What is to be said of George Polti’s 36 Dramatic Situations except that the number, though even, is odd.
Actually, 36 is not quite accurate, as each situation is broken down into sub-groups. Whatever the number, it is clear that Polti (born in Rhode Island and moved to Paris) wanted his generation to see some opportunity in the more negelected dramatic situations. He hoped situations such as “Being Upon the Point of Slaying a Daugh- ter Unknowingly, by Command of a Divinity or an Oracle” or “A Fatherland Destroyed” or “Hatred of Grandfather for Grandson” could find a modern expression. He wrote:
Such an examination, which requires only patience, will show first the list of combinations (situations and their classes and sub-classes) at present ignored, and which remain to be exploited in contemporaneous art, second,how these may be adapted.
Ambitious (desperate) writers will do their best to make the most of Polit’s catalog. But I will tell you there is far too little written on his wikipedia page. Anyone sad that all the good entries have been written should scramble to their nearest university library.
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