In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

526Comparative Drama more, but it sufficiently underscores her contention that the problem with Restoration comedy of manners lies chiefly in the nature of the genre itself. "Like the witty, virtuous heroines of its content, the satiric form of manners comedy fails to achieve integrity" (p. 157). Pat Gill convincingly argues that the rhetorical failures of comedy of manners are inescapably aligned with Restoration gender issues in Interpreting Ladies. CLAUDIA NEWEL THOMAS Wake Forest University J. R. Mulryne and Margaret Shewring, eds. Theatre and Government under the Early Stuarts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Pp. xi + 271. $59.95. This valuable collection does more than break new ground; it also surveys territory already traversed, reassessing earlier debates in light of more recent thinking. The first two essays, in particular, very usefully summarize both literary and historical disputes. Thus J. R. MuIryne 's Introduction explains how recent critics of early Stuart literature have differed from their forebears "in stressing political effect more than literary or theatrical 'quality', in consciously extending the boundaries ofthe canon, in evaluating the cultural influence of censorship and control, in the leading attention given to previously marginal forms such as masque and civic pageantry, and in the manner in which, and the extent to which, historical evidence is assessed and deployed" (p. 3). Although the presentbook exhibits all these "newer" traits, Mulryne also provocatively asks whether the gains have also involved losses—as, for instance, "in the nuanced interpretation of the detail of theatre texts" (p. 4). He wonders whether our "readiness to emphasise explanatory matrices (in life or in theatre) has on occasion caused [interpreters] to lose sight of subtlety, uncertainty, change-of-mind and muddle" in the complex works they study (p. 4). Indeed, he suggests that "some recovery may be needed of a more thoroughly comprehensive and re-balanced sense of the intellectual and imaginative culture of the period. The wish to displace conservative stereotypes, broadly Christian-humanist and elitist in derivation, has resulted in an unwarranted foregrounding ofpolitically and religiously subversive views" (p. 5). Mulryne thus welcomes the newer approaches but warns against the dangers of adopting any approach exclusively. The same retrospective assessment offered by Mulryne is also pursued in a valuable piece by Simon Adams, the only "professional" historian included. Adams' wide-ranging, even-handed account covers the growth of historical "revisionism," and his notes alone make his essay useful. Just as anyone interested in learning about recent literary debates Reviews527 might wisely turn to Mulryne, so anyone seeking a quick history of early modern historiography might well turn to Adams. Both essays, in fact, can be highly recommended to students. Adams reviews different positions on such issues as "court and country," localism, factions, and competing religious doctrines. In each case he helpfully warns against easy generalizations. Although he ultimately expresses some reservations about revisionism (particularly in its emphasis on local politics and factionalism), his review is fair, with few axes to grind. Richard Dutton's essay on "Ben Jonson and the Master of the Revels" is the latest in his series of valuable studies of these two important subjects. Here again he argues that the Master was not "simply the repressive agent of an authoritarian regime" but was also "the bridge between court patronage and the market economy" (p. 60). Yet here he applies these ideas to a major poet's career. He sees the preface to VoIpone as a major turning point, since it is "the key text in which Jonson acknowledges, and accedes to, the authority of the Master of the Revels " (p. 64). Dutton also offers helpful new suggestions about Eastward Ho and The Isle ofDogs and suggests (more broadly) that when plays were presented "within the proper structure of licensed authority, the court was prepared to countenance a surprising range of satirical comment , even aimed at itself (p. 74). On the whole, Dutton sees the Master 's relations with players and playwrights as less repressive than cooperative . Each side had much to gain if the system worked smoothly. A similar attention to practicalities is also evident in Graham Parry 's essay on the Jacobean masque. Here too Jonson looms large in a piece emphasizing cooperation and negotiation...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 526-529
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.