NINETEENTH CENTURY DRAMA
IN the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the outstanding movement in the dramatic field was that of romanticism as against the classicism of most earlier European drama. In France, the nineteenth century added the names of Victor Hugo, Eugene Scribe, Emile Augier, Alexander Dumas the younger, and Victorien Sardou.

En England a literary or "closet" drama, entirely unsuited to stage production, sprang up. It listed in its annals such names as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Swinburne, Browning, and Tennyson. It was not until the latter part of the century that the English stage again showed signs of life with the advent of Henry Arthur Jones, Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, and Oscar Wilde.

The latter part of this century, too, saw the beginning of the independent theater movement that was to be the forerunner of the "Little Theater" movement that in the twentieth century spread far and wide. It was in such theaters as these . . . the Theatre Libre of Paris, Die Freie Buhne of Berlin, the Independent Theater of London and Miss Horniman's Theater in Manchester, that Ibsen, Strindberg, Bjornson, Yeats, Shaw, Hauptmann and Synge were first given a hearing.

During the latter part of the century in Germany there appeared two dramatists who would go on to win international fame: Hauptmann and Sudermann. A Viennese physician, Arthur Schnitzler, became widely known outside his native Austria through his light and amusing Anatol.

In France, Brieux became the herald of a realistic, not to say clinical, drama. Belgium produced Maeterlinck. But the most notable event of the late nineteenth century was probably the production in Paris of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac.

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It is, after that, something of an anti-climax to record that in Italy Giacosa was writing his best known play, As the Leaves, and composing the librettos for the operas, La Boheme, Tosca, and Madame Butterfly; or that Verga wrote In the Porter's Lodge, The Fox Hunt, and Cavalleria Rusticana, which again is better known through Muscagni's opera; or even that the best known of the nineteenth century Italian dramatists, Gabriel d'Annunzio, was making his somewhat contradictory contributions to the dramatic art. Of the Italians who began their work in the late nineteenth century, two deserve mention, Luigi Pirandello and Sem Benelli whose Supper of Jokes is known on the English and American stage as The Jest. Benelli's Love of the Three Kings is best known outside Italy in its operatic form.

In Spain Jose Echegaray, author of The World and His Wife; Jose Benavente, whose Passion Flower and Bonds of Interest were offered on the American stage; and the brothers Sierra whose Cradle Song achieved international fame, are a connecting link between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as are Shaw, Galsworthy, and Barrie in England and Lady Augusta Gregory and W.B. Yeats in Ireland.






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