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caused innumerable tragedies in history; and the function of the People's Theater, far from encouraging sluggishness of mind, is to combat it unceasingly, in presenting to the people only what they are able to understand.

And besides, Corneille's whole dramatic system is antagonistic to the popular audience. He offers them a minimum of pleasure. There are few characters, few events, and no scenic trappings: a plot developed through abstract speeches. His plays are based upon the old Humanities, Latin discourses, legal discussions, and bourgeois rhetoric. There is nothing to attract the living people who suffer because of their cramped position. There is nothing for their avid and childlike imagination. One feels that Corneille's art is the expression of a society "of dry imagination and rigid reason,"[1] which is absolutely opposed to the people. This is strikingly demonstrated in the ideas, the subjects, even the characters, many of whom seem foreign and utterly strange. I do not necessarily mean the mad fury of certain characters, the sharp edge of which is now dulled; or the stone-age passions—the "point of honor," for instance (more striking still in the Spanish plays, leading the heroes of Calderon to the commission of absurdly atrocious crimes). Nor do I refer to those dead parts of the soul revealed by the poet, the insufferable gallantry and cold politeness of love-making now so hopelessly outmoded. The very essence of Corneille's art is

  1. Gustave Lanson.