SAVE for my reluctance to lengthen what is already "a successive title long and dark," I should have put Ibsen and Strindberg on the title page of this book. It chiefly concerns them.
An introduction to the study of modern drama might well be expected to deal with the dozen or so major figures from Ibsen to Brecht. But to examine in detail the work of so many is manifestly impossible in a book of manageable proportions, and there is certainly no present need to go over this material yet again in summary fashion. I have contented myself, therefore, with concentrating on the plays of the two great Scandinavians, considering that of all those who have had a hand in shaping the drama of the last half-century, these are the least dispensable, and that anyone who understands what concerns their art will have gone a long way toward comprehending the rest. The better part of this book relates, accordingly, to the ways in which Ibsen and Strindberg received and transmitted the traditions which are chiefly influential in the modern theatre.