Bentley, Eric

Bentley, Eric (Eric Russell Bentley), 1916–2020, American critic, editor, and translator, b. Bolton, England, grad. Oxford, 1938, Ph.D. Yale, 1941. He became a U.S. citizen in 1948. A highly regarded and rigorously intellectual critic, particularly of the drama, Bentley wrote such works as A Century of Hero-Worship (1944), The Playwright as Thinker (1946), Bernard Shaw (1947), What Is Theatre? (1956), The Life of the Drama (1964), The Importance of Scrutiny (1964), Theatre of War (1972), Brecht Commentaries (1981), Thinking about the Playwright (1987), and Bentley on Brecht (1998). He is also known for his translations of plays by Bertolt Brecht and Luigi Pirandello and for his editions of collected plays, including The Classic Theatre (4 vol., 1958–61). He was the drama critic for the New Republic from 1952 to 1956 and also wrote for other publications. He taught at Columbia from 1952 to 1969, and at several other universities before and after. Also a playwright, Bentley wrote a number of plays beginning in the late 1960s, on a wide variety of subjects including Galileo, Oscar Wilde, and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

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