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December 19 , 2008

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations (New Edition)


The prefaces of many books are more enduring than the letter-press they introduce. It is as if an author's after-thoughts more nearly express his real thoughts than his well-considered, neatly planned succession of chapters. The reason for this, though a natural one, came to me only as I read and re-read the proofs of "The Thirty-six Dramatic Situations": as an author's work is unrolled before him in the type of the galley-proofs, the first sight of the printed words induces a freshness of mind that is near relative to the fine frenzy of first conception; added to this mental freshness there is a maturity-for are not months of thought behind the chapters of the work?-that makes the author's thoughts as grandparents with the enthusiasms of youth. In the prefaces, then, the authors find outlets to express their own reactions to their own thoughts.

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