The Primitive and the Sophisticated

Bentley, Eric
July 1956
New Republic;7/30/56, Vol. 135 Issue 5, p22
Entertainment Review
This article discusses literary aspects of theater. Histories of the drama customarily trace a development from what are called primitive beginnings to the great periods of flowering. The origins of comedy also call to mind the highest claims that the drama can make for itself. Yet, though the very origins suggest what the maximum achievement of the drama might be, it remains for history and culture and individual genius to furnish the proof as in the fullness of time comes such a tragedy as the play Hamlet, such a comedy as Le Misanthrope. If the comedies were written in celebration of fertility, the tragedies were written out of a sense of the horror of infertility or, one might say, but lot the present day associations of the word, contraception.


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