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Reviews125 cause I am less enamored ofDoctorFaustus, not Callens. Leslie Wades sifting of die 1990s plays, on the other hand,will nourish those less enamored ofShepard. And so on. The order of the essays follows the development of Shepard's career. This arrangement reminds us diat the timing of Shepard's birth conferred advantages on him. Getting an MFA in playwriting in die late 1960s, for instance, was a lot less convenient then than it is now, because there were many fewer programs . Such was never a choice for Shepard in any case. And by the time an MFA was possible,he could say, as did Harvard's eminent Shakespearean scholar George Lyman Kittredge when asked why he never took the Ph.D,"Who would examine me?" Just as well. Shepard never would have thrived in a playwriting class, anyway. No wonder he makes us nervous. Arvid F. Sponberg Valparaiso University Stratos E. Constantinidis. Modern Greek Theatre: A Questfor Hellenism. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2001. Pp. ? + 198. $34.95 paperbound. "Can [Greek] postmodernism find its way out of the loop of Greek modernism ?" This is one of the questions asked by Stratos Constantinidis (29) in his newbook Modern Greek Theatre:A QuestforHellenism, which offers a revisionist account ofthe state ofmodern Greek drama from the late Enlightenment to the 1970s. The issue of modernism can hardly be avoided in any discussion of Greek literature,tiiough, as Constantinidis wryly observes,"Like Homer's Scylla and Charybdis, modernism and postmodernism may wreck the reputation of many a scholar and artist" (18). In his book, Constantinidis approaches the minefield of modernism and postmodernism through the unusual vantage point afforded by diree plays by women dramatists: the littie-known Nikiratos (1826) by Evandiia Kairi and die neglected The New Woman (1908) by Kalliroi Siganou-Parren represent die modernist/nationalist perspective ofdie early nineteenth century, while Loula Anagnostaki's more successful Victory (1978) illustrates the demise ofmodernism . The context in which these plays are discussed (Greek modernism and its subversion by postmodernism) is subsumed widiin the context ofgender studies , colonialism, postcolonialism, and cultural imperialism. This "provisional 126Comparative Drama framework" (4ff) allows Constantinidis to discuss Greek nationalism, to conduct an "inclusive analysis" in the context of nation-building and identity, as well as to incorporate an incisive (if cursory) analysis of selected plays by the better-known autiiors Nikos Kazantzakis,Angelos Sikelianos, and Kostis Palamas. The general background for this new study and the methodological process chosen for its completion are laid out with precision and thoroughness in the author's preface and lengtiiy introduction. In his first chapter, Constantinidis discusses die above-mentioned Nikiratos by Evanthia Kairi, "the first known Greek woman playwright," and compares and contrasts its views of Hellenism widi those of Keats, Byron, and Shelley. Constantinidis provides a summary of Kairi's play ("one of the earliest Greek dramatic responses to European colonialists" [51]) as well as Shelley's Hellas. He points out that Kairi chooses not to model her play on a Greek tragedy (as did Shelley in Hellas) or to replicate Byron's "egocentric ... heroes in their Satan-like rebellion against cosmic authority" (58). Instead, Kairi's heroes and heroines are firmlypositioned widiin die Greek family and community (58). In the second chapter, Constantinidis summarizes and analyses Babel, aplay by DimitriosVyzantios (Constantinidis chooses to refer to the author byhis real name, Hatziaslanis, rather than the pen name with which he was, and still is, generally known) first published in 1836, widi a revised edition in 1840. According to Constantinidis, Babel represents the conflict between diversity and standardization that prevailed in the early years ofthe modern Greek state and its new capital, Nafplio. An immensely popular play with enduring success on die stage, Babel (as its tide implies) deals with die subject ofmiscommunication among a group of Greeks from regions as diverse and geographically disparate as Albania, Cyprus, Crete, and Asia Minor. In fact, Constantinidis sees Babel as a "subversive text" (72) since the "diversity" of die regional dialects reproduced in the play runs counter to the policy of standardization and "dynastic Hellenism " pursued by die monarchy and subsequent administrations. One might add, however, that despite the comic imbroglios occasioned by regional...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 125-128
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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