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Determining Sex
A great deal of attention, both scientific and other, has been given to the subject of the predetermination of sex. The majority of people feel that they would like to have the power to say to which sex their child should belong.
Menopause, Or The Change Of Life
Instead of looking upon the change of life as a lessening of her usefulness rather should the woman consider it an extension of her field of activity.
How To Build Vigorous Womanhood
BEFORE the great world war took so many of the male members of society away from their various occupations to the struggle of the battlefield, most people still had in their heads the time-worn idea that woman is the weaker sex and should not think of laying claim to the possession of vigor or muscular strength.
Improving And Beautifying The Bust
IF there is one feature in respect to which nearly all women are most interested in improving and beautifying themselves, it is in the matter of bust development. And furthermore, if there is any one particular in which the majority of women need improvement more than another, it is in this very respect.
Exercise For Womanly Strength
One of the greatest benefits to be derived from exercise is that of keeping the joints flexible. If only enough exercise is taken daily to ensure the free movement of very joint, including those of the spine, the benefits will be great.
Introduction to Playmaking
There are no rules for writing a play. It is easy, indeed, to lay down negative recommendations — to instruct the beginner how not to do it. But most of these dont's are rather obvious; and those which are not obvious are apt to be questionable.
The Choice of a Theme
The first step towards writing a play is manifestly to choose a theme. Even this simple statement, however, requires careful examination before we can grasp its full import. What, in the first place, do we mean by a theme? And, secondly, in what sense can we, or ought we to, choose one.
Dramatic and Undramatic
The plain truth seems to be that conflict is one of the most dramatic elements in life, and that many dramas — perhaps most — do, as a matter of fact, turn upon strife of one sort or another. But it is clearly an error to make conflict indispensable to drama, and especially to insist that the conflict must be between will and will.
The Routine of Composition
It is sometimes said that a playwright ought to construct his play backwards, and even to write his last act first. This doctrine belongs to the period of the well-made play, when climax was regarded as the one thing needful in dramatic art, and anticlimax as the unforgivable sin.
Dramatis Personae
The theme being chosen, the next step will probably be to determine what characters shall be employed in developing it. Most playwrights, I take it, draw up a provisional Dramatis Personae before beginning the serious work of construction.
Shakespeare and Isben
Though, as we have already noted, the writing of plays does not always follow the chronological sequence of events, in discussing the process of their evolution we are bound to assume that the playwright begins at the beginning, and proceeds in orderly fashion, by way of the middle, to the end.
Under modern conditions, it is difficult to produce a play of very complex psychological, moral, or emotional substance, in which the whole crisis comes within the frame of the picture.
The First Act
Both in the theory and in practice, war has been declared in certain quarters against the division of a play into acts. Students of the Elizabethan stage have persuaded themselves, by what I believe to be a complete misreading of the evidence, that Shakespeare did not, as it were, think in acts, but conceived his plays as continuous series of events, without any pause or intermission in their flow.
Curiosity and Interest
The paradox of dramatic theory is this : while our aim is, of course, to write plays which shall achieve immortality, or shall at any rate become highly popular, and consequently familiar in advance to a considerable proportion of any given audience, we are all the time studying how to awaken and to sustain that interest, or, more precisely, that curiosity, which can be felt only by those who see the play for the first time, without any previous knowledge of its action.
Foreshadowing, Not Forestalling
Each act, as we have seen, should consist of, or at all events contain, a subordinate crisis, contributory to the main crisis of the play. The art of act-construction lies in giving to each act an individuality and interest of its own, without so rounding it off as to obscure even for a moment its subsidiary, and, in the case of the first act, its introductory, relation to the whole.
Tension and Its Suspension
The first act may be regarded as the porch or vestibule through which we pass into the main fabric—solemn or joyous, fantastic or austere — of the actual drama. Sometimes, indeed, the vestibule is reduced to a mere threshold which can be crossed in two strides ; but normally the first act, or at any rate the greater part of it, is of an introductory character.
WE shall find, on looking into it, that most of the technical maxims that have any validity may be traced back, directly or indirectly, to the great principle of tension. The art of construction is summed up, first, in giving the mind of an audience something to which to stretch forward, and, secondly, in not letting it feel that it has stretched forward in vain.
The Obligatory Scene
We see, then, that there is such a thing as a false scène à faire — a scene which at first sight seems obligatory, but is in fact much better taken for granted.
The Peripety
A famous peripety of the romantic order occurs in H.M.S. Pinafore, where, on the discovery that Captain Corcoran and Ralph Rackstraw have been changed at birth, Ralph instantly becomes captain of the ship, while the captain declines into an able-bodied seaman.
Probability, Chance and Coincidence
ARISTOTLE indulges in an often-quoted paradox to the effect that, in drama, the probable impossible is to be preferred to the improbable possible. With all respect, this seems to be a some-what cumbrous way of stating the fact that plausibility is of more importance on the stage than what may be called demonstrable probability.
THE term logic is often very vaguely used in relation to drama. French writers especially, who regard logic as one of the peculiar faculties of their national genius, are apt to insist upon it in and out of season.
Keeping a Secret
So far as I can see, the strongest reason against keeping a secret is that, try as you may, you cannot do it.
Climax and Anticlimax
IF it were as easy to write a good last act as a good first act, we should be able to reckon three masterpieces for every one that we can name at present. The reason why the last act should offer special difficulties is not far to seek.
For two reasons. The lesser, but not negligible, reason is that we possess no convenient English word for the unknotting or disentangling of a complication. Dénouement itself cannot be plausibly Anglicized, and no native word has as yet, by common consent, been accepted as its equivalent.
Blind-Alley Themes and Others
A BLIND–ALLEY theme, as its name imports, is one from which there is no exit. It is a problem incapable of solution, or, rather, of which all possible solutions are equally unsatisfactory and undesirable.
Full Close
IN an earlier chapter, I have tried to show that a certain tolerance for anticlimax, for a fourth or fifth act of calm after the storm of the penultimate act, is consonant with right reason, and is a practically inevitable result of a really intimate relation between drama and life.
Character and Psychology
FOR the invention and ordering of incident it is possible, if not to lay down rules, at any rate to make plausible recommendations; but the power to observe, to penetrate, and to reproduce character can neither be acquired nor regulated by theoretical recommendations.
Dialogue and Details
THE extraordinary progress made by the drama of the English language during the past quarter of a century is in nothing more apparent than in the average quality of modern dialogue.
Marriage Customs Of India
IT is doubtful whether the Vedas and other ancient sacred books of the Hindus countenance the polygamy which prevails among the richer classes in India, and against this degradation of the sex Hindu marriage ceremonies, which have descended from remote ages, make their constant, albeit useless, protest.
Marriage Customs Of Burma
In Burma there are no child-marriages, and the people seem happy in their domestic affairs. Although girls are considered to be the property of their parents, they are very seldom constrained to marry a man against their will.
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