Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity as setting standards for taste which the classicist seeks to emulate. Classicism is usually contrasted with romanticism; the art of classicism typically seeks to be formal, restrained, and Apollonian rather than Dionysiac, in Friedrich Nietzsche's well known opposition.
In the theatre
- Unity of time referred to the need for the entire action of the play to take place in a fictional 24-hour period
- Unity of place was as it sounds, the action had to unfold in a single location
- Unity of action meant that the play should be constructed around a single 'plot-line', such as a tragic love affair or a conflict between honour and duty.
The language also had to be of the most exalted kind, excluding 'low-life' characters and smutty jokes.
Classicists did not approve of Shakespeare, who broke all these rules and plenty more.
Examples of classicist playwrights:
Victor Hugo was among the first French playwrights to break these conventions.
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