BL. W. B. Yeats

9. ‘The Theatre of Beauty’. Harper’s Weekly, 11 November 1911, p. 11.

  Reprinted in Uncollected Prose, vol. 2.  

In a discussion of stage properties and scenery that will create beauty and ‘illusion’, in contrast to ‘realistic’ designs, Yeats again turns to ‘the Japanese’ as a model for his own dramatic aims (see also 7). While certain modern methods ‘give one a beautiful, realistic effect’, they ‘aim to do what the Japanese theatre has always considered an impossibility. In Japan an interior will be exactly represented, because it can be reproduced on the stage so as to be indistinguishable from what is in a house; but an exterior is only suggested. For instance, the Japanese will represent the sea by surrounding not only the stage but the auditorium with the well-known Japanese wave pattern. Being a writer of poetic drama, and of tragic drama, desiring always pattern and convention, I would like to keep to suggestion, to symbolism, to pattern like the Japanese’. The discussion leading to this draws largely on Craig’s dramatic theories (see D17), but without naming Craig. Originally an address presented at Harvard University on 5 October 1911. Reprinted in 55.





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