There was a problem sending you an sms. Check your phone number or try again later.
To get Scribd mobile enter your number and we'll send you a link to the Scribd app for iPhone & Android.
We've sent a link to the Scribd app. If you didn't receive it, try again.
This book is, to all intents and purposes, entirely new. No considerable portion of it has already appeared,
although here and there short passages and phrases from articles of bygone years are
embedded--indistinguishably, I hope--in the text. I have tried, wherever it was possible, to select my examples
from published plays, which the student may read for himself, and so check my observations. One reason,
among others, which led me to go to Shakespeare and Ibsen for so many of my illustrations, was that they are
the most generally accessible of playwrights.
If the reader should feel that I have been over lavish in the use of footnotes, I have two excuses to allege. The
first is that more than half of the following chapters were written on shipboard and in places where I had
scarcely any books to refer to; so that a great deal had to be left to subsequent enquiry and revision. The
second is that several of my friends, dramatists and others, have been kind enough to read my manuscript, and
to suggest valuable afterthoughts.
Guide Philosopher and Friend
CHAPTER III DRAMATIC AND UNDRAMATIC CHAPTER IV THE ROUTINE OF COMPOSITION CHAPTER V DRAMATIS PERSONAE
CHAPTER VI THE POINT OF ATTACK: SHAKESPEARE AND IBSEN
CHAPTER VII EXPOSITION: ITS END AND ITS MEANS
CHAPTER VIII THE FIRST ACT
There are no rules for writing a play. It is easy, indeed, to lay down negative recommendations--to instruct the beginner hownot to do it. But most of these "don'ts" are rather obvious; and those which are not obvious are apt to be questionable. It is certain, for instance, that if you want your play to be acted, anywhere else than in China, you must not plan it in sixteen acts of an hour apiece; but where is the tyro who needs a text-book to tell him that? On the other hand, most theorists of to-day would make it an axiom that you must not let your characters narrate their circumstances, or expound their motives, in speeches addressed, either directly to the audience, or ostensibly to their solitary selves. But when we remember that, of all dramatic openings, there is none finer than that which shows Richard Plantagenet limping down the empty stage to say--
"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
Now bringing you back...
Please enter your email address below to reset your password. We will send you an email with instructions on how to continue.
Does that email address look wrong? Try again with a different email.