The Greek Theater and Its Drama. Roy C. Flickinger

James Turney Allen
1919 Classical Philology  
cago: The University of Chicago Press, 1918. Pp. xxviii+358. 80 illustrations. This is a book for which we have long been waiting; one, that is, that can be unhesitatingly recommended to the general reader as a reasonably satisfactory account of the Greek theater and the technique and conventions of the Greek drama. Like all of the author's numerous articles previously published, it is written in a pleasing and forceful style, and gives evidence of sound scholarship and of a firm grasp upon the
more » ... firm grasp upon the problems with which it deals. Its statements are clear, its arguments cogent, and its conclusions sane. Moreover, it abounds in literary citations and is enriched with many illustrations which for the most part are well selected and beautifully reproduced. Thus it constitutes one of the most important contributions of recent years to the interpretation of ancient classical dramatic art. Among the works published in English upon this subject it easily takes rank as the best. As stated in the Preface the book attempts (1) "to elaborate the theory that the peculiarities and conventions of the Greek drama are largely explicable by its environment; (2) to emphasize the technical aspects of ancient drama; (3) to elucidate and freshen ancient practice by modern and mediaeval parallels." The author has "endeavored to treat the ancient plays as if they were not dead and inert, but as if their authors were men as real as Ibsen and Galsworthy, who had real problems and met them in a real way." In accordance with this program the emphasis throughout is placed upon the conventions and technique of the drama rather than upon the archaeological reconstruction of the theater itself. Thus eight of the nine chapters which constitute the main portion of the work treat of the influences (1) of religious origin, (2) of choral origin, (3) of actors, (4) of festival arrangements, (5 and 6) of physical conditions, (7) of national customs and ideas, and (8) of theatrical machinery and dramatic conventions. The ninth chapter is devoted to a consideration of theatrical records. Preceding these chapters is a long Introduction (pp.
doi:10.1086/360227 fatcat:vet5p6gnhvfjvl3qbcir26yc2e