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364Comparative Drama W. B. Yeats, and Jack Yeats: Images and Words, which appears in addition to have been carelessly edited and proof-read. Thus Finnegans Wake is referred to as "Finnegan's Wake," throughout and the wellknown actor Donald Davies as Donald "Davis." In the bibliography, Maurice Blanchot is credited with a "Revision of The Unnamable" instead of with a "review" of Beckett's novel. There are also some unfortunate lapses of taste—e.g., on page 43, where a gratuitous reference to the "more serene moments" of Virginia Woolf, negatively defined as those "when she refrained from flicking food at startled dinner guests," introduces a quotation said to characterize what Armstrong calls "the modernist temper." (The author's understanding of what constitutes modernism and postmodernism is, incidentally, open to challenge.) "Taking their cue from Jack Yeats, the principal characters, Didi and Gogo, consume time as they wait for Godot," we are told on page 172. The claim implicit in this statement: that Godot is directly descended, in the most literal way, from Jack B. Yeats' plays, seems to me difficult if not impossible to sustain on the evidence. Had Armstrong taken his cue from Beckett, it is doubtful if he would have permitted himself such flat assertions, so antipathetic to the exquisite discrimination that is everywhere manifest in Beckett's oeuvre and nowhere more tellingly than in his homage to Jack B. Yeats, which in conclusion, I quote: High solitary art uniquely self-pervaded, one with its wellhead in a hiddenmost of spirit, not to be clarified in any other light. Strangeness so entire as even to withstand the stock assimilations to holy patrimony, national or other. What less celt than this incomparable hand shaken by the aim it set itself or by its own urgency? As for the sureties kindly unearthed in his favour, Ensor and Munch to the fore, the least one can say is that they are no great help. The artist who stakes his being is from nowhere and has no kith. Gloss? In images of such breathless immediacy as these there is no occasion , no time given, no room left, for the lenitive of comment. None in this impetus of need that scatters them loose to the beyonds of vision. None in this greater inner real where the phantoms quick and dead, nature and void, all that ever and that never will be, join in a single evidence for a single testimony. None in this final mastery which submits in trembling to the unmasterable. No. Merely bow in wonder. MARY LYDON University of Wisconsin-Madison Jerzy Limon. The Masque of Stuart Culture. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1990. Pp. 236. $38.50. The Renaissance masque, as many commentators have noted, eludes the grasp of the modern reader even more vexatiously than most other literary types—even those other types, such as plays or songs, that overtly demand oral rendition or performance. This is so for several reasons. Performance of masques includes so much that cannot exist in print: the spectacle of setting, scene, props, music, and dance as well as the immediacy of occasion, whether social ritual or political moment. The analogy of opera goes only part way to suggesting the gap between script Reviews365 and event; to it one must add the sense of loss experienced in reading political satire without knowing the context. Without these missing elements, what survives of the masque is usually disappointing. A reader cannot fail to sense its importance to the culture of the period, yet the artifacts seem skeletal, obscurely allegorical, stilted and sterile to untutored sensibilities—even sensibilities highly attuned to the drama or the lyric poetry of the period. Masques do not find an easy place in any class in Renaissance literature. Something like this discomfort seems to lie behind Jerzy Limon's belabored division of the masque into three types or genres, as he calls them: The "dramatic masque," in Limon's categorization, consists of "directions for (a) performance," a sort of pre-masque extant in manuscripts for a few of the Stuart masques (e.g., Jonson's Masque of Blackness and Campion's Lord Hayes Masque); the "masque in performance " refers to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 364-367
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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