Date of Award

Fall 1942

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The Purpose of this thesis is to make an analysis and criticism of the plays of Sir Walter Besant (1836-1901). No such analysis and criticism has yet appeared, for Besant's plays were never presented upon the public stage, nor after their publication, so far as I can discover, was any criticism written. It is impossible, therefore, to relate these plays to the drama of the late nineteenth century, for an amatuerish and purely literary productions they can have only the scantiest connection with the century's drama. As Besant's purpose in his volume of plays makes it clear, he has here attempted to create a new type of drama--the drawing-room play. He has found it wise to disregard the conventions of the public stage and to attempt to work out new principles of dramatic construction. My study attempts to evaluate these plays as literary productions, my analysis stressing for that purpose characterization, dialogue, and reality of situation.