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ELT 48 : 4 2005 tages. While there are plenty of stimulating ideas embedded in the discussion , most are not pursued in any depth or drawn to a satisfying conclusion. Ultimately, it is no more than a record. The book's second part, comprising the eight responses to Hynes's production, is a novel idea, although it is akin to reading eight newspaper critics' reviews of a single production (still more or less possible in London). The quality of the responses is as varied as the preceding essays , though all manage to agree that Hynes's production οι Playboy stressed the grotesque, physical, and nonromantic elements of the work, to which audiences responded enthusiastically. Some responses are more concerned with the respective author's own interpretation of Playboy , others lack purpose and seem almost epistolary, and hyperbole (so dear to theatre practitioners) is generally the order of the day. Nicholas Grene, again the notable exception, provides a welcome corrective. Indeed , his response should be read first, perhaps, as a preface to the whole book because it provides a useful context. His summation is, in all likelihood , deadly accurate: "At the roundtable discussion of the production.. . several of the participants found the production disturbing as well as entertaining, politically challenging as well as visually satisfying. I cannot say that I agreed with them." This collection does have value as a record of two events, but, like home movies, it needed careful editing and, in places, more profound, more thoroughly researched subject matter. However, within the covers there are hints and ideas that may well provoke further thought both on and off the stage. J. P. WEARING Emeritus ________________ University of Arizona Gender Sl the London Theatre, 1880-1920 Margaret D. Stetz. Gender and the London Theatre 1880-1920. Buckinghamshire : Rivendale Press & Bryn Mawr College Library, 2004. 141pp. $45.00 £30.00 THIS BOOK grew out of an exhibition at the Bryn Mawr College Library in the fall of 2003, co-curated by Margaret D. Stetz and Mark Samuels Lasner. Its introduction began as the opening lecture for that exhibit, which featured Victorian books, documents, and graphics from both the Bryn Mawr holdings and Lasner's private collection, and paid special attention to women writers and gender issues related to the London theatre of 1880-1920. The materials featured in the book do not, for the most part, offer a radically new set of materials for viewing. But, together with Stetz's commentary, they do represent a fresh and emerging 464 BOOK REVIEWS understanding of the theatre as a major social thoroughfare during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Describing the theatrical circulatory system of this period, Stetz's introduction surveys theatrical genres, from Adelphi melodramas to Avenue Theatre intellectual dramas; theatrical consumers like Arthur Symons, who pursued the pleasures of books and ballet girls during his urban wanderings; and dramatic writers like George Moore, who wrote A Mummer's Wife to warn of the power of theatricals on a woman's "febrile and vacillating imagination." The introduction also pays welcome attention to the role of print and graphic media in bringing to (especially female) consumers theatrical programs, posters, novels, reviews and other descriptions of theatrical events they may have wished to attend but avoided for fear of censure. In describing the double standard by which men were permitted to attend a wide variety of theatrical performances—from Vesta Tilley's music hall turns, to Florence Farr's Yeatsian dramas, to nautical melodramas —and women were not, Stetz points to the role of the print media in giving "respectable women" access to a variety of theatrical spectacles. This access included the printing of single plays in increasingly expensive "reader's" editions, complete with long prefaces and stage directions , as exemplified by Wilde's (often privately printed) volumes and Shaw's more widely available collected plays, such as the 1898 Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant. Print access also included souvenir programs and celebrity photographs available to all buyers, whether or not they attended plays. I do have a small quibble with the argument in the introduction. We know from the work of Susan Barstow and others that women began attending matinees in large numbers in the late-Victorian...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 464-466
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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