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One-Act Plays By Modern Authors   By:

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[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.]



EDITED BY HELEN LOUISE COHEN, Ph.D. Chairman of the Department of English in the Washington Irving High School in the City of New York

Author of "The Ballade"



All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by mimeograph or any other means, without permission in writing from the publisher.


To M. S. S.


Had not both authors and publishers acted with the greatest generosity, this collection could not have been made. Though the editor cannot adequately express her sense of obligation, she wishes at least to record explicitly her indebtedness to Mr. Harold Brighouse, Lord Dunsany, Mr. John Galsworthy, Lady Gregory, Mr. Percy MacKaye, Miss Jeannette Marks, Miss Josephine Preston Peabody, Professor Robert Emmons Rogers, Mr. Booth Tarkington, and Professor Stark Young. The editor also desires to thank Chatto & Windus, Duffield & Company, Gowans & Gray, Ltd., Harper & Brothers, Little, Brown & Company, John W. Luce & Company, G. P. Putnam's Sons, Charles Scribner's Sons, and The Sunwise Turn, for permissions granted ungrudgingly.

Through the courtesy of Mr. T. M. Cleland, director of the Beechwood Players, the pictures of the Beechwood Theatre appear. Miss Mary W. Carter, chairman of the Department of English in the High School in Montclair, New Jersey, contributed the photographs of the Garden Theatre. Other illustrations appear through the kindness of Theatre Arts Magazine , and of The Neighborhood Playhouse.

The editor is grateful to Mrs. John W. Alexander, Mr. B. Iden Payne, and Mrs. T. Bernstein for the privilege of personal conferences on the subject of the book. To Mr. Robert Edmond Jones, who has allowed three of his designs to be reproduced and who has read and corrected that part of the Introduction that deals with The New Art of the Theatre, the editor takes this opportunity of expressing her warm appreciation. Finally, the editor wishes to thank her friend, Helen Hopkins Crandell for her indefatigable work on the proofs of this book.


Perhaps the student who is going to read the plays in this collection may have felt at some time or other a gap between the "classics" that he was working over in school and the contemporary literature that he heard commonly discussed, but he does not know that until recently few books were studied in the high school that were less than half a century old. Consciousness of the gap often drove him to trashy reading. He recognized Addison as respectable but remote, and yet he had no guide to the good literature which the writers of his own day were producing and which would be especially interesting to him, because its ideas and language would be more nearly contemporary with his own.

Even though the greatest literature has the quality of universality, it has been almost invariably my experience that, only as one grows older, is one quite ready to appreciate this quality. When one is young, it is easier to enjoy literature written from a point of view nearer to one's own life and times. Reading good contemporary literature is likely also to pave the way for a deeper appreciation of the great masterpieces of all time.

This is a collection of one act plays, some of them less than five years old, chosen both because their appeal seems not to be limited to the adult audiences for which they were originally written, and because they may well serve the purpose of introducing the student to contemporary dramatists of standing. Some of them, it is true, make use of old stories and traditions, but the treatment is in all cases modern, if we except the literary fashion that we find in Josephine Preston Peabody's Fortune and Men's Eyes ... Continue reading book >>

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