Originally published in 1971. The Victorian Age was one of popular theatre and increasingly popular journalism. One manifestation of this journalism was the emergence of the dramatic critic from the anonymity and brevity which had previously characterized periodical treatment of the theatre. If Victorian theatre is regarded as existing essentially thirty years before Victoria acceded and continuing until the outbreak of war in 1914, the names of Lamb, Leigh Hunt and Hazlitt at one end, and of Beerbohm and MacCarthy at the other, can be added to a list that includes Lewes, James, Archer, Walkley, Shaw and Montague. All these writers, and others less famous, are represented in this selection.
By selecting the articles on the basis of the play in performance, rather than the play as literature, and by arranging them according to various aspects of the theatrical process, this book builds up a skilful and lively picture of the contemporary theatre at work, in the words of its leading commentators. The anthology successfully conveys the qualities of abundance and vitality to characteristic of Victorian theatre.