Autumn 1944 • Vol. VI No. 4 NonfictionOctober 1, 1944 |

The Theatres of Wagner and Ibsen

But there can be no doubt that Wagner, and Ibsen too, will one day come into their own again, even though for quite different reasons and out of quite different spiritual presuppositions. The few genuine geniuses of the theatre which mankind has known are not to be destroyed. —Egon Friedell, some twenty years ago. Drama as a high art has appeared only sporadically. Music, for example, has had in the modern world a much more distinguished and continuous history. So have some literary forms such as the novel and even lyric verse. But the theatre is a stepchild. Look through any good critical journal and you will find stringent, zealous, and expert criticism of all the arts with the single exception of drama, for there is at present no significant theatre, and even the better dramatists of yesterday—Strindberg, Chekhov, and Synge—are to a large extent forgotten, while their contemporaries in the novel and poetry—James, Proust, the Symbolists—maintain and even enhance

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