The theoretical nature of Craig's published writings and the tendency to abstraction in his designs, many of which are unrelated to any specific play, give the misleading impression that he was a reformer working from outside. In fact, he always asserted that his aim was to revolutionize the theater from within. One characteristic that could almost be said to define contemporary drama is its continual process of rejection. Directors jettison whatever stage conventions have been established by the previous generation or movement as "culinary" (Brecht) or "deadly" (Brook) in order to create new forms through a "via negativa" (Grotowski). Craig was no exception. But he, far more than other revolutionaries of the stage, was a part of the theatrical tradition he came to reject. With Ellen Terry as his mother, and the most famous actor-manager of the late Victorian period, Henry Irving, as his mentor, he could be said literally to have grown up in the nineteenth-century theater. Indeed, in some ways he never completely freed himself from it, which occasionally gives his work the disturbing flavor of old wine in new bottles.