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Reviews479 myself. My only comfort now is Buddha, who tells me clearly that life is a phantasm, a Trugbild, which we shall see the right way round in another life. My hope and my future lie on the other side, that is why I find life so hard to bear; everything here falls short and mocks one; it should only be seen from afar. This morning I saw my landscape from my desk, you know the one, bathed in sunlight and so divinely beautiful that I was overcome with ecstasy. I wanted to go down and take a closer look; but then it disappeared behind the hills, and when I came nearer, it was no longer the same!! What one seeks, eludes one! (p. 722) In several letters to Bosse from the fall of 1905, Strindberg reflects upon their destiny, their inability to communicate, and, in particular, his own failure to make her understand the true nature of the cosmos, their place and their mission within it. A human life trails behind it the roots of many ancestral trees, and many of them are bared in these two volumes. The selection is a work of quality and distinction which in this case appropriately raises many central questions. It is a critical edition of very special interest to English and American Strindberg scholarship, especially as it focuses on the elusive and mysterious psychological landscape of a poet and on his work. The collection is also of genuine importance to the field of drama and theater in general. GORAN STOCKENSTRÖM University of Minnesota Douglas Bruster. Drama and the Market in the Age of Shakespeare. Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture, 1. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1992. Pp.xv + 164. $39.95. The first part of Douglas Bruster's book relates the development of the theaters in the age of Shakespeare to the rapid cultural, economic , and political changes then taking place. It presents a general view of the drama between about 1590 and 1620 as shaped by market forces, and as offering a "materialist vision" (p. 38). Plays are to be thought of as "dramatic commodities" (p. 4) for consumption; the theaters are viewed as markets, places of business; and the dramatists write as if they were social scientists attempting to "reconcile the social tensions inherent in the economic base of England's evolving society through an explication of the new forms of social transaction" (p. 40). The mode of the book, in other words, is cultural materialist and postmodernist . The playwright, indeed, drops out of sight at times as the drama takes on a life of its own, evaluating "the socioeconomic transformation of Renaissance culture" (p. 37). The drama becomes an agent, independent of the author and "itself inventing answers to questions of special social import" (p. 17). Audiences, not entrepreneurs, 480Comparative Drama "sponsored the construction" of the playhouses (p. 21), and Philip Henslowe reverts to being a ruthless capitalist with an "obsessive concern over profit and commodity" (p. 26)—like everybody else in Bruster 's London, only more so. The popular theater was "of course, entirely commercial" (p. 25), and it seems as if London in 1600 was anticipating today's Hollywood, a kind of Elizabethan tinseltown. For some time now a shift has been taking place in our understanding of theater practices in the period. Philip Henslowe was for long demonized as an unscrupulous moneylender, whose grubby commercial operations were seen as far removed from those of Shakespeare's company , as if the Chamberlain's Men were solely devoted to Art and Morality. It is now becoming generally accepted that the acting companies operated in similar ways and were all concerned to make a profit. Bruster, pressing towards a more radical version of the stage as marketplace, sees the theaters as products of an age of commodity fetishism and the drama as conditioned by a "historically determined" concern with the social order (p. 38). This concern is exemplified in the last four chapters of this short book: one deals with cuckoldry as a "central constituent in London's theatrical grammar of cultural exchange " (p. 49); a second argues that farce was written to explore the "social implications...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 479-481
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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