Other Literary Forms
Henry Arthur Jones, a prolific dramatist, was also an energetic theater critic and polemicist. His prose writings include The Renascence of the English Drama (1895), The Foundations of a National Drama (1913), and The Theatre of Ideas (1915). Jones’s polemics are found in his attacks on H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw in Patriotism and Popular Education (1919) and My Dear Wells: A Manual for the Haters of England; Being a Series of Letters upon Bolshevism, Collectivism, Internationalism and the Distribution of Wealth, Addressed to Mr. H. G. Wells (1921, 1922). Jones actively campaigned for the abolition of theatrical censorship. The Renascence of the English Drama brings together the essays in which he argues that drama has definite artistic forms, that it is a serious literary genre, and that a national theater should be established. He calls for copyright laws to be reformed and plays printed—at the time, radical ideas meeting with much opposition. The Foundations of a National Drama continues Jones’s advocacy for the establishment of a national theater, argues for a more intelligent theater, and attacks contemporary theatrical frivolity. Jones believed that art has a social value—that the theater should educate audiences and bring beauty and culture to otherwise impoverished ordinary lives.