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Reviews157 assume that Schiller's Mary Stuart was, through the medium of Lebrun's French adaptation 1830) a principal source of Breton's work. But Cañizares' drama, which continued to be performed with noteworthy regularity throughout the eighteenth century in Spain, was almost certainly also used by Bretón de los Herreros. Some of the similarities which caused Professor Paulson to connect Breton's work with the drama of Schiller might be explained by the fact that Bretón was influenced by Cañizares. The latter's inferior play resembles Schiller's masterpiece in certain respects, because both dramatists apparently utilized a common source: Boursault's Marie Stuard. Although Schiller's tragedy differs markedly from the three other dramas studied, in that it is not a work from Romance literature, one hesitates to criticize its inclusion. For Schiller's Maria Stuart is indisputably the most outstanding dramatization composed to date ofthat queen's tragic history. The fact is, however , that Paulson, as he himself admits, adds little to the knowledge and understanding of Schiller's drama with which specialists in German drama have already supplied us. More surprisingly, despite his assurances that he has dedicated more space to Diamante and Boursault than to Schiller, his analyses of La reina María Estuarda (122-40) and Marie Stuard (141-65) are less detailed and, on the whole, less penetrating than his comments on the German drama (167-95). Certainly, he underestimates considerably the artistic quality o. Diamante's play, which, in noteworthy contrast to Cañizares' superficial and sensationalist version, offers an impressively restrained portrayal of Mary's tragic life, and is an almost first-class example of Golden-Age dramatic art. Paulson is currently preparing the first critical edition of Diamante's drama, a task which when completed, will earn him the gratitude of scholars interested in this too little studied and greatly underestimated playwright. Doubtless his critical edition will include a more substantial evaluation of La reina Maria Estuarda than is supplied here. If Professor Paulson had first completed his edition of Diamonte's drama, before undertaking his book on The Queens' Encounter, perhaps he would have accomplished a more searchingly comparative study of Mary Stuart in European Literature. Ann L. Mackenzie Liverpool John Loftis. Renaissance Drama in England and Spain: Topical Allusion and History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987. 281 pp. $34.50. 158BCom, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Summer 1990) In The Spanish Plays of Neoclassical England (Yale, 1973) John Loftis studies the influence of the Spanish comedia on Restoration drama, most notably on selected plays of John Dryden. That influence, as Loftis eloquently describes, is seen primarily in the appropriation of comic plots. English playwrights borrow the mechanics of intrigue, but often substitute wealth for honor as a determining factor of the dramatic action. At times, the Spanish plays reach England via French adaptations. Loftis' earlier work is significant for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its contrast to Renaissance Drama in England and Spain, in which the author notes a negligible influence of Golden Age drama on Tudor and early Stuart plays. The second book is comparative in focus, but it is not a source study. It offers, instead, a look at historical drama in the two countries and at the presence of each nation in the plays of the other. Historical drama, as a rule, is somewhat problematical for the literary critic. A given play may be ceremonial, politically motivated, idealistic rather than realistic. The goal may be to represent the truth or to modify facts for artistic, rhetorical, or ideological purposes. To judge historical plays solely with regard to the criteria of art would seem to ignore the interplay of content and context, just as an evaluation which foregrounded the historicity of texts might tend to undervalue the creative process. Distance from the period in question will place the reader/critic in a different role than the original spectators and this detachment is especially marked in historical drama. Probably for this reason, critical attention to the historical plays of Golden Age Spain has been far less than that devoted to other forms of the comedia. Loftis' study likely will...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 157-159
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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