Yes, plays that don't seem tailored to our current sensibilities in tone or language are often relegated as expired or extinct. And anything that does miraculously happen to engage us even if it was written before we were born is paid the backhanded compliment of being "ahead of its time."
On the contrary: when we encounter, say, late Victorian exposes of corrupt business practices (The Voysey Inheritance) or studies of mental illness in time of war (Woyzeck) is it not we who are behind their times? Perhaps if we were not so quick to dismiss old texts as "dated" we might learn more from the past and not repeat its mistakes.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
On "Dated" Texts
Garret Eisler on revivals: