The latest book by Eric Bentley, The Theatre of Commitment, a collection of his essays on drama and theatre covering the period from 1956 to 1966, provides a convenient occasion for some thoughts on Bentley's work in recent years. Such an assessment will not do justice to what Bentley wrote before 1956, nor will it touch on a very interesting venture of his into theatre theory, The Life of the Drama (1964). However, the trajectory of a major critic during a dozen years is not only fascinating on its own but also representative of his major preoccupations and attitudes. With every caution in mind, one can try to tease them out of this one book.
What stance is appropriate to a critic of...
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