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NEW YORK: PUBLISHED BY HURD AND HOUGHTON. Cambridge: The Riverside Press.

1876.

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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by

TICKNOB AND FIELDS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

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LITERARY CRITICISM.

THEORY OF GREEK TRAGEDY.

THE Greek tragedy is a dark problem. We cannot say that the Greek drama is such in any more comprehensive sense ; for the comedy of Greece depends essentially upon the same principles as our own. Comedy, as the reflex of the current of social life, will shift in correspondence to the shifting movements of civilization. Inevitably as human intercourse in cities grows more refined, comedy will grow more subtle ; it will build itself on distinctions of character less grossly defined, and on features of manners more delicate and impalpable. But the fundus, the ultimate resource, the well-head of the comic, must forever be sought in the same field, namely, the ludicrous of incident, or the ludicrous of situation, or the ludicrous which arises in a mixed way between the character and the situation. The age of Aristophanes, for example, answered, in some respects, to our own earliest dramatic era, namely, from 1588 to 1635,- an age not (as Dr. Johnson assumes it to have been, in his elaborate preface to Shakspeare) rude or gross; on the contrary, far more intense with intellectual instincts and agencies

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