Specimens of English Dramatic Criticism, XVII-XX Centuries

By A. C. Ward | Go to book overview

KEAN AS RICHARD THE THIRD

THERE is a feeling for which but little credit is allowed to critics, and which it may be thought great affectation for us to profess: we shall however venture to express it in spite of the incredulity of prejudice. We know then no greater pleasure than to hail the triumph of genius, and to watch over the progress of a growing fame. A mind of common generosity feels itself humiliated, when it is forced to crush unopposing weakness; to do execution even on resolute and stout offenders, though just, is after all but dirty work; but to be able to bestow rewards on exalted merit, seems for the time not only to place us on a level with the subject of our praise, but even to elevate us above our ordinary nature. We must not however attempt to explain the feeling too nicely, lest it should appear rather selfish than benevolent; but be it selfishness or be it kindness, it was never excited so strongly in our breast as by the display of the talents of Mr. Kean.

In our criticism on his Shylock, we promised to retract our praise, if we saw any reason:--something we do wish to alter in that paper, but not the praise. We said that his voice was disagreeable and his figure insignificant. We did not then know that he was labouring under a severe cold, and the tasteless gaberdine of the old Jew concealed that person which was expanded by the heroism of Richard: here his soul seemed to enlarge and o'er-inform its tenement, which, under its inspiring influence, became at once impressive and picturesque. Then his fine and somewhat Italian countenance, all intellect and

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Specimens of English Dramatic Criticism, XVII-XX Centuries
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • London Theatres in the 1660s 21
  • Betterton's Benefit 44
  • Thomas Betterton 46
  • Garrick's First Performance in London 60
  • Mr. Partridge Sees Garrick 63
  • 'the Beggar's Opera': 18th Century 69
  • Mrs. Siddons 84
  • Others--And Mrs. Siddons 89
  • 'the Beggar's Opera': 19th Century 93
  • Kean as Richard the Third 96
  • On Actors and Acting 101
  • On the Artificial Comedy of The Last Century 112
  • Phelps at Sadler's Wells 123
  • At the Pantomime 130
  • 'Caste' 132
  • On Natural Acting 142
  • Ellen Terry 154
  • Ellen Terry 159
  • Irving in Shakespeare 162
  • 'Ghosts' 182
  • 'Arms and the Man' 190
  • 'trilby' 198
  • Donkey Races 203
  • Forbes Robertson's Hamlet 208
  • 'trelawny of the "Wells"' 218
  • F. R. Benson's Richard II 222
  • Dan Leno 231
  • The Wild Duck' 237
  • 'the Playboy of the Western World'1 248
  • P. D. Kenny 254
  • Granville Barker's Production Of 'twelfth Night' 260
  • 'the Pretenders' 264
  • 'A Bill of Divorcement' 282
  • The Search for the Masterpiece 290
  • 'Peer Gynt' at the Old Vic 294
  • Marie Lloyd 297
  • 'the Way of the World' 302
  • 'Hamlet' in Modern Dress 307
  • A Creator 312
  • Biblical 'tobias and the Angel' 316
  • 'twelfth Night' at the Old Vic 321
  • 'Murder in the Cathedral' 326
  • 'As You like It' at the Old Vic 329
  • Editor's Note 331
  • Descriptive Index 333
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