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52 to Pater, D'Annunzio, and James. Taylor finds in them something of the morbid melancholy of Gerard de Nerval and Ernest Dowson. As Reid's pioneer study of Yeats indicates, he saw no necessary connection between politics and literature. His enthusiasm for the Abbey Theatre and friendship with poet Padraic Colum did not translate into real involvement with the Irish Literary Renaissance. Taylor notes that as Reid matured as a writer, his books "show a steadily advancing ability to deal with the complexities of his recurring theme at the same time as his method of treating it entails - and evokes - a greater and greater simplicity" (p. 154). This achievement is best illustrated by Uncle Stephen (I93I), The Retreat (1936), and Young Tom, three novels dealing with the childhood of a single protagonist. Reprinted in a single volume entitled Tom Barber (1955), "the trilogy is "the story of experience breaking into innocence , a universal event which, after we have grown up, we tend to forget" (p. 185). Unlike the treatment of children in the work of Walter de la Mare, a writer with whom Reid exchanged proofs and advice about work in progress, the focus throughout Tom Barber is upon that moment of self-understanding at which the boy becomes a man. It is the moment at which he recognizes that the paradise of childhood is beyond his reach. Taylor's The Green Avenue traces with real skill the interrelationship of the life and art of Forrest Reid. It suggests the origin in Reid's childhood of the quest for the ideal friend which preoccupies most of the focal characters of his books. Taylor's portrait of the novelist accounts for the creative vision at the center of his work, but in failing to anchor his study more explicitly in either the facts of Reid's life or the texts of his novels, Taylor provides at best a partial portrait, if admittedly a highly plausible one. In the process of developing his hypothesis about the novelist's creative imagination, Taylor cites Reid's critical essays about Ernest Dowson, Arthur Machen, and Stella Benson and his books about Yeats and de la Mare. He reminds us of Reid's Illustrators of the Sixties (1928), that authoritative monograph reprinted by Dover in I975. Above all, Taylor singles out the very best of Reid's novels and provides us with reasons for turning back to them. In the introduction to The Green Avenue, he voices the hope that his biography of Forrest Reid will revive interest in a writer who is currently largely ignored. With at least this reader, Taylor has succeeded admirably. Robert C. Petersen University of Kansas, Lawrence 2. On the Victorian Theatre Michael R. Booth. The Victorian Spectacular Theatre 1850-1910 (Bost: Routledge & Kegan Paul, I98I). $29.50 Spectacle, scenery and lighting became important features of the English stage beginning with the Restoration. Richard Flecknoe, in his "A Discourse of the English Stage," gives contemporary testimony of what was happening: 53 Now, for the difference betwixt our Theaters and those of former times, they were but plain and simple, with no other Scenes, nor Decorations of the Stage, but onely old Tapestry, and the Stage strewed with Rushes . . . whereas ours now for cost and ornament are arriv'd to the height of Magnificence; but that which makes our Stage the better, makes our Playes the worse perhaps, they striving now to make them for sight, than hearing .... Flecknoe is referring, of course, to the Shakespearean stage, a bare platform across which scenes moved without break, except for intermissions . The ear, rather than the eye, inspired the imagination of the audience. Shakespeare's language created the atmosphere, the mood and the sense of time and place. Even before the advent of the Restoration , Davenant's Siege of Rhodes began, in I656, to change all that. Despite the narrowness of the stage at Rutland House, Davenant managed the spectacle of a sea battle, of armies clashing and of many other scenic prospects, all mostly painted on the backcloth. This process of increasing use of theatrical spectacle continued into the Victorian theatre and beyond to our own time where spectacle achieves its fullest realization...


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