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[259] his own boyhood and his perception that the childmind lingers in every adult reader. Genius has often been called the gift of prolonged adolescence, and in this sense, surely, there was genius in the warm and gentle heart of this fortunate provincial who held that “old Indianapolis” was “high Heaven's sole and only under-study.” No one has ever had the audacity to say that of New York.

We have had American drama for one hundred and fifty years,1 but much of it, like our popular fiction and poetry, has been subliterary, more interesting to the student of social life and national character than to literary criticism in the narrow sense of that term. Few of our best known literary men have written for the stage. The public has preferred melodrama to poetic tragedy, although perhaps the greatest successes have been scored by plays which are comedies of manners rather than melodrama, and character studies of various American types, built up around the known capabilities of a particular actor. The twentieth century has witnessed a marked activity in play-writing, in the technical study of the drama,

1 Representative American plays, edited by Arthur Hobson Quinn, N. Y., 1917.

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