This book, which was originally published in 1976, is an interpretation of the thought of the major neo-classical dramatic critics in Italy, France and England during the period 1560 1770. Commentary is based in every case on a careful reading of original texts (by, for instance, Scaliger, Castelvetro, Corneille, D' Aubignac, Dryden, Johnson, Diderot, Mercier), which have been translated by the authors where necessary and are liberally quoted, and leads to the conclusion that neo-classicism found its natural fulfilment in nineteenth-century naturalism. Far from being academic, artificial, doctrinaire or rigid - pejorative terms usually applied to them - the neo-classical critics were asking fundamental questions about the nature of drama. The book attempts to 'place' a selection of early European dramatic criticism in a fresh context. It brings together a good deal of information not available elsewhere and presents it in a form which non-specialist readers will find easy to assimilate and which specialists will find stimulating as a sophisticated critical interpretation of neo-classicism."