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Reviews181 The exclusionary biases of the Aristotelian and Hegelian approaches are clearly revealed in two different Greek plays by the same playwright that they chose as their model tragedies. For Aristotle, it was the Oedipus Tyrannos, a tragedy of reversal and "character in action" that does not focus on a great central agon, but whose mainspring is an "unconscious hamartia," an act committed in ignorance and without evil intent. Aristotle skims over the ethical complexities of the situation by a vocabulary that seems straightforwardly clear but is extremely vague from a moral perspective. For Hegel, however, the Antigone was "the perfect exemplar of tragedy," with its rigid, unbending dialectical oppositions that threaten to rend the universe asunder, where equally valid ethical imperatives battle to the death. Yet each reading depends upon certain exclusions, and each, persuasive as it seems, has weaknesses. Both aim to yoke the play within a rigid teleology and to validate dramatic closure. In effect, Hegel is able to make conflict central to his dramatic theory because he has been able to tame it and "cut it down to size." This is a book that must be read by anyone who teaches or studies dramatic literature or criticism. It is well-written, challenging, and exciting. Gellrich's insights on Aristotle's and Hegel's theories are among the best things written on these topics. She falters when she moves into the Renaissance and neoclassical world, but her chapter on Hegel is more than worth the reading of the book. MICHAEL X. ZELENAK Yale University Roberta Mullini. La Scena della Memoria: Intertestualità nel teatro Tudor. Bologna: Cooperativa Libraría Universitaria Editrice Bologna, 1988. Pp. 152. In this relatively short work, Signora Mullini has covered an enormous amount of material and has done it with discrimination and learning. There is a theoretical basis for the inquiry and a detailed presentation of evidence but advisedly no final attempt to draw a conclusion so much as to allow the sections of Comments at the end of each chapter to adumbrate underlying implications for the development of Tudor drama. The center of interest for the latter is the interlude, the definition of which she avoids with characteristic skill, tracing it from Fulgens and Lucres to Apius and Virginia. The theoretical framework, based as it is upon the notion of intertcxtuality , is the least convincing part of the work. Barthes' formulation of intertextuality depends, for example, upon the idea that "the citations which go to make up a text are anonymous, untraceable, and yet already read" (Music—Image—Text, p. 160), and behind this there is the notion of Kristeva that no text can ever be free of other texts. As the title shows, Signora Mullini adds also the concept that memory plays a large part in the cultural process informing the text: it selects for inclusion and exclusion various aspects which are culturally determined and which become the texture of the text, so to speak. The formulation is partly a re-valuation of an author's relationship with cultural promptings. But it 182Comparative Drama is itself culturally determined and cannot really be seen as an objective basis for criticism so much as a point of view placed somewhere among the relativities of modern critical theory In Signora Mullini's book the theory is used to expose much that is interesting and informative about the interludes, and fortunately this theoretical framework does not limit the value of her work. Nor does she allow this modus operandi to force her into drawing unwarrantable conclusions about the texts she has illuminated. Her distaste for an hierarchical structure in criticism is thus to be positively welcomed. A constructive theoretical aspect is to be found in her treatment of comedy, where her material is more specifically late medieval and orientated towards an understanding of the difficulty of theorizing about the fleeting nature of comedy (p. 32). She shows that the direction towards salvation in medieval drama implied a persisting comic function. In her treatment of the interludes there is a sense that through the practice of comedy—and, in places, of comic routines—the Tudor drama was able to make very substantial development. The strength of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 181-184
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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