Article Title

Harley Granville-Barker and the Response to Spanish Theater, 1920-1932


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The virtual disappearance of Harley Granville-Barker from an active role in the English theater after 1906 or 1907 has provided a constant source of speculation and regret. This speculation has often laid the blame on Granville-Barker's second wife, Helen, whose wealth was said to have removed the necessity for hard labor in the wings and whose own literary interests supposedly sidetracked her husband into unworthy projects. These unworthy projects were the translation of a number of contemporary Spanish plays between 1920 and 1932. Was this an effacement of Granville-Barker in an activity that took its meaning for him precisely because it was a denial of the literary scene in which he had labored so hard and at times so frustratedly? Or was it an attempt to track what it was in the theater that was significant by immersing himself in an alien theatrical tradition, seeking some theatrical presence beyond local forms? Although assessments on his activity have been generally negative, it seems that the latter explanation offers a better explanation of Granville-Barker's involvement in translating Spanish plays than the somewhat atavistic reading of his wife as literary succubus.

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