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humanities 249 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 assessment of various aspects of Rankin=s life and work. Indeed, it is hard to tell just what audience this book is intended for. Academics will not find it a work of sophisticated historiography, but the causal reader will not find in the book a clear and compelling narrative. Oddly, the most authoritative voice on Rankin to emerge from these pages is that of Amy Leslie, who is given the book=s last word. The value of Beasley=s work is that it is a mine of information about an extraordinary person. Rankin was connected with most of the major names of American popular culture of his day, working with Forrest, Boucicault, Jefferson, Daly. He was especially intimate with the Barrymores (his daughter married Lionel) and embroiled with Belasco and the Shuberts, with whom he feuded financially. D.W. Griffith, who began as a young actor in Rankin=s company, made one movie from a play, Judith of Bethulia, that he saw staged by Rankin, who was expert in directing crowd scenes. Rankin=s plays were attended by the likes of Brigham Young (surrounded by forty of his children). And Rankin performed around the globe for cosmopolitan audiences and audiences who brought their guns into the theatre. The book never explicitly justifies its title The Heyday of the American Theater, which appears again only in the book=s epigraph, but McKee Rankin justified it in his life. A hard-living huckster, who made his living by the force of his personality in a historical moment when actors had to face their audiences, he died in 1914 with the dawn of motion pictures. (ALAN CKERMAN) A Annabel Robinson. The Life and Work of Jane Ellen Harrison Oxford University Press. xvi, 332. us $135.00 Jane Ellen Harrison has many claims to fame: as a member of the small cohort of women students who completed the requirements for Cambridge undergraduate degrees in the 1870s; as one of the first women to obtain a fellowship at a Cambridge college; as an early and energetic champion of the fruitful confrontation between traditional text-based scholarship and the results of the new archaeological research; and as a pioneer in the application of the developing social-science disciplines of anthropology, sociology, and psychology to the study of classical antiquity. Her life and career have drawn much attention over the past two decades, owing to the confluence of two streams of interest: in the recent history of classical scholarship , and in the contribution of women to every field of achievement. Annabel Robinson=s book is the most recent in a sequence of major works published over the last twenty years that have focused significant attention on Jane Harrison. Her predecessors have divided (somewhat along gender lines) in their major focus roughly between Harrison as a member of the group of scholars often labelled >The Cambridge Ritualists= (e.g., Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Blood for the Ghosts [1982] and the portrait of Harrison in 250 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Cambridge Women: Twelve Portraits, edited by E. Shils and C. Blacker [1996]; William Calder III, The Cambridge Ritualists Reconsidered [1991]) and Harrison as >a woman in a man=s world= (e.g., Sandra Peacock, Jane Ellen Harrison, the Mask and the Self [1988]; Mary Beard, The Invention of Jane Harrison [2000]). Robinson=s biography has been long in the making. She traces its genesis to two coincident events of 1981; its composition has run parallel to, and been fertilized by, the works just mentioned. She argues in her introduction that in addition to the more general reasons cited above for the growing interest in Harrison=s life, >[her] passionate commitment to the importance of what we feel in religion, as opposed to what we believe, and elevation of the irrational over the rational is of increasing relevance in a post-modern world.= In other words, late twentieth-century ways of thinking send us back with renewed interest to the work of scholar a century ago who seems suddenly in tune with our times. Her biography attempts...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 249-250
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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