The only rival of the novel is the drama; and for some reason or other the Victorian age was singularly poor in this branch of literature.
“It may have been that drama requires the concentration of the intellectual life of a nation in one place, as the life of France is now concentrated in Paris, or as that of England was in London in the times of Shakespeare, Congreve and Sheridan.
It may simply have been that the people with dramatic genius did not think of the stage because fie novel could command a much larger audience with much less trouble. Whatever the cause, however, the drama plays but a small part in the literature of the period “. A number of poets wrote poetical dramas which had literary value, but were unsuited for the stage.
Tennyson’s plays were acted, but have not kept the stage. The same is true of Browning’s plays; though their dramatic value is higher than those of Tennyson’s and in Mr. Burrell’s words, they “entitle the author to the very first place amongst those dramatists of the century who have labored nether enormous disadvantage of being poets of start with.” Of the commercially successful dramatists of the age. Bulwer Lytton and Charles Reade have a place in literature, but as novelists rather than as dramatists. The revival of drama came only with last few years of the century.