II
THE PLAYS

IN WILLIAMS' POETRY THE DRAMATIC ELEMENT SO NOTICEable in the poems of Eliot, for example, is almost entirely suppressed. But the tendency to suppress is gradual and derives, I think, from Williams' slowly developing awareness of what is proper to the various media which interest him. Proper, that is to say, not to any codified distinction between dramatic verse for the stage or lyric verse to be read but, more organically, proper to his intentions. We have noticed the Browning influence in the implied dramatic structure of some early poems. Moreover, Williams' earliest literary impulses moved ambivalently between play-writing and poetry. While the poet appeared to conquer the playwright, Williams' need to objectify relationship (a primary source of drama) reasserted itself on and off with increasing intensity.

Williams' juvenilia in the drama are instructive. Like all beginnings, they tell much about his preoccupations and his shortcomings. In a rough way they are prophetic

-146-

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William Carlos Williams
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Makers of Modern Literature Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Legend vi
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • I - The Poems 1
  • II - The Plays 146
  • III The Novels and Short Stories 187
  • IV - Prose Other Than Fiction 247
  • Bibliography 267
  • Index 274
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