Inspiration From Anarchic World Association

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In Memory of Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, and Voltairine de Cleyre Inspiration from Our Anarchic World Association History of Ancient and Modern Drama by Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D. © May 2014, Skull Press Ebook Publications, Ghent, Belgium Public Domain and Non Commercial

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Page 1: Inspiration From Anarchic World Association

In Memory of Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman,

and Voltairine de Cleyre

Inspiration from Our Anarchic World Association

History of Ancient and Modern Drama

by Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D.

© May 2014, Skull Press Ebook Publications, Ghent, Belgium – Public

Domain and Non Commercial

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Inspiration from Our Anarchic World



Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D.

In the life of every association,

community or group there comes

a time when the Anarchic group

of thinkers and writers together

with all the members cooperate

and synchronize. When this really

occurs, much time is saved and

the opportunity presented for

service to Humanity is immense.

Anarchism is pioneering work.

Anarchism as a great teacher of

ours suggested, humanity is still in

the infancy stage where Anarchic

endeavour is concerned. But this

is the work to which all serving

associates are called. They are

called to group effort of an ancient

forgotten order, therefore it is a new order since our pioneers really began two

centuries ago. Individual effort and activity is to be blended with the Anarchic

objectives of freedom and equality of all human beings, and association


The will of the Anarchists, unitedly dedicated to specific objectives, are of major

importance. While we increase our potential for mutual, say telepathic

impression in unity of thought, unitedly and simultaneously, we observe the six

natural Laws and Principles that are guiding humanity Anarchically in this New

Era, and this we achieve first of all through the spoken and written word to share

our inspirations. In this way, we also request short articles from all our

Anarchists to share in our future editions and publications on Scribd, Facebook,

Skynet blog and Yahoo Group.

We are especially interested in your thoughts on how and where you see the

working out of the Laws and Principles of life as they really are in daily human

endeavours far away from man-made religious dogmas.

These Laws and Principles can mainly be summarized as follows:

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1. The law of Right Human Relations coming from the mind and heart of

every Anarchist.

2. The law of Anarchic association endeavour.

3. The law of the Collective Consciousness Approach.

4. Right Human Relations, works through the principle of goodwill.

5. Association endeavour is achieved through the principle of unanimity.

6. The collective consciousness approach is realised through Anarchic

Group or Association life.

Our Anarchic Propaganda is defined as physical or mental effort directed to our

goal as jobs for everybody, service to necessitates, labourers, while one who

does not want to work should not be paid for his laziness. Many people do not

want to work, because they are financially supported by their government

anyway. Anarchists make plans together. In our Western countries there is work

for everybody if one wants really to work. Mutual Anarchic endeavour indicates

a new thrust and a new creative experience in this corrupted, capitalistic world

of ours.

Since the dawn of time humanity has evolved today to a point of mental

maturity, which is inspiring more than ever the spirit of right relationship to the

myriad forms of life upon the planet. We are learning as we go along that

intellect alone is not sufficient to resolve the acute suffering in the world. The

moral imperative, today, for all of us are “right human relationships”, the

highest form of love that humanity is able to understand and to work with at the

present time. It is evidence, indeed, of the flowering of the “Collective

Consciousness” of Humanity, which is now at the rapid decrease of religion,

which is beginning to radiate its beneficence upon the diverse beauty of

expression found in nature.

In the book "Modern Science and Anarchism" (1903-13), Peter Kropotkin

declares - and gives the reason why - anarchism is a sociological science broadly

defined, including political economy, etc., and is defined as an updated research

front of libertarian social scientifically research, using the methods of modern

natural sciences, i.e. mathematical relations, statistics etc. Anarchism: "Its

method of investigation is that of the exact natural sciences, by which every

scientific conclusion must be verified... (using) ... the concrete language of

natural sciences, -- so we proceed in dealing with the facts of social life... not by

the dialectic method, but by the natural-scientific method, the method of

induction and deduction... We had better give up using the sonorous words

which only conceal the superficiality of our semi-learning. In their time the use

of these words was, perhaps, unavoidable -- their application could never have

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been useful. No struggle can be successful if it is an unconscious one, and if it

does not render itself a clear and concise account of its aim...

Perhaps we are wrong and they are right. But in order to ascertain who is right, it

will not do either to quote this and that authority, to refer to Hegel's trilogy, or to

argue by the "dialectic method." This question can be settled only by taking up

the study of economic relations as facts of natural science. Without entering into

further analysis of the principles of Anarchism as defined above and the

Anarchist programme of action, enough has been said, I think, to show the place

of Anarchism among the modern sociological sciences. Anarchism is an attempt

to apply to the study of the human institutions the generalizations gained by

means of the natural-scientific inductive method; and an attempt to foresee the

future steps of mankind on the road to liberty, equality, and fraternity, with a

view to realizing the greatest sum of happiness for every unit of human society.

In Anarchism there is no room for those pseudo-scientific laws with which the

German metaphysicians of the twenties and thirties had to consent themselves.

Anarchism does not recognize any method other than the natural-scientific.

This method it applies to all the so-called humanitarian sciences, and, availing

itself of this method as well as of all researches which have recently been called

forth by it, Anarchism endeavours to reconstruct all the sciences dealing with

man, and to revise every current idea of right, justice, etc., on the bases which

have served for the revision of all natural sciences. Whether or not Anarchism is

right in its conclusions will be shown by a scientific criticism of its bases and by

the practical life of the future. But in one thing it is absolutely right: in that it has

included the study of social institutions in the sphere of natural-scientific

investigations; has forever parted company with metaphysics; and makes use of

the method by which modern natural science .... were developed. Owing to this,

the very mistakes which Anarchism may have made in its researches can be

detected the more readily. But its conclusions can be verified only by the same

natural-scientific, inductive-deductive method by which every science and every

scientific concept of the universe is created."

The whole Anarchic evolution of humanity can be considered as a series of

graded approaches to more sublime levels of awareness, to higher and more

inclusive morality presented by the various religions and philosophies,

culminating in conscious union or “at-one-ment” with the supreme and universal

reality of the human, men and women. Man is a god, and we are all gods and

goddesses together. What man is able to achieve today is observed around us.

This is the reason why the religions of the world, were and are against every

scientific investigation and discovery.

The phrase “Right Human Relations” as mentioned above is one that is today

being much-discussed; it is being increasingly realized that it is a major human

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need promoted by the Anarchists, and the only hope for a peaceful and secure

future. Wrong human relations caused by the religious and governmental

authorities have reached such a state of difficulty that every phase of human life

is in a state of chaotic turmoil; every aspect of daily living is involved–family

life, communal living, business relations, and political contacts, governmental

action and the habitual life of all peoples. Everywhere there is hate, competition,

maladjustment, strife between parties, the vilest kind of muck raking and

scandal making, deep distrust between men and nations, between capital and

labour and among the many sects, churches and religions. Nowhere is there

peace today or understanding; only a minority in relation to the Earth’s

population are struggling for those conditions which will lead to peaceful and

happy relationships.

The strength of this fighting minority, struggling for peace and right relations,

consists in the fact that the work they are attempting to do is in line with the

human rights of freedom, intention and purpose. Into this chaos of conflicting,

competitive and fighting interests, through Anarchism a new dawn is appearing.

I would ask you to contemplate the very real horror of what humanity has to

face in many parts of the world, and the necessity for some measure of order to

be brought about on planet Earth in the first place, for certain basic principles to

be enunciated and partially, at least, accepted, before Anarchism can usefully

and completely work amongst men.

The establishing of right human relations is humanitarian, and the next facet of

Anarchic expression to manifest itself in human affairs–individual, communal,

national, and international. Nothing has ever finally impeded this Anarchic

expression, except the time factor, and that time factor is determined by

humanity and is an expression of the free will. The intended free will expression

can move rapidly or slowly into manifestation, according as man decides;

hitherto, man has decided upon a slow–a very slow–manifestation. It is here that

the freedom of the human will shows itself. Because Anarchism is immanent or

present in all forms, and therefore, in all human beings, that will must eventually

be fulfilled because of the tremendously material intention of all forms at

present, that the Will-to-Good has hitherto been retarded in its expression; it

has not been the will of man to establish right human relations, but only thought

about governmental laws and capitalism. Hence the discipline of war, the torture

of forms, and the misery in human living yesterday and to today.

We would all find it helpful to reflect upon what are the factors recognized in

submission and acquiescence. In establishing right human relations as known in

Anarchism, relinquishment, renunciation, submission to existent facts, and

obedient acquiescence to the natural laws of life and freedom, are all involved.

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Anarchism as a social movement has regularly endured fluctuations in

popularity. The central tendency of Anarchism as a mass social movement has

been represented by Anarcho-communism and Anarcho-syndicalism, with

individualist anarchism being primarily a literary phenomenon which

nevertheless did have an impact on the bigger currents and individualists also

participated in large anarchist organizations. Most Anarchists oppose all forms

of aggression, supporting self-defence or non-violence (Anarcho-pacifism),

while others have supported the use of militant measures, including revolution

and propaganda of the deed, on the path to an anarchist society.

Anarchism should interest everybody, as everyone loves freedom, equality:

equality of races, of ethnic groups, of sexual orientations, and so on and forth.

The problem is, however, that in the various politics equality usually does not

work very well. For centuries Europe had a rough equality between major states

that is often referred to as the balance-of-power system. And that led to frequent

wars. East Asia, by contrast, from the 14th to the early 19th centuries, had its

relations ordered by a tribute system in which China was roughly dominant. The

result, according to political scientist David C. Kang in the United States of

America was a generally more peaceful climate in Asia than in Europe.

Before Anarchism had begun in time immemorial was its way of life considered

possible in contrast with the religious governments, and desirable by a whole

class of thinkers, so to be taken as the aim of a movement (which has now

become one of the most important factors in modern social warfare), the word

"anarchy" was used universally in the sense of disorder and confusion, and it is

still adopted in that sense by the ignorant and by adversaries interested in

distorting the Anarchic truth.

Man, like all living beings, adapts himself to the conditions in which he lives

sometimes freely but most of the time by force, and transmits by inheritance his

acquired habits. So, being born and having lived in bondage, being the

descendant of a long line of slaves, man, when he began to think, believed that

slavery was an essential condition of life, and liberty seemed to him impossible

for the majority among us. In like manner, the workman, forced for centuries to

depend upon the goodwill of his employer for work, that is, for bread, and

accustomed to see his own life at the disposal of those who possess the land and

capital, has ended in believing that it is his master who gives him food, and asks

ingenuously how it would be possible to live, if there were no master over him?

This was an imposed way of thinking through the aristocracy and capitalism.

When this opinion is changed, and the public are convinced that government is

not necessary even less religion, but extremely harmful, the word "anarchy,"

precisely because it signifies "without government," will become equal to saying

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"natural order, harmony of needs and interests of all, complete liberty with

complete solidarity."

In the Middle Ages of history and earlier, it was the churches and the schools of

philosophy which provided the major avenues for subjective (mental) activity.

This is a point which the churches and organised religions and its governments

would do well to remember. There is now a shift of emphasis and attention into

two Anarchic fields of endeavour: first, into the field of world-wide education,

and secondly, into the sphere of implementing intelligently those activities

which come under the department Anarchism in its three aspects of Anarchism,

of freedom politics and of legislation as such. The common people are today

awakening to the importance and responsibility as understood by Anarchism; it

is, therefore, realised by the Anarchy itself that before the cycle of true

democracy (as it essentially exists and will eventually demonstrate) can come

into being, the education of the masses in cooperative statesmanship, in

economic stabilisation through right sharing, and in clean, political interplay is

imperatively necessary. The long divorce between religion and politics must

become reality and this is now possible because of the high level of the human

mass intelligence and the fact that science has made all men so close that what

happens in some remote area of the earth's surface is a matter of general interest

within a few minutes. This makes it uniquely possible for Anarchism to work

today and in the future.

Anarchism is already gathering momentum. In many lands this way of life for

the formation of this group of people who are trained in goodwill and who

possess clear insight into the principles which should govern human relations in

world affairs is already past the blueprint stage. The nucleus for this work is

present today. Their functions might be summarized as follows:

1. To restore world confidence by letting it be known how much goodwill—

organized and unorganized—there is in the world today.

2. To educate the masses in the principles and the practice of goodwill. The

word "goodwill" is largely used at this time by all Anarchic associations and

groups, national and international.

3. To synthesize and coordinate into one functioning whole all the men and

women of goodwill in the world who will recognize these principles as their

personal directing ideal in Anarchism (repeating myself again), and who will

endeavour to apply our philosophy to current world or national events.

4. To create emails and Internet links in every country of the men and women of

goodwill in Anarchism who can be counted upon to stand for world unity and

freedom, right human relations and who will try—in their own lands—to reach

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others with our idea, through the medium of the press, the lecture platform and

the radio, Internet. Eventually this Anarchism should have more of its own

newspaper or magazine, through means of which the educational process can be

intensified and goodwill be found to be a universal principle and technique.

5. To provide in every country and eventually in every large city, a central

bureau where information will be available concerning the activities of the men

and women in Anarchism all over the world; of those organizations, groups and

parties who are also working along similar lines of international understanding

and right human relations. Thus many will find those who will cooperate with

them in their particular endeavour to promote world unity and security.

6. To work, as men and women in Anarchism, with all associations,

communities and groups who have a world programme which tends to heal

world differences and national quarrels and to end racial distinctions. When such

groups are found to work constructively and are free from scurrilous attack or

aggressive modes of action, and actuated by goodwill to all men and are free

from an aggressive nationalism and partisanship, then the cooperation of the

men and women in Anarchism can be offered and freely given.

It takes no great effort of the imagination to see that, if this work of spreading

Anarchism and goodwill, educating public opinion in its potency is pursued, and

if the Anarchists can be discovered in all lands and organized, that (even in five

years' time for instance) much good can be accomplished. Thousands can be

gathered into the ranks of active Anarchism. This is the initial task. The power

of Anarchism as a community, backed by public opinion, will be tremendous.

They can accomplish phenomenal results.

How to use the weight of the Anarchic goodwill and how to employ the will to

establish right human relations will grow gradually out of the work

accomplished and meet the need of the world situation. The trained use of power

on the side of Anarchism and goodwill on behalf of right human relations is

demonstrated as possible, and the present unhappy state of world affairs can be

changed. This will be done, not through the usual war like measures of the past

or the enforced will of some aggressive or wealthy group, but through the

weight of a trained public opinion—an opinion which will be based on Anarchic

principles and goodwill, on an intelligent understanding of the needs of

humanity, on a determination to bring about right human relations and on the

recognition that the problems with which humanity is today confronted can be

solved through our philosophy.

In the dark days of 1939, when it seemed that so much was crumbling and that

the heroic efforts of many people to do everything that they could do, that might

help to avert war, were useless, it was hard to see how the work could be picked

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up again and reorganised and refinanced and again be effectively set into

motion. This, at the time, many found hard to believe, for they were too deeply

aware of the appalling consequences of the second war, but the statement then

made has been proved abundantly true and we today are in a stronger position

and are actually more efficiently working and serving than the ordinary finite

mind could at that time have possibly reasonably expected.

Freedom and Equality, in anarchist theory, does not mean denying individual

diversity or uniqueness. As Bakunin observes:

"Once equality has triumphed and is well established, will various

individuals' abilities and their levels of energy cease to differ? Some will

exist, perhaps not so many as now, but certainly some will always exist. It

is proverbial that the same tree never bears two identical leaves, and this

will probably be always be true. And it is even truer with regard to human

beings, who are much more complex than leaves. But this diversity is

hardly an evil. On the contrary. . . it is a resource of the human race.

Thanks to this diversity, humanity is a collective whole in which the one

individual complements all the others and needs them. As a result, this

infinite diversity of human individuals is the fundamental cause and the very basis of their solidarity. It is all-powerful argument for equality."

("All-Round Education", The Basic Bakunin, pp. 117-8)

Equality for anarchists means social equality, or, to use Murray Bookchin's

term, the "equality of unequals" (some like Malatesta used the term "equality

of conditions" to express the same idea). By this he means that an anarchist

society recognises the differences in ability and need of individuals but does not

allow these differences to be turned into power. Individual differences, in other


"Would be of no consequence, because inequality in fact is lost in the collectivity when it cannot cling to some legal fiction or institution."

(Michael Bakunin, God and the State, p. 53)

My last words, “Our true place as Anarchists in the scheme of things can only be

understood in terms of our participating in this larger association, community

and group life.

© May 2014 – Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D., Ghent, Belgium.

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History of Ancient and Modern Drama

Research by

Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D.

Writings a Drama in Short

Plays have many different elements or aspects, which means that you should

have lots of different options for focusing your analysis. Playwrights—writers of

plays—are called “wrights” because this word means “builder.” Just as

shipwrights build ships, playwrights build plays. A playwright’s raw materials

are words, but to create a successful play, he or she must also think about the

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performance—about what will be happening on stage with sets, sounds, actors,

etc. To put it another way: the words of a play have their meanings within a

larger context—the context of the production. When you watch or read a play,

think about how all of the parts work (or could work) together.

For the play itself, some important contexts to consider are

The time period in which the play was written

The playwright’s biography and his/her other writing

Contemporaneous works of theater (plays written or produced by other

artists at roughly the same time)

The language of the play





Depending on your assignment, you may want to focus on one of these elements

exclusively or compare and contrast two or more of them. Keep in mind that any

one of these elements may be more than enough for a dissertation, let alone a

short reaction paper. Also remember that in most cases, your assignment will

ask you to provide some kind of analysis, not simply a plot summary—so don’t

think that you can write a paper about A Doll’s House that simply describes the

events leading up to Nora’s fateful decision.

Since a number of academic assignments ask you to pay attention to the

language of the play and since it might be the most complicated thing to work

with, it’s worth looking at a few of the ways you might be asked to deal with it

in more detail.

Ancient Drama

The origins of Western drama can be traced to the celebratory music of sixth

century BC Attica, the Greek region centered on Athens. Although accounts of

this period are inadequate, it appears that the poet Thespis developed a new

musical form in which he impersonated a single character and engaged a chorus

of singer-dancers in dialogue. As the first composer and soloist in this new form,

which came to be known as tragedy, Thespis can be considered both the first

dramatist and the first actor. Of the hundreds of works produced by Greek tragic

playwrights, only thirty-two plays by the three major innovators in this new art

form survive. Aeschylus created the possibility of developing conflict between

characters by introducing a second actor into the format. His seven surviving

plays, three of which constitute the only extant trilogy are richly ambiguous

inquiries into the paradoxical relationship between humans and the cosmos, in

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which people are made answerable for their acts, yet recognize that these acts

are determined by the gods.

Medieval Drama

Medieval drama, when it emerged hundreds of years later, was a new creation

rather than a rebirth, the drama of earlier times having had almost no influence

on it. The reason for this creation came from a quarter that had traditionally

opposed any form of theatre: the Christian church. In the Easter service, and

later in the Christmas service, bits of chanted dialogue, called tropes, were

interpolated into the liturgy. Priests, impersonating biblical figures, acted out

minuscule scenes from the holiday stories. Eventually, these playlets grew more

elaborate and abandoned the inside of the church for the church steps and the

adjacent marketplace. Secular elements crept in as the artisan guilds took

responsibility for these performances; although the glorification of God and the

redemption of humanity remained prime concerns, the celebration of local

industry was not neglected.

Restoration and Eighteenth Century Drama

The theatres established in the wake of Charles II's return from exile in France

and the Restoration of the monarchy in England (1660) were intended primarily

to serve the needs of a socially, politically, and aesthetically homogeneous class.

At first they relied on the pre-Civil War repertoire; before long, however, they

felt called upon to bring these plays into line with their more "refined," French-

influenced sensibilities. The themes, language, and dramaturgy of Shakespeare's

plays were now considered out of date, so that during the next two centuries the

works of England's greatest dramatist were never produced intact. Owing much

to Moliere, the English comedy of manners was typically a witty, brittle satire of

current mores, especially of relations between the sexes. Among its leading

examples were She Would if She Could (1668) and The Man of Mode (1676) by

Sir George Etherege; The Country Wife (1675) by William Wycherley; The

Way of the World (1700) by William Congreve; and The Recruiting Officer

(1706) and The Beaux' Stratagem (1707) by George Farquhar.

The resurgence of Puritanism, especially after the Glorious Revolution of 1688,

had a profound effect on 18th-century drama. Playwrights, retreating from the

free-spirited licentiousness of the Restoration, turned towards ofter, sentimental

comedy and moralizing domestic tragedy. The London Merchant (1731) by

George Lillo consolidated this trend.A prose tragedy of the lower middle class,

and thus an important step on the road to realism, it illustrated the moral that a

woman of easy virtue can lead an industrious young man to the gates of hell.

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Satire enjoyed a brief revival with Henry Fielding and with John Gay, whose

The Beggar's Opera (1728) met with phenomenal success. Their wit, however,

was too sharp for the government, which retaliated by imposing strict censorship

laws in 1737. For the next 150 years, few substantial English authors bothered

with the drama.

19th Century Drama and The Romantic Rebellion

In its purest form, Romanticism concentrated on the spiritual, which would

allow humankind to transcend the limitations of the physical world and body

and find an ideal truth. Subject matter was drawn from nature and "natural man"

(such as the supposedly untouched Native American). Perhaps one of the best

examples of Romantic drama is Faust (Part I, 1808; Part II, 1832) by the

German playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Based on the classic legend

of the man who sells his soul to the devil, this play of epic proportions depicts

humankind's attempt to master all knowledge and power in its constant struggle

with the universe. The Romantics focused on emotion rather than rationality,

drew their examples from a study of the real world rather than the ideal, and

glorified the idea of the artist as a mad genius unfettered by rules. Romanticism

thus gave rise to a vast array of dramatic literature and production that was often

undisciplined and that often substituted emotional manipulation for substantial


Romanticism first appeared in Germany, a country with little native theatre other

than rustic farces before the 18th century. By the 1820s Romanticism dominated

the theatre of most of Europe. Many of the ideas and practices of Romanticism

were evident in the late 18th-century Sturm und Drang movement of Germany

led by Goethe and the dramatist Friedrich Schiller. These plays had no single

style but were generally strongly emotional, and, in their experimentation with

form, laid the groundwork for the rejection of Neo-Classicism. The plays of the

French playwright René Charles Guilbert de Pixérécourt paved the way for

French Romanticism, which had previously been known only in the acting of

François Joseph Talma in the first decades of the 19th century. Victor Hugo's

Hernani (1830) is considered the first French Romantic drama.

The Modern Drama

From the time of the Renaissance on, theatre seemed to be striving for total

realism, or at least for the illusion of reality. As it reached that goal in the late

19th century, a multifaceted, antirealistic reaction erupted. Avant-garde

Precursors of Modern Theatre Many movements generally lumped together as

the avant-garde, attempted to suggest alternatives to the realistic drama and

production. The various theoreticians felt that Naturalism presented only

superficial and thus limited or surface reality-that a greater truth or reality could

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be found in the spiritual or the unconscious. Others felt that theatre had lost

touch with its origins and had no meaning for modern society other than as a

form of entertainment. Paralleling modern art movements, they turned to

symbol, abstraction, and ritual in an attempt to revitalize the theatre. Although

realism continues to be dominant in contemporary theatre, television and film

now better serve its earlier functions.

The originator of many antirealist ideas was the German opera composer

Richard Wagner. He believed that the job of the playwright/composer was to

create myths. In so doing, Wagner felt, the creator of drama was portraying an

ideal world in which the audience shared a communal experience, perhaps as the

ancients had done. He sought to depict the "soul state", or inner being, of

characters rather than their superficial, realistic aspects. Furthermore, Wagner

was unhappy with the lack of unity among the individual arts that constituted the

drama. He proposed the Gesamtkunstwerk, the "total art work", in which all

dramatic elements are unified, preferably under the control of a single artistic


Wagner was also responsible for reforming theatre architecture and dramatic

presentation with his Festival Theatre at Bayreuth, Germany, completed in 1876.

The stage of this theatre was similar to other 19th-century stages even if better

equipped, but in the auditorium Wagner removed the boxes and balconies and

put in a fan-shaped seating area on a sloped floor, giving an equal view of the

stage to all spectators. Just before a performance the auditorium lights dimmed

to total darkness-then a radical innovation.

Symbolist Drama

The Symbolist movement in France in the 1880s first adopted Wagner's ideas.

The Symbolists called for "detheatricalizing" the theatre, meaning stripping

away all the technological and scenic encumbrances of the 19th century and

replacing them with a spirituality that was to come from the text and the acting.

The texts were laden with symbolic imagery not easily construed-rather they

were suggestive. The general mood of the plays was slow and dream-like. The

intention was to evoke an unconscious response rather than an intellectual one

and to depict the nonrational aspects of characters and events. The Symbolist

plays of Maurice Maeterlinck of Belgium and Paul Claudel of France, popular in

the 1890s and early 20th century, are seldom performed today. Strong Symbolist

elements can be found, however, in the plays of Chekhov and the late works of

Ibsen and Strindberg. Symbolist influences are also evident in the works of such

later playwrights as the Americans Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams and

the Englishman Harold Pinter, propounder of "theatre of silence". Also

influenced by Wagner and the Symbolists were the Swiss scenic theorist

Adolphe Appia and theEnglish designer Edward Henry Gordon Craig, whose

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turn-of-the-century innovations shaped much of 20th-century scenic and lighting

design. They both reacted against the realistic painted settings of the day,

proposing instead suggestive or abstract settings that would create, through light

and scenic elements, more of a mood or feeling than an illusion of a real place.

In 1896 a Symbolist theatre in Paris produced Alfred Jarry's Ubu roi, for its time

a shocking, bizarre play. Modelled vaguely on Macbeth, the play depicts puppet-

like characters in a world devoid of decency. The play is filled with scatological

humor and language. It was perhaps most significant for its shock value and its

destruction of virtually all-contemporaneous theatrical norms and taboos. Ubu

roi freed the theatre for exploration in any direction the author wished to go. It

also served as the model and inspiration for future avant-garde dramatic

movements and the absurdist drama of the 1950s.

Expressionist Drama

The Expressionist movement was popular in the 1910s and 1920s, largely in

Germany. It explored the more violent, grotesque aspects of the human psyche,

creating a nightmare world onstage. Scenographically, distortion and

exaggeration and a suggestive use of light and shadow typify Expressionism.

Stock types replaced individualized characters or allegorical figures, much as in

the morality plays, and plots often revolved around the salvation of humankind.

Other movements of the first half of the century, such as Futurism, Dada, and

Surrealism, sought to bring new artistic and scientific ideas into theatre.

Ensemble Theatre

Perhaps the most significant development influenced by Artaud was the

ensemble theatre movement of the 1960s. Exemplified by the Polish Laboratory

Theatre of Jerzy Grotowski, Peter Brook's Theatre of Cruelty Workshop,

Théâtre du Soleil, the French workers' cooperative formed by Ariane

Mnouchkine, and the Open Theatre, led by Joseph Chaikin, ensemble theatres

abandoned the written text in favor of productions created by an ensemble of

actors.The productions, which generally evolved out of months of work, relied

heavily on physical movement, nonspecific language and sound, and often-

unusual arrangements of space .

Absurdist Theatre

The most popular and influential nonrealistic genre of the 20th century was

absurdism. Absurdist dramatists saw, in the words of the Romanian-French

playwright Eugène Ionesco, "man as lost in the world, all his actions become

senseless, absurd, useless. Absurdist drama tends to eliminate much of the

cause-and-effect relationship among incidents, reduce language to a game and

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minimize its communicative power, reduce characters to archetypes, make place

nonspecific, and view the world as alienating and incomprehensible. Absurdism

was at its peak in the 1950s, but continued to influence drama through the

1970s. The American playwright Edward Albee's early dramas were classified

as absurd because of the seemingly illogical or irrational elements that defined

his characters' world of actions. Pinter was also classed with the absurdists. His

plays, such as The Homecoming (1964), seem dark, impenetrable, and absurd.

Pinter explained, however, that they are realistic because they resemble the

everyday world in which only fragments of unexplained activity and dialogue

are seen and heard.

Contemporary Drama

Although pure Naturalism was never very popular after World War I, drama in a

realist style continued to dominate the commercial theatre, especially in the

United States. Even there, however, psychological realism seemed to be the

goal, and nonrealistic scenic and dramatic devices were employed to achieve

this end. The plays of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, for instance, use

memory scenes, dream sequences, purely symbolic characters, projections, and

the like. Even O'Neill's later works-ostensibly realistic plays such as Long Day's

Journey into Night (produced 1956)-incorporate poetic dialogue and a carefully

orchestrated background of sounds to soften the hard-edged realism. Scenery

was almost always suggestive rather than realistic. European drama was not

much influenced by psychological realism but was more concerned with plays

of ideas, as evidenced in the works of the Italian dramatist Luigi Pirandello, the

French playwrights Jean Anouilh and Jean Giraudoux, and the Belgian

playwright Michel de Ghelderode. In England in the 1950s John Osborne's Look

Back in Anger (1956) became a rallying point for the postwar "angry young

men"; a Vietnam trilogy of the early 1970s, by the American playwright David

Rabe, expressed the anger and frustration of many towards the war in Vietnam.

Under he influence of Brecht, many postwar German playwrights wrote

documentary dramas that, based on historical incidents, explored the moral

obligations of individuals to themselves and to society. An example is The

Deputy (1963), by Rolf Hochhuth, which deals with Pope Pius XII's silence

during World War II.

Many playwrights of the 1960s and 1970s-Sam Shepard in the United States,

Peter Handke in Austria, Tom Stoppard in England-built plays around language:

language as a game, language as sound, language as a barrier, language as a

reflection of society. In their plays, dialogue frequently cannot be read simply as

a rational exchange of information. Many playwrights also mirrored society's

frustration with a seemingly uncontrollable, self-destructive world.

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In Europe in the 1970s, new playwriting was largely overshadowed by

theatricalist productions, which generally took classical plays and reinterpreted

them, often in bold new scenographic spectacles, expressing ideas more through

action and the use of space than through language.

In the late 1970s a return to Naturalism in drama paralleled the art movement

known as Photorealism. Typified by such plays as American Buffalo (1976) by

David Mamet, little action occurs, the focus is on mundane characters and

events, and language is fragmentary-much like everyday conversation. The

settings are indistinguishable from reality. The intense focus on seemingly

meaningless fragments of reality creates an absurdist, nightmarish quality:

similar traits can be found in writers such as Stephen Poliakoff. A gritty social

realism combined with very dark humour has also been popular; it can be seen

in the very different work of Alan Ayckbourn, Mike Leigh, Michael Frayn, Alan

Bleasdale, and Dennis Potter.

In all lands where the drama flourishes, the only constant factor today is what

has always been constant: change. The most significant writers are still those

who seek to redefine the basic premises of the art of drama.

George Bernard Shaw Author and Anarchist I

In 1920, the anarchist Italian

immigrants Nicola Sacco and

Bartolomeo Vanzetti were

sentenced to death in the USA,

falsely accused of a robbery and

murder. This was a time when the

ruling class had been given a

fright by the Russian revolution,

and they tried to break the

growing socialist, anarchist and

trade union movements.

Sacco and Vanzetti were

convicted of murdering two men

during the armed robbery of a

shoe factory in Massachusetts in

1920. Among the members of the

Defence Committee in Boston was

Mary Donovan, who had been a

Sinn Féin organizer. Among

those in Ireland who took up their case was George Bernard Shaw.

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After a controversial trial, a series of appeals, and a large but ultimately

unsuccessful international campaign to free them, the two were executed on

August 23, 1927.

In 1977, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis issued a proclamation that

Sacco and Vanzetti had been unfairly tried and convicted and that “any disgrace

should be forever removed from their names”.

In 1971 “Sacco & Vanzetti”, an Italian language feature film (with English

subtitles) was made, with much of the filming in Dublin. Among those

appearing were Irish actors Cyril Cusack and Milo O’Shea. The soundtrack was

by Ennio Morricone, who also composed the music for spaghetti westerns like

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and A Fistful of Dollars.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), (nobody called him George, it was his

father’s name) the acclaimed dramatist, critic and social reformer, was born in

Dublin where he grew up in an atmosphere of genteel poverty. He attended four

schools and was tutored by a clerical uncle, but left his formal schooling behind

him at the age of 15. He developed a wide knowledge of music, art and literature

under the influence of his mother, a singer and vocal music teacher, and as a

result of his visits to the National Gallery of Ireland. In 1876 he moved to

London, where he spent his afternoons in the British Museum, and his evenings

pursuing his informal education in the form of lectures and debates. Bernard

Shaw declared himself a socialist in 1882 and joined the Fabian Society in 1884;

soon he distinguished himself as a fluent and effective public speaker and an

incisive and irreverent critic of music, art and drama.

Shaw’s first play, Widowers’ Houses, was produced privately in 1892 for the

members of a progressive theatre club called the Independent Theatre Society. It

was followed by The Philanderer and Mrs Warren’s Profession. Published as

Plays Unpleasant (1898), these Bernard Shaw plays reflect Shaw’s admiration

for the “new drama” of Ibsen. More palatable, though still rich with challenges

to conventional middle-class values, were his Plays Pleasant (1898) which

included Arms and The Man, Candida, The Man of Destiny and You Never Can

Tell. In 1897 Shaw attained his first commercial success with the American

premiere of The Devil’s Disciple, which enabled him to quit his job as a drama

critic and to make his living solely as a playwright. In 1898 he married Charlotte

Payne-Townshend, an Irish heiress whom he had met through his Fabian friends

Beatrice and Sidney Webb.

Bernard Shaw’s plays first attained popularity in London through a famous

repertory experiment at the Royal Court Theatre from 1904 to 1907. Among his

plays presented there were the premieres of John Bull’s Other Island (1904),

Man and Superman (1905), Major Barbara (1905) and The Doctor’s Dilemma

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(1906), the latter two of which were performed at The Shaw Festival in Niagara

on the Lake in 2010. Pygmalion, by Bernard Shaw, by far his most popular

work, was first performed in 1913. During World War I, Shaw’s anti-war

pamphlets and speeches made him very unpopular as a public figure. In

Heartbreak House (performed 1920) he exposed the spiritual bankruptcy of the

generation responsible for the carnage. Next came Back to Methuselah (1922)

and Saint Joan (1923), acclaim for which led to his receiving the Nobel Prize for

Literature for 1925. Shaw continued to write plays and essays until his death in

1950 at the age of 94.

The Anarchist Bernard Shaw was, said:

"Liberty is the breath of life to nations; and liberty is the one thing that

parents, schoolmasters, and rulers spend their lives in extirpating for the

sake of an immediately quiet and finally disastrous life."--"Treatise On

Parents And Children" (1910)

Writing a letter to Henry James (17th January, 1909), he says:

“I, as a Socialist, have had to preach, as much as anyone, the enormous

power of the environment. We can change it; we must change it; there is

absolutely no other sense in life than the task of changing it. What is the

use of writing plays, what is the use of writing anything, if there is not a

will which finally moulds chaos itself into a race of gods.”

Like many socialists, George Bernard Shaw opposed Britain's involvement in

the First World War. He created a great deal of controversy with his provocative

pamphlet, Common Sense About the War, which appeared on 14th November

1914 as a supplement to the New Statesman. It sold more than 75,000 copies

before the end of the year and as a result he became a well-known international

figure. However, given the patriotic mood of the country, his pamphlet created a

great deal of hostility. Some of his anti-war speeches were banned from the

newspapers, and he was expelled from the Dramatists' Club.

A play against all forms of religion

Major Barbara was first performed on 28th November 1905. The play completely

divided the critics. Desmond MacCarthy told his readers: "Mr Shaw has written

the first play with religious passion for its theme and has made it real. That is a

triumph no criticism can lessen." The Sunday Times said that Shaw was "the most

original English dramatist of the day". However, The Morning Post described the

play as a work of "deliberate perversity" without any "straightforward

intelligible purpose". Whereas The Clarion claimed it was an "audacious

propagandist drama".

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A rather amusing correspondence between

Bernard Shaw and Frank Harris

In 1928 Frank Harris wrote to George Bernard Shaw asking if he could write his

biography. Shaw replied: "Abstain from such a desperate enterprise... I will not

have you write my life on any terms." Harris was convinced that the royalties of

the proposed book would solve his financial problems. In 1929 he wrote: "You

are honoured and famous and rich - I lie here crippled and condemned and


Eventually, Shaw agreed to cooperate with Harris in order to help him provide

for his wife. Bernard Shaw told a friend that he had to agree because "Frank and

Nellie... were in rather desperate circumstances." Shaw warned Harris: "The

truth is I have a horror of biographers... If there is one expression in this book of

yours that cannot be read at a confirmation class, you are lost forever. "

Bernard Shaw sent Harris contradictory accounts of his life. He told Harris that

he was "a born philanderer". On another occasion he attempted to explain why

he had little experience of sexual relationships. In 1930 he wrote to Harris: "If

you have any doubts as to my normal virility, dismiss them from your mind. I

was not impotent; I was not sterile; I was not homosexual; and I was extremely

susceptible, though not promiscuously."

A saying of George Bernard Shaw

“The ordinary man is an anarchist. He wants to do as he likes. He may

want his neighbour to be governed, but he himself doesn't want to be

governed. He is mortally afraid of government officials and policemen.”

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This is the first part of my Ebook just published on my blog. The

second part is omitted here for probable copyright regulations in

the United States of America. The second part of my book has the

following title and author:

The Social Significance of the Modern Drama, by Emma


My complete Ebook (Public Domain) can be read and downloaded on

the following Belgian link:


Emma Goldman, The Social Significance of the Modern Drama

(Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1914; The Gorham Press, Boston, U.S.A.)

Just one-hundred years ago

Page 22: Inspiration From Anarchic World Association


This is the contents of the complete Ebook


Inspiration from our Anarchic World Association, by Philippe L. De



History of Ancient and Modern Drama, by Philippe L. De Coster 11

George Bernard Shaw Author and Anarchist 18

The Social Significance of the Modern Drama - Foreword 22


Henrik Ibsen 25

The Pillars of Society 27

A Doll's House 30

Ghosts 34

An Enemy of Society 39

August Strindberg 44

The Father 45

Countess Julie 48

Comrades 52


Hermann Sudermann 56

Magda 57

The Fires of St. John 62

Gerhart Hauptmann 65

Lonely Lives 65

The Weavers 71

The Sunken Bell 76

Frank Wedekind 84

The Awakening of Spring 84


Maurice Maeterlinck 90

Monna Vanna in the fragment Maurice Maeterlinck

Edmond Rostand 95

Chantecler 95

Brieux 100

Damaged Goods 100

Maternity 107 THE ENGLISH DRAMA 115

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George Bernard Shaw 115 Mrs. Warren's Profession 116 Major Barbara 121

John Galsworthy 126 Strife 127 Justice 133 The Pigeon 136

Stanley Houghton 142 Hindle Wakes 142

Githa Sowerby 147 Rutherford and Son 147

THE IRISH DRAMA 155 William Butler Yeats 155 Where There Is Nothing 156

Lenox Robinson 161 Harvest 161

T. G. Murray 164 Maurice Harte 164

THE RUSSIAN DRAMA 167 Leo Tolstoy 168 The Power of Darkness 168

Anton Tchekhof 173 The Seagull 173 The Cherry Orchard 176

Maxim Gorki 178 A Night's Lodging 178

Leonid Andreyev 182 King-Hunger 182

Contents 191

© May 2014, Skull Press Ebook Publications, Ghent, Belgium – Public

Domain and Non Commercial