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CONTENTS.

LECTURE I.

Introduction. Spirit of true criticism. Difference of taste between the ancients

and moderns. Classical and romantic poetry and art. Division of dramatic

literature: the ancients, their imitators, and the romantic poets. Definition of

the drama. View of the theatres of all nations.

1

LECTURE II.

Theatrical effect. Importance of the stage. Principal species of the drama. •

Essence of tragedy and comedy. Seriousness and mirth. How far it is possi-

ble to become acquainted with the ancients without knowing the original lan.

guages. Winklemann.

18

LECTURE III.

Structure of the stage among the Greeks. Their acting. Use of Masks. False

comparison of ancient tragedy to the opera. Tragical lyric poetry. Essence

of the Greek tragedies. Ideality of the representation. Idea of fate. Source

of the pleasure derived from tragical representations. Import of the chorus.

• The materials of the Greek tragedy derived from mythology. Comparison

of the plastic arts.

30

LECTURE IV.

Progress of the tragic art among the Greeks. Their different styles. Æschylus.

Connexion in a trilogy of Æschylus. His remaining works. Life and poetical

character of Sophocles. Character of his different tragedies.

51

LECTURE V.

Euripides. His merits and defects. Decline of tragic poetry through him.

Comparison between the Choephoræ of Æschylus, the Electra of Sophocles,

and that of Euripides. Character of the remaining works of the latter. The

satirical drama. Alexandrine tragic poets.

78

LECTURE VI.

The old comedy proved to be completely a contrast to tragedy. "Parody. (Ide-

ality of comedy the reverse of that of tragedy.) Mirthful caprice. Allegoric

and political signification. The chorus and its parabases. Aristophanes. His

character as an artist. Description and character of his remaining works.

scene translated from the Acharnæ by way of Appendix.

106

LECTURE VII.

Whether the middle comedy was a distinct species. Origin of the new comedy.

A mixed species. Its prosaic character. Whether versification is essential to

comedy. Subordinate kinds. : Pieces of character and of intrigue. The comic

of observation, of self-consciousness, and arbitrary comic. Morality of come-

dy. Plautus and Terence as imitators of the Greeks here cited and character-

ized for want of the originals. Moral and social aim of the Attic comedy.

Statues of two comic authors.

131

LECTURE VIII.

Roman theatre. Native kinds : Attellanic Fables, Mimi, Comedia Togata.

Greek tragedy transplanted to Rome. Tragic authors of a former epoch, and

of the Augustan age.

Idea of a national Roman tragedy. Causes of the want

of success of the Romans in tragedy. Seneca. The Italians. Pastoral dra-

mas of Tasso and Guarino. Small progress in tragedy. Metastasio and Alfi-

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masks. Goldoni. Gozzi. Latest state.

153

LECTURE IX.

Antiquities of the French stage. Influence of Aristotle and the imitation of the

ancients. Investigation of the three unities. What is unity of action ? Unity

of time. Was it observed by the Greeks? Unity of place as connected with

it. Mischief resulung from too narrow rules on the subject.

. 179

LECTURE X.

The same subject continued. Influence of these rules on French tragedy. Man-

ner of treating mythological and historical materials. Jdea of tragical dignity.

Observations of conventional rules. False system of expositions. Use at first

made of the Spanish theatre. General character of Corneille, Racine, and

Voltaire. Review of their most important works. Thomas Corneille, and Cre-

billon. French tragic theatre.

199

LECTURE XI.

French comedy. Moliere. Criticism of his works. Scarron, Boursault, Reg.

nard ; Comedies in the time of the Regency; Marivaux and Destouches; Piron

and Gresset. Later attempts. The heroic opera : Quinault. Operettes and

Vaudevilles. Diderot's attempted change of the theatre. The weeping drama.

Beaumarchais. Melo-dramas. Merits and defects of the histrionic art. 241

LECTURE XII.

Comparison of the English and Spanish theatres. Spirit of the romantic drama.

Shakspeare. His age and the circumstances of his life. How far costume is

necessary, or may be dispensed with, Shakspeare the greatest drawer of cha-

racters. Vindication of the genuineness of his pathos. Play ou words. Mo-

ral delicacy. Irony. Mixture of the tragic and comic. The part of the Fool

or Clown. Shakspeare's language and versification. Account of his several

works : comedies, tragedies, and historical dramas. Appendix on the pieces

of Shakspeare said to be spurious.

271

LECTURE XIII,

'Two periods of the English theatre; the first the most important. The first con-

formation of the stage, and its advantages. State of the histrionic art in Shak-

speare's time. Antiquities of dramatic literature. Lilly, Marlow, Heywood.

Ben Jonson. Criticism of his works. Masks. Beaumont and Fletcher. Ge-

neral characterization of these poets, and remarks on some of their pieces.

Massinger and other contemporaries of Charles the First. Closing of the stage

by the Puritans. Revival of the stage under Charles the Second. Depravily

of taste and morals. Dryden, Otway, and others. Characterization of the

comic poets from Wycherly and Congreve to the middle of the eighteenth ceo-

tury. Tragedies of the same period. Rowe. Addison's Cato. Later pieces.

Familiar tragedy: Lillo. Garrick. Latest state.

368

LECTURE XIV.

Spanish Theatre. Its three periods ; Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Calderon. Spi-

rit of the Spanish poets in general. Influence of the national history on it.

Form, and various species of the Spanish drama. Decline since the beginning

of the eighteenth century.

405

LECTURE XV.

Origin of the German theatre. Hans Sachs. Gryphius. The age of Gottsched.

Wretched imitation of the French. Lessing, Goethe, and Schiller. Review

of their works. Their influence on chivalrous dramas, affecting dramas, and

family pictures. Prospect for futurity.

421

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LECTURES

ON

DRAMATIC LITERATURE.

LECTURE I.

Introduction-Spirit of true criticism-Difference of taste between the ancients

and moderns-Classical and romantic poetry and art-Division of dramatic literature: the ancients, their imitators, and the romantic poets-Definition of the drama View of the theatres of all nations.

The object which we propose to ourselves in these Lectures is to investigate the principles of dramatic literature, and to consider whatever is connected with the fable, composition, and representation, of theatrical productions. We have selected the drama in preference to every other department of poetry. It will not be expected of us that we should enter scientifically into the first principles of theory. Poetry is in general closely connected with the other fine arts; and, in some degree, the eldest sister and guide of the rest. The necessity for the fine arts, and the pleasure derivable from them, originate in a principle of our nature, which it is the business of the philosopher to investigate and to classify. This object has given rise to many profound disquisitions, especially in Germany; and the name of aesthetic* (perceptive) has, with no great degree of propriety, been conferred on this department of philosophy. Aesthetics, or the philosophical theory of beauty and art, is of the utmost importance in its connexion with other inquiries into the human mind; but, considered by itself, it is not of sufficient practical instruction; and it can only become so by its union with the history of the arts. We give the appellation of criticism to the intermediate

• From Alointixo, sentiendi vim habens.—TRANS.

province between general theory and experience or history. The comparing together and judging the existing productions of the human mind must supply us with a knowledge of the means which are requisite for the conception and execution of masterly works of art.

We will therefore endeavour to throw light on the history of the dramatic art by the torch of criticism. In the course of this attempt it will be necessary to adopt many a proposition, without proof, from general theory; but I hope that the manner in which this shall be done will not be considered as objectionable.

Before I proceed farther, I wish to say a few words respecting the spirit of my criticism, a study to which I have devoted a great part of my life. We see numbers of men, and even whole nations, so much fettered by the habits of their education and modes of living, that they cannot shake themselves free from them, even in the enjoyment of the fine arts. Nothing to them appears natural, proper, or beautiful, which is foreign to their language, their manners, or their social relations. In this exclusive mode of seeing and feeling, it is no doubt possible, by means of cultivation, to attain a great nicety of discrimination in the narrow circle within which they are limited and circumscribed. But no man can be a true critic or connoisseur who does not possess a universality of mind, who does not possess the flexibility, which, throwing aside all personal predilections and blind habits, enables him to transport himself into the peculiarities of other ages and nations, to feel them as it were from their proper central point; and, what ennobles human nature, to recognize and respect whatever is beautiful and grand under those external modifications which are necessary to their existence, and which sometimes even seem to disguise them. There is no monopoly of poetry for certain ages and nations, and consequently that despotism in taste, by which it is attempted to make those rules universal which were at first perhaps arbitrarily established, is a pretension which ought never to be allowed. Poetry, taken in its widest acceptation, as the power of creating what is beautiful, and representing it to the eye or the ear, is a universal gift of Heaven, which is even shared to a certain extent by those whom we call barbarians and savages. Internal excellence is alone decisive, and where this exists we must not allow ourselves to be repelled by external appearances. Everything must be traced up to the root of our existence: if it has sprung from thence, it must possess an undoubted worth; but if, without possessing a living germ, it is merely an external appendage, it can never thrive nor acquire a proper growth. Many productions which appear at first sight dazzling phenomena in the province of the fine arts, and which

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