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94Victorian Review necessity as biographically and artistically important concerns. At the same time, their study is not exhausted by the terms of Stone's investigation. Although he claims in die Preface to have incorporated "linguistic, structural, textual, archetypal, genderal and still other approaches" (xxv), and while die study does indeed rely on close readings of numerous texts, the interpretative focus is mainly biographical. Recent developments in criticism and theory that might appear salient to Dickens's "night side" concerns — the relation between consumption and commodity for instance — barely impinge on the analysis offered here. Reference to "genderal" studies, like occasionally inappropriate uses of the term "hegemony," suggests current literary theory does not sit easily widi Stone's preferred approach. The Night Side of Dickens: Cannibalism, Passion, Necessity is valuable, above all, as a work of monumental research, making significant contributions not only to Dickens studies, but also to broader considerations of nineteenth-century popular culture. A wealth of end-notes identifying references and sources across a wide range of writings will ensure that future students are well-served by Stone's ground-breaking work. Through more than 750 pages of text and illustrations, Stone spotlights primary sources, both from the Dickens oeuvre, and from textual and graphic materials of the period which provide an enlightening and provocative perspective on both die author and die times. ?????? RYDYGIER SMTTH University of Victoria Joel H. Kaplan and Sheila Stowell. Theatre and Fashion: Oscar Wilde to the Suffragettes. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994. xiii + 220. In their introduction, Kaplan and Stowell assert that William Archer's prediction that '"die fashion-play' would become 'die art-form of the late nineteenth century'" (1) turned out to be prophetic. Although they don't altogether succeed in proving their assertion, they have gathered a considerable treasure-trove of evidence to document their exploration of "the shifting relationship between theatre, fashion, and society" (2). It is a complex study which, as die publisher's cover blurb states, "will be of interest to students and scholars of theatre and fashion history, cultural studies, English literature, and women's studies, as well as to Reviews95 playgoers and general readers." While sections of the book will certainly appeal to such readers I think such a claim for the book's appeal as a whole is overstated. The problem is due partly to the authors' "variety of approaches," which they admit were "drawn freely (and eclectically)" (2), and partly to their attempt to bring together so many "seemingly disparate phenomena" — "the emergence of the society playhouse, the coming of Ibsen, the rise of the modern fashion show, and the adoption of 'dress codes' by militant suffragettes" — all affected and shaped, as they suggest, by the "vexed relationship between fashion and die stage" (1). The first part of the book explores keenly the connection between the theatre and fashion through the authors' analysis of several "fashion-plays," commencing with those of Oscar Wilde, and their original productions in the theatre; the latter part, however, becomes a more conventional examination of the social history of the suffragette movement as portrayed in its written form — magazines, newspapers, and die drama. There is less connection between the two main areas of fashion and theatre as the book progresses; and as die distance increases so does die narrative's hold on die general reader. While die autiiors' approach to much of the canonical material is refreshing, particularly widi their insights into the theatre's contribution to many of the innovations introduced into the world of fashion and their consequent influence on society as spectator and consumer, ultimately I was not convinced that it successfully linked the various topics examined in die study. The first chapter — "The glass of fashion" — offers a precise and extremely interesting analysis of Wilde's plays with reference to his ideas on costume and how he used die fashions of the day in his plays to reveal character. Here the connection between theatre and fashion is very clear. The second chapter — "Dressing Mrs. Pat" — is also enlightening as the authors analyze the relationship between Mrs. Patrick Campbell, the star, and her public as she was seen in her various roles as feminist, actress, and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 94-97
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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