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Reviews251 One of O'Quinn's major contributions is his persistence in connecting apparentlydivergent strands ofanalysis.Readers will come awayfrom thebook with a much firmer grasp of the period, its cultural transformations, its peculiar imperial logic, and its varied theatrical developments. Staging Governance is an ambitious and compelling book, notable for its command of divergent fields and discourses, its careful readings, and its theoretical reach; it is also an important book,one that will influence discussions ofRomantic theater,politics, and imperial subjectivity for years to come. Betsy Bolton Swarthmore College Ton Hoenselaars,ed. Shakespeare's HistoryPlays:Performance, Translation, and Adaptation in Britain and Abroad. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pp. xiv + 287.£55.00/$85.00. Like Shakespeare's histories themselves,Ton Hoenselaars'collection Shakespeare's HistoryPlays:Performance, Translation, andAdaptation in Britain andAbroad covers a staggering span ofcultural and geographical terrain.In traversing such spaces, the collection attempts to negotiate some of the tensions found in performance practices marked by instances of alienation, appropriation, and adaptation emerging "between the native and foreign Shakespeare industries" in order to "promote a more finely integrated world Shakespeare" (10). Hoenselaars's representation of that "swelling scene" (Prologue 4), in this way, implicitly confronts a series of questions that are strikingly similar to some of those raised by the Chorus in Henry V: Can this cock-pit hold The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram Within this wooden O the very casques That did affright the air at Agincourt? (Prologue 11-14) For Hoenselaars's collection, these questions might be rephrased: Can the history play, as a unique genre within Shakespeare's canon, "hold" such "vasty" cultural differences, such divergent senses of identity and authority, at the levels of language, text, and performance, while also remaining recognizable as performances of Shakespeare's works per se? The collection opens with a forward by Dennis Kennedy and a series of introductions by Hoenselaars. Beginning with the questions"What is a nation? 252Comparative Drama What is a national history?," Kennedy notes that with a few exceptions, "the history plays and their historical material have held relatively little interest for readers and audiences further afield" (2). He argues that while individual histories can be effective, "it is the perception that they constitute a dramatic series with an internal logic and a grand overplot that gives them special distinction in the world repertoire" (4). Although he locates a significant shift in the production ofthe histories as cycles in Stratford with Peter Hall's 1963 production for the newly founded Royal Shakespeare Company, Kennedy emphasizes what he describes as "foreign leads" (5) in that direction, most notably in the works ofBertolt Brecht and Jan Kott. He posits a significant international influence in the staging and growing significance ofthe histories. Kennedy writes persuasively ofthe potentiallydangerousparadox ofa globalized economythat coincides with "examples of fervent nationalism or of cultural or religious tribalism that seek to close borders, both physical and psychological ones" (7). What is somewhat surprising is that this discussion is not situated within current theories of nationalism and the nation, which traditionally have been designated as "modern " phenomena, in order to address in more explicit terms the ways in which Shakespeare's earlymodern histories may serve to complicate such models. In his introduction to part 1, Hoenselaars focuses on the plays as a genre that foregrounds alienation rather than assimilation. The chapters presented in this section feature discussions ofShakespeare's histories in relation to Ireland, Wales, France, and Japan. Andrew Murphy argues that "Ireland never wholly serves as a truly foreign location," functioning instead "as a kind of liminal space" (42). Focusing on 2 Henry VI, Henry V, the Nine Years War, and the figure ofHugh O'Neill, Murphy explores what he describes as Irish characters' protean relationship with the markers of national identity, concluding with reflections on the ambivalent"integrity" ofthe nation, in light ofthe heterogeneity of the British Isles. Similarly, Lisa Hopkins argues that "it is the doubleedgedness and ambiguity ofWelshness,which offers an English audience a dual position of simultaneous similarity and estrangement" (61). Hopkins emphasizes the additional complication ofgender within the similarity-estrangement rubric she posits, suggesting that"the often-emphasized liminal status ofWales is further...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 251-255
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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