Winter 1949 • Vol. XI No. 1 Book Reviews |

The Tragedy of Passion

The Classical Moment: Studies of Corneille, Molière and Racine by Martin Turnell. New Directions. $4.50. Mr. Turnell's book is evidently written out of a long and loving acquaintance with French literature, especially the authors whom he here studies. For this reason it should prove very useful to readers of English who wish to approach the French dramatists of the 17th Century: Mr. Turnell offers, with great clarity and candor, the perspectives which he has himself found valid. Many of these need to be emphasized, and much that they reveal is "there"; but I have my reservations about the final picture of the French Neoclassic Theatre which emerges. In general, it seems to me to assimilate this theatre too closely to modern psychology and modern realism, and to fail to bring out sufficiently the strictness of its conventions, whereby both its limitations and its artistic perfection may be understood. Mr. Turnell is prefectly well aware of this French conventionality, and in

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