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The Growth of English Drama   By: (1880-)

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In "The Growth of English Drama" by Arnold Wynne, readers are taken on a captivating journey through the evolution and development of English theater. Through meticulous research and insightful analysis, Wynne provides a comprehensive overview of the various elements that contributed to the growth of drama in England.

One of the remarkable strengths of this book lies in its ability to contextualize the historical background and socio-cultural factors that played a vital role in shaping English drama. Wynne delves into the Elizabethan era and sheds light on the influence of Queen Elizabeth I, highlighting how her reign paved the way for a flourishing period of theatrical production. He also explores the impact of Renaissance humanism, religious changes, and political events on the growth of drama, giving readers a deeper understanding of the forces at play during this pivotal time.

What sets this book apart is Wynne's astute analysis of the various genres and forms of drama that emerged during different periods of English history. From medieval morality plays to the rise of tragedy and comedy, he examines the characteristics and evolution of each genre, providing clear explanations and examples to illustrate his points. His exploration of famous playwrights, such as Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson, offers valuable insights into their works and their contributions to the development of English drama.

Moreover, Wynne's writing style is engaging and accessible, making the book accessible to both scholars and casual readers. His meticulous attention to detail is evident throughout the text, with each chapter offering a wealth of information supported by extensive and well-chosen examples. Additionally, the inclusion of excerpts from influential plays allows readers to experience the vibrancy and power of the dramatic works discussed.

While "The Growth of English Drama" is undoubtedly a valuable resource for anyone interested in the subject, it is worth noting that the book's depth and breadth can be overwhelming at times. Although Wynne's expertise shines through in his writing, some readers may find certain sections excessively detailed or dense. However, this is a minor criticism in comparison to the overall quality and value of the book.

In conclusion, Arnold Wynne's "The Growth of English Drama" is an indispensable resource for those interested in understanding the evolution of English theater. With its comprehensive coverage of historical context, exploration of different genres, and astute analysis of influential playwrights, this book offers readers a deep appreciation for the rich and diverse heritage of English drama. Wynne's passion for the subject shines through, making this an enlightening and enjoyable read for theater enthusiasts, students, and scholars alike.

First Page:




Oxford At the Clarendon Press Printed in England At the Oxford University Press by John Johnson Printer to the University Impression of 1927 First edition, 1914


In spite of the fact that an almost superabundant literature of exposition has gathered round early English drama, there is, I believe, still room for this book. Much criticism is available. But the student commonly searches through it in vain for details of the plots and characters, and specimens of the verse, of interludes and plays which time, opportunity, and publishers combine to withhold from him. Notable exceptions to this generalization exist. Such are Sir A.W. Ward's monumental English Dramatic Literature , and that delightful volume, J.A. Symonds' Shakespeare's Predecessors ; but the former extends its survey far beyond the limits of early drama, while the latter too often passes by with brief mention works concerning which the reader would gladly hear more. Some authors have written very fully, but upon only a section of pre Shakespearian dramatic work. Of others it may generally be said that their purposes limit to criticism their treatment of all but the best known plays. The present volume attempts a more comprehensive plan. It presents, side by side with criticism, such data as may enable the reader to form an independent judgment... Continue reading book >>

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