Page:The thirty-six dramatic situations (1921).djvu/12

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THIRTY-SIX DRAMATIC SITUATIONS

plete civilizations should have evolved their own particular conception of the drama, and that one of these new conceptions should be revealed by each new evolution of society, whence arises the dim but faithful expectation of our own age, waiting for the manifestation of its own dramatic ideals, before the cenotaphs of an art which has long been, apparently for commercial reasons, almost non-existent.

In fine, after having brought together all these dramatic "points of view," we shall see, as in a panorama, the great procession of our race, in characteristic motley costumes:- Hindu kings in their chariots, Chinese gallants playing their mandores, nude heroes of Hellas, legendary knights, adventurers of sword and cape, golden-tressed princesses, nymphs sparkling with gems, shy maids with drooping eyelashes, famed courtesans, chaste Athenian virgins, priestly confessors, chattering gossips, gurus expounding religious ideas, satyrs leaping upon goats' feet, ugly slaves, peris, horned devils in disguise, lisping Tartaglias, garrulous Graciosos, Shakespearean clowns, Hugoesque buffoons, magistrates, immobile Buddhist ascetics, white-robed sacrificers, martyrs with shining aureoles, too-crafty Ulysses, frightful Rakchasas, messengers dispersing calamitous tidings to the winds of heaven, pure-hearted youths, blood-stained madmen,—yes, here it assembles, our humanity, here it moves through its periods of greatest intensity—but presenting always one of the facets of the prism possessed by Gozzi.

These thirty-six facets, which I have undertaken to recover, should obviously be simple and clean, and of no far-fetched character; of this we shall be convinced after seeing them repeated, with unfailing distinctness, in all epochs and in all genres. The reader will find, in my brief exposition, but twelve hundred examples cited, of which about a thousand are taken from the stage; but in this number I have included works the most dissimilar and the most celebrated, nearly all others being but mosaics of these. There will here be found the principal dramas of China, of India, of Judea, and, rued less to say, of the Greek theater. However, instead