Literary Birthday – 14 September – Eric Bentley

Eric Bentley was born 14 September 1916 and died 5 August 2020.

Seven Quotes

  1. Ours is the age of substitutes: Instead of language we have jargon; instead of principles, slogans; and instead of genuine ideas, bright suggestions.
  2. Like dreams, farces show the disguised fulfilment of repressed wishes.
  3. If melodrama is the quintessence of drama, farce is the quintessence of theatre. Melodrama is written. A moving image of the world is provided by a writer. Farce is acted. The writer’s contribution seems not only absorbed but translated…. One cannot imagine melodrama being improvised. The improvised drama was pre-eminently farce.
  4. A play has two authors, the playwright and the actor.
  5. Literature deals with morality but does not necessarily… help you to be more moral, either by precept or example. It makes you more aware. Which is to say that it makes you more human by making life more, not less, difficult. When you become more aware, the area of moral choice is widened. You can be a better man; you can also be a worse. Literature will not determine which. It is the equivalent of neither grace nor good works.
  6. If one truly has lost hope, one would not be on hand to say so.
  7. Anybody who writes a real play that is a performable thing is creating present theatre, even if they refuse to perform it.

Eric Russell Bentley was a British-born American critic, playwright, singer, editor and translator. He wrote The Life of the DramaThe Playwright as Thinker, and Bernard Shaw.

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 14th September 2017