sudden elevation above hum-drum daily life to the region in which fame's demi-gods move may come at a stroke, by modulated stages, or protract its advent until after death. Between the lightning success of Byron--his overnight rocketing into reputation--and the posthumous recognition of Keats there are, of course, a hundred different modes of arrival. But though the climbing to success may often be a process accomplished in secret, a kind of semi-invisible ascent, the moment at which the goal is reached is something about which there can be no doubt. From that time onwards, all takes place in public; the movements and transactions of the elevated figure become clear as the presence of a planet in the sky.

Christopher Fry's success-story is to be located midway between that of Byron and Keats. It was not the success of the infant prodigy, nor that of the young man who sets out to paint the town red in terms of art. There was nothing adolescent or hysterical about it, and the rare high spirits which his plays reveal are those of a virile maturity rather than a college boy's showing-off. Yet like all things which are genuinely new, it caused a furore, a 'down-town' sensation. This neonlighted acclamation may even have prejudiced the cognoscenti--those knowing ones who like to take their time, reflect and hesitate before bestowing their applause--against the works of the poet-playwright. Contrary to the usual run of things, they found that instead of genius being ignored and left to their discovery, the public itself had taken the first step and welcomed Fry with open arms. Their function of election had been usurped, and some of them rather resented it.

But this reception as a free-man into the City of Public Favour was not quite the sudden event it appears. What most of the public and the 'know-alls' did not know was that Fry's plays had been appearing intermittently since 1934 as festival-pieces or respectable successes at 'little theatres,' or as the food of the gods to discriminating amateurs.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.