In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews141 while Cynthia Marshall explores"Orders ofFantasy"in the play. Sadly,Marshall is one oftwo significant scholars connected with this project (the other being James R. Andreas) who passed away before the book was published. The book amounts, however, to a fitting monument not only to these two scholars but also to thebest aspects ofthewhole scholarlyenterprise in general.Any serious student of Shakespeare's play (whether a beginning undergraduate or a seasoned Ph.D.) should find much of real worth in the pages of this satisfying volume. Robert C. Evans Auburn UniversityMontgomery Philip Butterworth. Magic on the Early English Stage. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Pp. xxii + 295. $85.00. Philip Butterworth is rapidlyestablishing himselfas the pre-eminent authority on special effects on the medieval stage. In his first book, Theatre of Fire (Society for Theatre Research, 1998), he introduced us to the practicalities of pyrotechnic and other special sound and light effects in earlyEnglish and Scottish theater. In his second book, Magic on the EarlyEnglish Stage, he now investigates magical tricks, illusions, appearances, and puppets on the early English stage (and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in Europe and even, in one instance, in China). Butterworth is also currently editing a volume ofessays, The Narrator, theExpositor, and thePrompterin European Medieval Theatre, for Brepols, and, with Joslin McKinney,completing The CambridgeIntroduction to Scenography. His approach is cautious, scholarly, and thorough. In Magic on the EarlyEnglish Stage, Butterworth begins by carefully defining his terms. Although conjuring is now "the principal term ... used to encompass magical activity," this word, he tells us,"was not used in its current sense in England until the nineteenth century" (2). The more common term for many centuries was juggling, whose meaning is now confined to "throw[ing] up objects from one hand to another in a continuous rhythmical sequence without dropping them to the floor," but which, until the nineteenth century, was the common term for the performance of all kinds of magical tricks. Other terms were "tregetry, legerdemaine, prestigiation, . .. feats, feats of activity, and sleight of hand" (3). In chapter 1, Butterworth introduces by name several "jugglers" whose careers can be pieced together from the surviving records. Among these are 142ComparativeDrama Thomas Brandon, first mentioned in Chichester in 1517-18 and first called the "joculatori domini regis" (the lord king's juggler) in Shrewsbury in 1520-22. When not performing for the king, Brandon traveled under royal license throughout the southern half of England, from Kent to Worcester and from Cambridge to Cornwall. One of his tricks involved stabbing a painting of a pigeon while pointing to a Uve pigeon perched on a rooftop, apparently causing the real pigeon to fall "from the top ofthe house starke dead" (13). The trick, it is reported, involved a well-timed administration of poison to the pigeon beforehand . Brandon is last mentioned in the records in 1536-37. Another king's juggler was William Vincent, alias Hocus Pocus, who flourished between 1619 and 1642 and is mentioned by his pseudonym in several Jacobean stage plays. Vincent was well known for "his apparent ability to swallow and expel daggers from his mouth" (23). Chapter 2 examines "feats of activity," including "juggling, tumbling, and dancing on the rope" (26). Here we learn that the modern piece of gymnastic equipment known as a vaultinghorse derives its name from a "feat of activity" that required thejuggler to vault and to perform acrobatic tricks on a live horse. Two printed illustrations from 1652 are provided (36-37). We also learn that many of the rope dancers were (or, at least billed themselves as) Turks (47). Since we know from other sources, such as the lavish illustrations in The Book ofFestivities ofAhmedJ//(1720),that rope walking was popular at the Turkish court, it is probable that "Turkish" ropewalkers in England bear witness to the influence of performance traditions from the Muslim world on the European repertoire.One ofthe more spectacular rope tricks was that recorded in Hertford in the eighteenth century.A man with a wooden leg descended"with incredible swiftness" from the top of the church tower, lying belly-down on a grooved board balanced across a taut rope and...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 141-144
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.