Article Title

South African Drama in English


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

Of the three arts forms-poetry, prose fiction, and drama-drama is still the Cinderella of South African literature. The nineteenth century produced only two real plays, and rather poor ones at that, while the first half of the twentieth century, though it produced many more, offers few that are likely to survive on merit. Indeed it has been suggested that "The rise of the cinema at the beginning of the 20th century, particularly in the years following the First World War, meant from about 1925 till 1945 nearly complete disappearance of English professional drama in South Africa."1 In the years thereafter, however, there has been a resurgence of productivity, particularly in plays we might categorise as Political, Social Problem, and Propaganda. The renewed effort in this area of .our national literature suggests the latent promise of a Cinderella even as it reflects the neglect: there is, for example, no public or university library in the Transvaal that holds such recent and significant dramatic works . as Alan Paton's Sponono, Basil Warner's Try for White, or Arthur Ashdowne's Squadron X. That list could be expanded considerably, and doubtless many of these are held in private collections, but my point-even my pleais that these monuments of our national heritage deserve preservation by our public institutions. For, if I am right, and not too fond a dreamer, our recent productivity gives every promise of a renaissance in South African drama in English.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.