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228 mactic scene in act three holds the audience as well as ever (even though the concluding fourth act seems very tame by comparison ) . "Wyndham's Theatre," TIMES (Lond), 10 Oct I900, p. 3. The third act of Mrs. Dane's Defence fully "arouses the attention, holds it, and satisfies it to the full" - a fact which was amply acknowledged by an appreciative audience on the first night. As might be expected, HAJ's morality is conventional and he doesn't allow his woman with a past to be whitewashed. "Yet, we suspect, much might be urged on the other side. There is the famous 'wild oats' theory, for instance, so commonly accepted for bridegrooms, which might, once in a way, be tried, perhaps, in the case of a bride. But it would be vain to expect so audacious an experiment at Wyndham's Theatre." "Wyndham's Theatre," TIMES (Lond), 10 Sept 1902, p. 7- The mania for gambling in Chance, The Idol is an interesting theme. His treatment of that theme is unsuccessful because the heroine, Ellen Farndon "is merely a diseased person." She is an unsympathetic character, exhibits no sense of will or purpose, and the development of her character is "monotonous." Even the element of suspense is missing since it is axiomatic that on the stage the gambler is doomed. "Wyndham's Theatre» The Lie Revived," TIMES (Lond), 1 June 1925. p.i The main interest in this revival of The Lie is the acting of Sybil Thorndike as Elinor Shale; however, the role is scarcely worthy of her attention. Young, Stark. "The Curtain Call," NEW REPUBLIC, LXV (26 Nov 1930), 47-48. [Reviewing D. A. Jones's biography of HAJ gives Young an opportunity of assessing HAJ. Young sees that HAJ was frequently successful, but that, unfortunately, he also wrote "below his aspirations" in the hope of bringing more people into the theatre.] REVIEW» Mary Webbi The Pleasure of Discovery Gladys Mary Coles. The Flower of Light 1 A Biography of Mary Webb (Londi Gerald Duckworth, I978). The clue to Gladys Mary Coles' considerable achievement in The Flower of Light» A Biography of Mary Webb perhaps lies in the Introduction she wrote for Webb's best-remembered work, Precious Bane (1924). "My own first reading" of Webb's masterpiece, she candidly declares, "held the excitement of a rare discovery. Captured at once by the unusual style, I read the opening chapter five times before continuing with the rest of the book" (Duckworth, 1978; p. vii). The pleasure of discovery, the warm imprint of the familiar essayist, the patience and comprehensiveness of the scholar, pervade Coles' longer study. One more than suspects that Coles has sifted her evidence at least as many times as she read the one chapter, yet the tone and style project an original gusto, sensitivity, and passionate precision. Now, despite her relative neglect, Mary Webb (1881-1927) has not exactly been without a sporadic apologist, critic, or scholar. There 229 is the seminal, still valuable Mary Webb of Hilda Addison (1931), a book slightly marred by omissions its author rightly, if unfortunately , judged not appropriate for publication so soon after the subject's death (but which Addison graciously permitted Coles to integrate into the present book). There are, in addition, the charming, informative "semi-travelogues" of W. Reid Chappell (The Shropshire of Mary Webb, 1930) and W. Byford Jones (The Shropshire Haunts of Mary Webb, 1948). And besides Thomas Moult's Mary Webbi Her Life and Work (1932) and Dorothy P. H. Wrenn's Goodbye to Morning (1964), there are a few monographs, the most substantial of which, to my judgment, remain Gertrud Schneider's Die Verwendung und Bedeutung der Folk-lore in den Romanen von Mary Webb (Goettingen, 1934) and Marianne Tiemann's Naturbetrachtung und Weltanschauung in den Werken von Mary Webb (Greifswald, 1936). But what Webb has lacked until Coles' modestly-entitled "biography" is the work that, without pretending to have formulated in a phrase the truly "irreducible quality" of Webb's writing, syncretizes what has heretofore been discreet and creates a context in which the life and the art not only interrelate but illuminate. The "wood-bird elusiveness is part...


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