On Stage: A History of Theatre

By Vera Mowry Roberts | Go to book overview

14
EUROPEAN ROMANTICISM

We have been maintaining throughout that theatre is one of the most social of the arts, and must therefore be seen against the background of the times which produce it. Nineteenth-century Europe formed a somber setting, for almost the whole period was marked by violent political unrest. From the French Revolution in 1789 to the Franco- Prussian War in 1870, the whole continent was in turmoil. France, with violent paroxysms, saw the establishment of two empires, a monarchy with three successive kings, and three republics. Italy, in 1861, after many internal and external struggles, established a unified kingdom from the many city-states and principalities which had heretofore divided the peninsula. Germany, after violent internecine struggles, achieved unification ten years later. Even Spain had its first republic for a brief period of five years in the seventies, and Norway won separation from Denmark early in the century. Russia, where a kind of feudal organization endured longer than anywhere else in Europe, would wait for the new century to undergo its violent revolution.

By and large, the changing political map of Europe reflected the continuing realignment not only of governments but also of social classes. The rejection of the aristocracy and the emergence of the middle classes, begun quietly and slowly many years before as the mercantile bourgeoisie gained in power, erupted violently in the French Revolution, and proceeded with increased pace during the

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On Stage: A History of Theatre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - The Ever-Present Beginnings 1
  • 2 - Drama in Ancient Egypt 15
  • 3 - The Golden Age of Greece 21
  • 4 - Imitations and Innovations of the Romans 55
  • 5 - Theatre in the Middle Ages 78
  • 6 - Renaissance Theatre in Italy, France, and Germany 106
  • 7 - Shakespeare and the Elizabethans 134
  • 8 - Spanish Theatre in the Renaissance 172
  • 9 - The Golden Days in France 197
  • 10 - The Restoration in England 228
  • 11 - Developments in England and America 251
  • 12 - Cross-Currents in Continental Theatre 286
  • 13 - Oriental Theatre 320
  • 14 - European Romanticism 347
  • 15 - Commercial Theatre in England and America 378
  • 16 - Theatre's Great Revolution 409
  • 17 - Theatre Today 440
  • 18 - Summing Up 489
  • Glossary of Terms 506
  • Bibliography 509
  • Index 519
  • Index 527
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