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STANLEY HOUGHTON (1881-1913)

The following biography was originally published in The British and American Drama of Today. Barrett H. Clark. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1915. p. 147.

Stanley Houghton was born at Ashton-upon-Mersey, in 1881. In 1897 he entered his father's office in Manchester, where he worked until 1912, as a salesman. The success of the production of Hindle Wakes that year led him to forsake the security of business for the uncertainties of a dramatist's existence. In 1913 he went to Paris, fell ill, recovered, returned to London in June. On his return to Paris, on the way to Venice, he fell ill again. After an attack of influenza and appendicitis, in Italy, he was brought to Manchester, where, in December, he died.

At the time of his death Houghton was one of the most promising of the younger generation of British dramatists. While it is true that Hindle Wakes is his finest achievement, his other plays -- Independent Means and The Younger Generation especially -- are by no means negligible. Houghton was seeking for liberty of thought, rather than liberty of dramatic form, but he never distorted that form for the sake of the idea. He had a distinct sense of the theater, a remarkable gift for dialogue, and keen insight into human character.


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