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Pages 689-705 - new philosophy of the individual a...

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Pages 689-705: Nineteenth Century Drama through the Turn of the Twentieth Century Technical Innovations Technically, theaters changed more during the period between 1800 and 1900 than in any comparable earlier period. The introduction of gas jets early in the century had a major effect. Now, light could be dimmed or raised as needed; the house could be gradually and entirely darkened. As new theaters were built in the early 19 th century the apron shrank and the front doors leading to it disappeared. That change reinforced the 19 th century practice of treating the proscenium opening as the imaginary “fourth wall” of a room. Highly sophisticated machinery lifted actors from below the stage, and flies or fly galleries above the stage permitted scene changes and other dramatic alterations and effects. Romantic Drama Early nineteenth century English Romantic poets produced a variety of plays espousing a
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Unformatted text preview: new philosophy of the individual, a philosophy of democracy, and a cry for personal liberation, but unfortunately their plays failed to capture the popular stage. ○ William Wordsworth’s The Borderers , concerning political struggles on the border between England and Scotland, was a failure. • Manfred is a Closet Drama , a play meant to be read, not produced. ○ Allardyce Nicoll, the British drama historian and critic, has said of this and other Romantic plays that “audiences and readers familiar with Lear and Macbeth and Othello could not be expected to feel a thrill of wonder and delight in the contemplation of works so closely skin to these in general aim and yet so far removed from them in freshness of imaginative power.”...
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