In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

respectively. The last chapter, which singles out Samuel Beckett and Brian Friel for final, close examination, follows chapters devoted to plays, players, developments, and experiments between 1930 and 1982. Many readers will quanel with the ranking implied by this distribution of critical attention, which would be skewed indeed if Maxwell's book were in fact a critical history. Surely such names as Brendan Behan, George Bermingham, Paul Vincent Canoll, Austin Clarke, Padraic Colum, George Fitzmaurice, John B. Keane, Hugh Leonard, M. J. Molloy, Thomas Murphy, T. C. Munay, Seamus O'Kelly, Lennox Robinson, and George Shiels would be expected to appear in the Table of Contents, with Lady Gregory, Douglas Hyde, Edward Martyn, and George Moore given greater prominence. All but George Bermingham receive fairly substantial mention in the text, it should be noted (index entries also indicate that they have not been ignored), yet the selection of emphasis certainly is personal rather than comprehensive, again a reflection that this is a critical analysis of modem Irish drama that highlights modernism rather than a critical history. In some instances, however, imbalance is not so easily explained. Lady Gregory's part in establishing a modemist tradition within the Irish dramatic movement deserves greater attention based not only on the sheer number of her own plays that were written and produced for the Irish national theater but on her silent collaboration in the work of others, including Yeats. Maxwell's arguments against a greater role for George Moore seem rooted more in published gossip than examined fact. Maxwell's reüance on published sources no doubt is responsible for the short shrift he gives Hyde: although unpublished letters and diaries document the significance of Hyde's role during the first twenty years of the Irish dramatic movement, personal consequences of a public rupture between the Gaelic League and the Abbey in 1911 resulted in virtual erasure of his name from the public record after that date. In no way do these observations detract from Maxwell's accomplishment; they merely explain what some specialists in the early period may regard as minor omissions or distortions. A Critical History of Modern Irish Drama 1891-1950 is an invaluable book. Its clarity of style makes it a pleasure to read; its text is enhanced by well-chosen illustrations. Janet Egleson Dunleavy University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 5. JOYCE AND SEXUALITY Richard Brown. Joyce and Sexuality. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985. $29.95 In Joyce and Sexuality, Richard Brown frames Joyce's fiction in Joyce's reading of contemporary social and literary criticism. Implicitly, if not explicitly, Brown is exploring the interdependence of adultery and adulteration, the relationship between sexual and literary experimentation. He details the range of Joyce's reading on adultery, emphasizing on the one hand Joyce's criticism of the "fiction" of marriage, and showing on the other how Joyce's attitudes towards social fictions led him to "adulterate" his own fiction, as he worked to couch his skepticism in comically comprehensive allusions, parodies, and 230 quotations. Joyce and Sexuality makes a valuable contribution to our knowledge of Joyce's methodology, both as a reader and a writer, but it also-along with CoUn MacCabe's James Joyce and the Revolution of the Word, Dominic ManganieUo's Joyce and Politics, and Bonnie Scott's Joyce and Feminism—helps to dislodge the settled assumption that Joyce's work is apoUtical. Brown's book is as much concerned with Joyce's response to the poUtics of sexuaUtyfeminist ideology and theories of marriage reform—as it is with the interplay of reading and wnting. When Brown undertook his modemist task of reading Joyce's writing in the Ught of Joyce's reading and then writing about it, he did more than create a situational labyrinth as fit home for the creator of a character named Dedalus; he was also implicitly criticizing the prevalent view among critics that Joyce was uncritical. For years Joyce's allusiveness was treated as a kind of freespirited opportunism; like Shem the plagiarist in Finnegans Wake, he was thought to lift material from the surface of other written works, or else, as Pound suggested, to use their structures as a mere scaffolding for...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 230-232
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.