"One of the tragedies of life is that one usually likes precisely those things which one despises oneself for liking. It's the same in love; more often than not, you're quite sure that the person you're in love with is stupid or dull or worthless or all of them at once, but – one is in love just the same. All dramatic criticism is a battle between the things your emotions approve of and the things you're cultivated tastes know to be ridiculous. Usually the emotions win – not only in the low-brows but the aesthetes too. I'm afraid I'm heretic enough to suggest that it's just as unworthy to be carried away by Hamlet as it is by Peter Pan. In fact they do seem to me to be rather similar.
"But we're all the same. We're all as bad as one another. During the last 20 years I have watched plays everywhere when I have nothing better to do. I'm quite certain of the plays I admire. I'm sure that there is no better play in the world than The Cherry Orchard. But do you know the play I have the most vivid memories of? La Dame aux Camelias. It's one of the worst plays ever written, of course. And yet I was affected by it more than anything else I've ever seen. I saw Duse as Marguerite. In Rome it was, a long time ago. I don't even think she was a great actress – at least she may have been great in her style – but I'm certain that the style's all wrong. But I shall never enjoy anything like that again. I had taken someone I was in love with – that helps, of course.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
All dramatic criticism is a battle between the things your emotions approve of and the things you're cultivated tastes know to be ridiculous
From Death Under Sail by C.P. Snow. Page 135.