aaron hill poet dramatist projector

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III HILL AND THE STAGE 1709-1723 Of one niche in literary history Hill is secure: no account of 18th century tragedy is complete without a reference to his adaptations of Voltaire's plays. Had he done nothing else, however, than win this doubtful honor, his dramatic achievement would not merit a chapter to itself. No one willingly reads the tragedies of Hill's age; and few, except as a matter of duty, care to read much about them. But this period of the drama, far from noteworthy from the purely literary standpoint, was one of great interest in other ways: it saw the acting of Betterton and Mrs. Old- field and Garrick; the development of opera and pantomime as rivals of comedy and tragedy; and the establishment by the Licensing Act of a theatrical monopoly that for more than a century exercised a profound influence on the history of the drama in England. The questions discussed by men interested in the stage were curiously like those with which we are familiar today. We find the management of theatres denounced as incompetent and mercenary; the public taste condemned as depraved; and the popularity of vulgar farces and cheap musical entertainments interpreted by moralists and unsuccessful authors alike as a sure sign of the approaching moral degeneration of the race. Has tragedy really ceased to have any appeal for the general public? Should the public be supplied with what it likes, or what it ought to like ? Should there be any censorship of the stage, and howshould it be exercised? Can a national theatre be established to encourage poetic drama, and managed by disinterested persons who will regard profit as a purely secondary consideration? Is opera in English possible? All these problems, essentially the same as they are today, in spite of their eighteenth ce...
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