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146Philosophy and Literature Role Playing and Identity is divided into three sections. In Part One, "Theatre and the Reality of Appearance," Wilshire explores "the hypothesis that great theatre is revealingly life-like" (p. 44). In order to substantiate his view "that standing in and authorization is the essential theatrical theme" (p. 44), he treats two illustrative sets of dramatic variations —on the one hand, plays by Sophocles (Oedipus Rex), Shakespeare (Hamlet), and Beckett (Waitingfor Godot); on the other, plays by Ionesco (The Chairs), Robert Wilson (A Letterfor Queen Victoria), andJerzy Grotowski (Apocalypsis cum Figuris). In Part Two, "Reality and the Self," the author changes the thrust of his investigation. Now theatre is shown to illuminate the theatre-like in our daily lives. In Part Three, "The Limits ofAppearance and the Limits of Theatrical Metaphor," he indicates where the process of reciprocad analogizing stops. In the domain of literary analysis many insights are disclosed, but there are also a few disappointments. Although the patient weighing of evidence is one of the most salient merits of the study, Wilshire's reading of Godot seems a bit hasty. For instance, Vladimir and Estragon do not merely await Godot's arrival (see pp. 76, 221); Wilshire appears to be too greatly influenced by the English rendition of the play's tide — in French it is En attendant Godot: from the outset one is alerted to watch for what happens while the characters wait for Godot to appear. To say of Didi and Gogò that "their lives are flat and pointless (beyond the waiting)" (p. 76), is to impose on them an extraliterary code of values. It can be reasonably argued, on the contrary, that their preoccupations constitute a special kind of salvation — as Estragon states in Act II, "We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?" Similarly — as Wilshire acknowledges — not everyone will agree with his assessment of the ultimate import of The Chairs: "Beneath the chirping and carping foreground figures of farce is the somber base note of tragedy" (p. 112). But such quibbling about details of interpretation cannot vitiate the profound significance of the elucidating vision that underlies the book. Although this remarkable study does touch on "the limits of theatre as metaphor," it above all demonstrates the perdurable relevance of excellent works of art by speaking urgently and eloquently of the many vital connections linking theatrical experience with human life as we know and seek to know it. Ohio UniversityRichard Danner Literature and Ideology, edited by Harry R. Garvin and James M. Heath; 186 pp. Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Bucknell University Press for the Bucknell Review, 1982, $15.00. From an exploratory definition of the term "ideology" to a new semiotic interpretation of a photograph previously analyzed by Roland Barthes, this collection of nine essays offers a variety of viewpoints well worth sampling. The first section, "Writers and Ideology ," discusses the influence of an author's political ideals on his writing — specifically George Orwell (by David M. Zehr) and the Auden group (by Thomas Mallon). The second and more theoretical section, "Critics and Ideology," deals with the influence of the Reviews147 critic's own ideology on his criticism. The final section, "Women and Ideology," takes up both women writers and feminist critics. This somewhat artificial organization, seeming to imply that women are neither "writers" nor "critics," is perhaps unavoidable in a theme issue of a journal. The first section will be of interest to literary historians, the second to critical theorists, the third to feminist scholars. The national literatures involved are mainly English, American, and French. One exception is James H. Kavanagh's "'To the Same Defect': Toward a Critique of the Ideology of the Aesthetic," which draws on sources from Aristotle and Plato to Macherey and Balibar as the author traces the ideology of the aesthetic to what he believes to be its near demise in the present, when it has become "the social analogue of religion in our secular age" (p. 120). His analysis of the workers' dramatic production in A MidsummerNight's Dream neatly pinpoints it as an example of the emerging bourgeois aesthetic. In one of the longer and more provocative essays, "Billy Budd...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 146-147
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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