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Bentley, Eric

Eric Bentley, 1916–, American critic, editor, and translator, b. Bolton, England, grad. Oxford, 1938, Ph.D. Yale, 1941. A highly regarded and rigorously intellectual critic, particularly of the drama, Bentley is the author of 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 taught at Columbia, where he was a professor until 1969, and several other universities. Also a playwright, Bentley has written about a number of plays since the 1970s, on a wide variety of subjects including Galileo, Oscar Wilde, and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

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