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Reviews533 tions of its audience. But if all I keep hearing is how wicked the theater has been, what I think of is Plato, Tertullian, Stephen Gosson, and Jeremy Collier, and my reaction is, "It can't be that bad." Or the Puritans that right. WILLIAM GRUBER Emory University ' Franco Moretti, "? Huge Eclipse': Tragic Form and the Deconsecration of Sovereignty," Genre. 15 (1982), 7-8. Richard Andrews. Scripts and Scenarios: The Performance of Comedy in Renaissance Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Pp. xiii + 298. $59.95. Previous scholars, and in particular Douglas Radcliff-Umstead in 1969 and Marzia Pieri in 1989, have already viewed sixteenth-century Italy as the place where modern theater was born. In seeking to bring together Italian scripted and improvised comedy of the sixteenth century , Professor Andrews provides not only a new description of such a birth, but also a thorough introduction to, and history of the two most successful dramatic genres ofthat period, the commedia erudita and the commedia dell' arte. The author begins his study with a backward glance into the fifteenth century to review the political context and the intellectual assumptions that led to the first performances of revived and original Latin comedies in cities such as Florence, Ferrara, Rome, and Mantua. He then rightly adopts a chronological approach and, stepping directly into the sixteenth century, explores the first "regular" comedies in Italian. Throughout the volume, the analysis of theatrical developments is preceded by brief but informative summaries of the historical context in which such developments were set. The Sack of Rome or the Congress of Bologna, for example, are thus seen as watershed events for theater as well as politics. And the Catholic Reformation is never far from the footlights. While a discussion of scripted learned comedy (commedia erudita) could easily be limited to plays composed in the first half of the century, the treatment of improvised professional comedy (commedia dell'arte) breaks past the mid-century mark and enters fully into the drastically different world of post-Tridentine Italy. The author argues that, in spite of the major cultural and political changes now affecting Italian theater, comedy continued to hold the stage by way of the constant dialogue between the two genres. The scenarios of the professional actors are clearly indebted to the scripts of their learned amateur predecessors. And the learned comedy which was written in the second half of the century was, in turn, indebted to the heightened sense of 534Comparative Drama theater displayed by the commedia dell' arte troupes. At this point the author casts a distant passing glance at Shakespeare and Molière, but only to tantalize his readers. The volume ends with one of the epitomes of Renaissance Italian theater, the Medici wedding of 1589, an event that really does deserve a book all to itself. The volume is thus both an excellent introduction to sixteenthcentury Italian theater and an innovative approach to the development from amateur learned comedy to professional comic theater. The emphasis it places on the texts as works to be performed rather than as literature to be analyzed is a welcome change and a solid contribution to the history of Italian theater in the Renaissance. And in its synthetic, chronological approach it is so highly suitable for class adoptions that one hopes the publisher will soon offer it in a paperback version. KONRAD EISENBICHLER Victoria College, University of Toronto Paul Whitfield White. Theatre and Reformation: Protestantism, Patronage , and Plaxing in Tudor England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press," 1993. Pp. xvii + 268. $59.95. In this wide-ranging survey of about fifty years of theater history Professor White has dealt with many aspects of Tudor theater concentrating primarily on the publication of the plays and their production in relation to Protestant government propaganda. He has looked particularly at the plays of John Bale, Lewis and William Wager, and a number of other writers of interludes. He attempts to broaden the base of knowledge concerning the performance and the popularity of the polemical plays, and engages with the somewhat divided Protestant attitude to the writing and acting of plays. This last is a fruitful area for investigation, and White has assembled an interesting body...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 533-534
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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