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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 of information which shows that deliberate Protestant use of the entertaining value of performance embodied popular material, and tended to involve the audience in an indulgence in laughter which actually implicated them in the sinful ways portrayed. He notes that this was an extension of the practice of some medieval and therefore Catholic plays such as Mankind. But this, he points out. is contrasted by the growing uneasiness over the deception involved in acting and impersonation. Especially valuable is his suggestion that from about 1580 an increasing and more purist emphasis upon the efficacy of the word and nothing else changed attitudes to the stage, and brought to an end the earlier preoccupation with visual effects which had strongly supported the dramatic process. But it must be said that in spite of this withdrawal of support the drama did continue to flourish pretty well and to embody a Protestant ideology. Reviews535 Another valuable chapter is his consideration of the ways ideas are embodied in groups of interludes, notably those dealing with money and economic matters as well as those which present youth and its problems for the educator. It is perhaps here that White is at his strongest and most convincing, and I suspect that scholars dealing with these plays will want to take account of his presentation of them. His understanding turns upon the deliberate participation of Protestant clergy, from Bale onwards, in dramatic activity, chiefly as playwrights and occasionally as actors. It is this preoccupation which leads him to consider whether churches were used more frequently as places for performances than has been supposed. In general terms this is a valuable reassessment of the evidence, but here and elsewhere considerable doubt arises over White's method of argument. I think there is no doubt that churches were used in some of the cases he adduces, Hadleigh in 1547/8. for instance. But he tends to push his argument too far at times. An illustration of this is the attempt to show that plays were performed inside St Paul's (p. 138). His footnote in support leads to a reference to St Paul's by M. C. Bradbrook, but the passage cited has a very significant "perhaps" attached to it which he passes over. He might also have taken account of the work of Reavley Gear (7'Af Children of Paul's: the Story of a Theatre Company 1553-1608. Cambridge, 1982) on the theater in the shrowds—outside the cathedral...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 534-537
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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