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210Comparative Drama The LongestDay, and later in Tora, Tora, Tora. I notice also how fully this history of interaction between Yiddish and English yielded experiences and situations that are now applicable in many multicultural circumstances in which two or more languages are involved. Television series have even begun including Spanish dialogue. One must be grateful for the dedicated scholarship ofthis work. My father, a Yiddish actor, died before Berkowitz was born. In his adulthood, the Yiddish theater diminished radically, and he could do nothing to stop this change. He had no idea that there were young people who would discover the value ofthis rich, active aspect of modern Jewish cultural life. There are now several works in English and in Yiddish, as Berkowitz details in his notes and bibliography, thatwill provide guidance to those interested in enlarging the scholarly identity oftheYiddish theater, theYiddish language, the processes ofsecularization without ethical degeneration, and the social vitality ofpopular theater. David Bleich University ofRochester Zdenëk Stííbrny. Shakespeare and Eastern Europe. Oxford and NewYork: OxfordUniversityPress,2000.Pp.xix+ 176. $55.00. The present volume, part ofthe Oxford Shakespeare Topics series, offers a concise and valuable reminder of the Bard's importance for Eastern Europe and Russia but goes further in demonstrating the return obligations ofWestern theater to Slavic responses. Zdenëk Stííbrny, Emeritus Professor in Prague's Charles University, is equally comfortable and well equipped to handle the broad array of theatrical traditions that are involved and to provide an enjoyable excursion across borders and through the years ofShakespeare's influence. The inevitable reiterations oflong-known truths unavoidable in summary accounts ofthis sort are kept to a minimum once we get past the opening brief, ifstill tedious discussion ofEast European history. Stnbrny quicklylivens things up by introducingthe immortal persona ofPickleherring, clown intermediary of performances put on by English players touring the continent as far as Poland. Pickleherring, Stííbrny points out, performed the same function as Autolycus in The Winter's Tale, for he served up song, dance, and sometimes bawdy asides to liven up the audience. In a number ofearly adaptations played on the continent , individual scenes from Shakespeare's workswere adapted for Pickleherring farces, or Pickleherringwas introduced willy nilly into Shakespeare's plays, some- Reviews211 times in radical disjunction with the original text's meaning. Pickleherring reached Russia along with Shakespeare's works. Early committed fans ofShakespeare includedAlexander Sumarokov, Catherine II, Nikolai Karamzin, and, most tellingly, Alexander Pushkin. Sumarokov was moved by his neoclassical sensibilities to try to improve his source, and although his adaptation of Hamlet showed considerable skill in the use of alexandrines and observance ofthe unities, this type ofrefinement ultimately did an injustice to the Bard's broader genius. Catherine II did better, Stfibrny notes, to the point of repairing parts ofthe hasty plotting of The Merry Wives ofWindsor in her 1786 adaptation, a keen satire of Russian mores. Karamzin's reading of Shakespeare and his version of Julius Caesar is of interest chiefly for their influence on Alexander Pushkin and particularly the master Russian play, Boris Godunov. Stfibrny, neatly summarizing Pushkin's debt and his originality, does justice to both as well as to the Shakespeare connections of CountNulin, The Stone Guest, The Covetous Knight, and Angelo. He also describes Mikhail Lermontov's obligations (more tenuous than Pushkin's) in Masquerade, Vissarion Belinsky's Hamletessay and its origins in German philosophy,Turgenev's well-known piece on Hamlet and Don Quixote as lasting human (read: particularly Russian) types, and Turgenev's own prose, including the powerful tale"King Learofthe Steppes." Shakespeare was almost as basic as Harold Bloom imagined for Dostoevsky and Chekhov, although Stïforay's account makes clear that Chekhov's greater engagement with theater shows more explicit attachments in the episodes, characters , and language of all his major plays. For contrast, we are also offered a reviewofTolstoy's notorious repudiation of Shakespeare, followed closely by those of George Bernard Shaw and George Orwell. In this as in other cases in which Shakespeare is criticized, a particular advantage of the study is that it gives as full and honest an appraisal as in the instances ofthe more worshipful responses. One can also appreciate Stribrny...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 210-213
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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