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.Reviews461 balance between the imaginary and the real. .."(136). The success of Victor Séjour's Les Massacres de Syrie, for instance, written and staged barely six months after the eventwas reported in the press,resided in its contemporariness. There was a marked evolution of theatrical reception as the appreciation of historical and exotic creation gave way to timeliness and conjunctural relevance. The relationship between the press and the theater, as Pao points out, was quite tenuous. Newspaper accounts ofbattles tended to be sensationalized and embellished for nationalistic reasons. It was therefore a challenge for the dramatist to represent these accounts on stage objectively ifthey had to match the journalistic reports. Pao uses the representation of the Egyptian campaign in Bataille d'Abouki to illustrate the tendency ofthe French press to suppress instances ofdefeat. Journalistic reports about the conflicts between Muslims and Christians were unabashedlyslanted in newspapers such as LeMoniteur Universel and L'Opinion Nationale. The author points out that the professed objectivity of reviewers was simply impossible in a context of marginalization and exclusion of the peasants and the bourgeoisie and that the tenor ofjournal reviews reflected, for the most part, the ideological persuasion of the reviewers. The Orient ofthe Boulevards is well argued and written with clarity. Pao is thoroughly at home with current cultural theory, uses it strategically to analyze the texts, and avoids gratuitous abstraction. The analysis of the texts are well informed by relevant historical detail that illuminate their cultural and political relevance: the French and British presence in the region, the conflicts between the Christians and Moslems, in short the history of French presence in the Middle East. This book is certainly a rich resource, not only for scholars of French drama but for anyone interested in French colonial history in the Orient . LlFONGO VeTINDE Lawrence University Of Borders and Thresholds: Theatre History, Practice, and Theory. Kobialka, Michal, ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. Pp. 311. $? The ten essays in this volume suggest possibilities for making sense of a theatrical landscape whose sands have shifted to the extent that "borders" and "thresholds," demarcations of identity and orientation, have either moved or 462Comparative Drama disappeared altogether. Editor Michal Kobialka and his assembled scholarsall significant observers of this tenuous terrain—reflect "upon the ways that theatre—the practice and the institution—has been defined by the concepts of borders and border crossings." The essays seek both to "signal a shift in current intellectual discourse" and "to reveal how the materiality of borders is produced, fragmented, and multiplied in theatre history/historiography, practice , and theory" (19). The border and the threshold are points ofengagement with moving targets; theydrawattention simultaneously to phenomena ofseparation and interconnectedness. OfBorders and Thresholds may be a model for future theater scholarship: a collection ofessays by individual scholars with distinctive points ofview whose collective, if not cohesive, endeavors aim to destabilize the reader, leaving it up to him or her to discover new arrangements for theoretical and practical work. It may no longer be possible for a single author with a single point ofview to make significant meaning about the history, theory, and practice of theater. Multiplicity may be necessary—especially when focusing attention on things as elusive as borders—to provide for a possible experience of "complex reading ." Historian Rosemarie K. Banks's opening essay, "Meditations Upon Opening and Crossing Over," contains the excellent observation that "intercultural societies can valorize yet seek to destroy that which they take to be most representative of themselves" (61). She arrives at this point by examining the invention of America as a performance whose leading character, the Indian, was represented to Europeans via iconographie images, portrayals in royal entries, meetings with European rulers, personal appearances, and plays. Banks's rigorous scholarship uncovers an impressive array ofcultural artifacts that give us a view of how the early American image-making industry created a virtually impenetrable border beyond which, and hidden by such romantic portrayals as Forrest's Metamora, acts ofdispossession could be undertaken. Mita Choudhury's "Imperial Licenses, Borderless Topographies, and the Eighteenth-Century British Theatre" examines ways in which theater contributed to the Enlightenment goal ofnation building by presenting "the foreign in the garb of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 461-465
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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