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134ComparativeDrama Cameron Louis, ed. Sussex: Records ofEarly English Drama. Toronto: Brepols Publishers and University ofToronto Press, 2000. Pp. ex + 404.$150.00. This fifteenth volume of Records of Early English Drama fulfills yet one more important part of the project's overall mission "to find, transcribe, and publish external evidence of dramatic, ceremonial, and minstrel activity in Great Britain before 1642."1 The REED Project presumes to do it all geographically; every shire and city in Britain eventuallywill have its extant records available to scholars and researchers via these substantial and impressive red volumes from the University of Toronto Press.2 Cameron Louis has ably taken on the especially arduous task of finding and pulling together records from an entire English county, with many towns and households, as opposed to a more manageable project such as my own Bristol: REEDvolume, which involved a single British city. Of the fourteen REED volumes published before Sussex, fully half encompass entire shires. In masterfully dealing with a large and historically significant part of Britain, Louis has continued the important work begun in 1986 byAudrey Douglas and Peter Greenfield (for Cumberland,Westmorland, and Gloucestershire in REED 6), and John Wasson (for Devon in REED 7). In 206 pages of primary records, the Sussex volume includes the Diocese of Chicester, thirty-five boroughs and parishes, two religious houses, and nine households. Comprising 124 pages or 60 percent of the volume, Rye clearly plays a huge role in the REED narrative of Sussex, but as Louis thoughtfully and carefullypoints out in his excellent introduction,the records have survived due to the whims of personality and history. Who recorded what, when, and with what degree of detail? Who then preserved that recording over time so that REED researchers could make "discoveries" centuries later? Rye's having so many records relative to other Sussex towns, in other words, does not necessarily mean that Rye was singularlythe shire's center ofdrama, music, and minstrelsy in medieval and early modern Britain but rather that Rye's extant records ofsuch activity exist today and Louis has found them.We all flirt with unwitting overconfidence when doing research based on the marvelous information contained in the REED volumes, quickly and easily convincing ourselves that we are seeing it all and can therefore develop "sound" theories based on an apparent treasure trove of "objective facts." As thick and as fat as any REED volume may be, it nevertheless represents a dearth rather than a plethora of information from pre-1642, and it is essential for the volume editors to continue relentlessly to remind their readers of that fact of REED life. When Louis emphasizes the serendipitous nature of surviving records, he uses Hastings's dearth of records as an example, an especially regrettable Reviews135 circumstance for a town so important to English history. But even when there are few records from any given town, such as Hastings, the ones that survive can be quite interesting. Indeed, one of the most interesting entries in Sussex: REED relates to the Battle ofHastings and to Tallifer, a juggler/minstrel/entertainer ofsome sort who seems dexterously to have begun the battle against the English. The records claim that the mounted Tallifer, variously referred to as a "mimus," "histrio," and "Iuglere" performed stunts with his lance before landing the first blow against the mesmerized English at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. He then repeated his "trickery" with his sword, only to die himself along with his horse when the English regained their composure. Louis relegates the entries to an appendix and cautions that the accepted but embellished accounts of Tallifer may be more literary myth than dramatic record. If factual, the recounting of the tale of Tallifer and the Battle of Hastings is "without doubt England's first juggling and (possibly) musical performance of the Middle English period" (211), and thus Sussex: REED has the supreme distinction of containing the earliest performance account ofthe Middle English period, one which occurred at the very battle that gave the Normans control ofthe country and ultimately Middle (and modern) English to the world. Trying to decide if Tallifer were indeed a minstrel, a juggler, a trickster/ magician, or an actor...