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.nU1VU1.1... .t..t..t..o., .q.U/ Or one can savour the affair of the cake bread, when a woman from Boroughbridge, in Lent 1503, was fined for selling underweight bread in York. Shortly thereafter a fellow Boroughbridgian, selling lumber in York, was made to pay the usual 3d to the Carpenters' pageant, and the result was a nasty series of incidents in which craftsmen of York were systematically robbed and harassed while passing through Boroughbridge . The records are full of colourful moments like these. These York records, then, are rich in readily retrievable information, and they preserve a kind of liveliness one has no right to expect in such materials. They have already given rise to Significant scholarship on the religiOUS plays and processions of York and, be it noted, to a heroic processional performance of the play of Corpus Christi at the University of Toronto in 1977. There are no doubt errors here and there, but those I detect (an incorrect first name in the index; a slight misquotation in the introduction) are apparently few and minor. In all, this is an impressive first step towards completion of a major work of scholarship. I wish the design of the volumes had been altered to name Alexandra Johnston and Margaret Rogerson on the covers. They deserve the recognition. (G.B . SHAND) Peter M. Daly. Literature in the Light of the Emblem University of Toronto Press. 245, illus. $17.50 This book completes a decade of studies in which Peter Daly has considered the emblem, either in itself or in its services to given works of English or German literature. It in tum anticipates a 'critical theory of the emblem genre: which Daly here promises (p 192). Daly has thus gained a dominant position in North American studies of the emblem. He seems likely to achieve primacy. The title, which is more Janus-facing than it may appear to be, applies better to method than to matter. We do not in fact receive a single thesis 'in the light of' which we may see some literature (certainly not all) and some emblems (probably not all) in a nuclear, or syncretic, or crossreferential relationship. Instead, we are given in effect two distinct although not unrelated studies. The first deals mainly with origins and definitions of the emblem. The other demonstrates some of the uses to which elements of the emblem have been put in the genres of poetry, drama, and prose narrative. In the first, and less successful, of these two considerations Daly sets out to define the origins of emblem books and, through them, the emblem itself. Although he treads some well-marked paths, he also directs much-needed attention to the work of Albrecht Schone in EmblemaHk und Drama in Zeitalter des Barock. To initiate his own definition he writes at length of what he calls the 'word-emblem: The com- 408 LETTERS IN CANADA 1979 pound intimates a purely lexical equivalent, or equivalents, or the emblem's picture, word, and poem. Like many other inventions in critical terminology, 'word-emblem' raises almost as many problems as it retires. In particular, it seems to invite de-picturization and de- 'inscription' of the emblem. In something of the same way Daly asserts that his definition is grounded, or groundable, in 'phenomenology and typology' (pp 64 ff) under which such concerns as the ontology, semantic nature, structure, and purpose of the emblem may be subsumed. Perhaps his promised study of the emblem as genre will provide substance for what is now little more than a roll-call of honorific rubrics. Although these chapters of definition are informative, they are often awkward in organization and somewhat laboured in expression. Daly is far more successful in his second general consideration: partial generic surveys of 'emblematic poetry,' 'emblematic drama,' and 'emblematic narrative prose.' He conclusively shows that emblematic effects are so prevalent in major works in all those genres during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that they must be considered to be central and determinative, nor merely allusive and ornamental. No longer will it be acceptable to treat the emblem as the stuff - crude in drawing, banal in moralistic inscription, bathetic in poetry...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 407-408
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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