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HUMANITIES 401 literature and then on Latin (which are unquestionably the best writings), scholars have not for a long time paid enough attention to the celebrated Greek intellectuals of the imperial age; but that is now being done. The books of Professor Bowersock, Augustus and the Greek World and Greek Sophists in the Roman Empire, made an important contribution, showing that behind the intellectual history lies the tale of particular men and families making their political fortunes, first at home and then through links with the court and the emperor. The other dimension of evidence is inscriptions: the lifelong work of Professor Louis Robert provides an inexhaustible quarry for study of the background to what the Greek intellectuals were saying. Their surviving works are not easy to judge fairly today: enclless 'orations' (the modern equivalent is lectures or journalism), which seem irremediably beta-minus. Yet it is necessary to try, because they were taken so seriously in their day. Unfortunately, if any sense is to be made of the intellectual and spiritual development of their authors, these lectures have first to be put in chronological order, on the basis entirely of internal evidence. Jones has important successes to his credit in this struggle; but that his views remain disputable can be seen by comparing the stage in Dio's career assigned by him to the 'Tarsian Orations' with that posited by J.L. Moles in/ournal of Hellenic Studies, 1978. And so long as there is doubt on these matters the danger of'circularargument' is ever present. Many of the topics historians are particularly interested in nowadays (often to the point of eager controversy) come up and are illuminated by Jones in his study of Dio: the extent of intellectual resistance to Rome, for example, and the interrelationships between the late Hellenistic philosophical sects, particularly Stoics and Cynics, and between rhetoric and philosophy. In social history it is the social stratification and class struggle within the cities that come out most clearly - along with the ancient equivalents of rock (citharody), soccer (charioteering), and Billy Graham (Oio). A major study is now wanted, on the basis of these prolegomena (and Jones's would be the pen to provide it), of the immensely complex polygonal relationship between theGreek philosophers and publicists; the Roman upper class who, like Pliny and Tacitus, had friends among them; the plebs, in East and West alike, who were carried away by their eloquence; and the government, which sometimes found this concatenation potentially subversive. (JOHN CROOK) G. Girard, R. Ouellet, C. Rigault. L'Univers du theatre Les Presses universitaires de France 1978. 230 What makes theatre, theatre? Aristotle notwithstanding, the response to this question has long eluded us. The emergence of modern semiotics, however, has led to renewed attempts to solve the riddle. A. Ubersfeld's Lire Ie theatre and P. Pavis's Problemes de semiologie theatrale both play down - Ubersfeld much more cautiously - the strong textual bias of earlier dramaturgic studies, seeking the essence of theatre in the physical actof performance. A trio ofCanadian-based theorists has continued this trend in L'Univers du theatre, a three-sided study of the genre often equated with multifariousness itself, in an attempt to grasp the specificite of drama. Taking the cue from Barthes's description of theatre as 'informational polyphony: and Artaud's rejection of the primacy of text, Part I of L'Univers ('La Representation') considers performance as a multi-layered process of communication in which several media ('Iangages du theatre'). including costumes, sound effects, sets, and the actor's voice, gestures, and movement, function simultaneously. Completing this world of converging sensory perceptions are the character and the dimensions of time and place. Useful as a general description of the components of live drama, Part I does not always offer substantial reformulations of the problems that these pose. Calls for greater terminological precision (in the case of 'dialogue' and 'geste') do not compensate for a pedestrian treatment of 'lieu' in which the Italian stage is compared with theatre-in-the-round to illustrate 'Ia relation scene-salle au theatre' (p "9)' Part II ('Fable et partition') considers theatre from the totally different perspective of the relation between an...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 401-403
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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