MR. ERVINE'S CRY FOR THE CRITICS

Musical and literary criticism will before long either
have to give good reasons for their existence or find
themselves ignored by the sensible public.

ERNEST NEWMAN

NOT so long ago in an article written for the Observer, Mr. St John Ervine asked us among other things to believe that critics were honest; that though they cluster like bees on a first night of a play, they do not act in unison (as if we didn't know that already); and, really, that one critic is hardly known to the other (oh, come now, Mr. Ervine). Strangely enough, though the article seems to be concerned with the dramatic critics, their jobs and their virtues in their work, Mr. Ervine floods his article with instances of the critical or personal opinions of many well-known men, some of whom have or have had very little to do with the theatre. To prove that critics are honest and above any influence that friendship may have upon them, he tells us that Edward Garnett in letters to John Galsworthy habitually criticised Galsworthy's work, and that H. G. Wells, Granville-Barker, Gilbert Murray, W. H. Hudson, and Joseph Conrad (all of them creators themselves, equal to, if not greater than Galsworthy himself) did the same. These are fine

-69-

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The Flying Wasp
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Flying Wasp *
  • Contents v
  • Overture vii
  • The Public Death of Shakespeare i
  • National Theatre Bunkum I 11
  • England, Say When 29
  • The Cutting of an Agate 39
  • Three Cheers for Noah 51
  • Murdher in the Theatre 57
  • Mr. Ervine's Cry for the Critics 69
  • Sainte-Beuve, Patron of Poor Playwriters, Pray for Us! 79
  • It's All Very Curious, Isn't It? 85
  • Poor Pinero Passes By 107
  • Green Goddess of Realism 111
  • Coward Codology: I. 129
  • Coward Codology : II 141
  • Coward Codology: III 153
  • Shakespeare Lives in London Lads 163
  • Critici Infallibilibombast 169
  • Let the Wheel Turn 179
  • Pro-Per Proscenium 183
  • Hail, Columbia! 195
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