The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.XVIII. The Drama, 18601918
§ 23. The Publication of Plays
Then, later on, the reverse process began. Though plays were being published and widely read by an audience trained in the special ability required—through a visualizing imagination—to get the most from the play form, it has been a long and arduous road to persuade American playwrights to publish their plays, even though they saw what good results followed the publication of British and Continental drama. Rather did they prefer to see their plays converted by some literary juggler into a novel, with the dialogue embedded in narrative and explanatory matter furnished by others. Long before any of the plays of Belasco, Broadhurst, Klein, Walter, and others were printed, they were thus “novelized” and read by a fiction public. But the custom is abating somewhat in favour of retaining the integrity of the play form.