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Reviews309 wherever a fragment might be missing. Rather, he has assembled a few shards from different strata (some of these only surface finds) of diverse manufacture and ornamentation, and from this assemblage has attempted to establish a ceramic sequence. As he says himself at one point, "admittedly the evidence is somewhat scant, covers a wide period of time, and is drawn from a variety of places" (348). He does not—indeed, could not—succeed. His attempt, however, remains intriguing and often stimulating, certainly a vigorous workout for the historian of early theater. The Origins ofDrama in Scandinavia is full of useful information , current perspectives, and informed speculations, with an enviable profusion of plates. Despite its lack of conclusiveness, it still serves as a substantial introduction to the vexing questions of cultic performances in early Scandinavia and their literary/dramatic afterlife. MARTIN W. WALSH University of Michigan Frances M. Kavenik. British Drama, 1660-1779: A Critical History. Twayne's Critical History of British Drama. New York, Twayne, 1995. Pp. xii + 283. $26.25 To cover 120 years of drama in just over two hundred pages of main text is plainly impossible, and Kavenik's solution to the impossible is as sensible as any: to provide detailed studies of a number of representative texts and to intersperse these with more expansive and generalizing surveys. No two people would provide the same list of representative texts: of Secret Love, The Rover, and Venice Preserv'd, the plays chosen to represent the Carolean period, only Venice Preserv 'd is an inevitable choice. But there are advantages in avoidance of the obvious and well-trodden, and Kavenik's individual analyses can contain new and interesting insights: she writes well, for example, about the light imagery in Secret Love and provides good analyses of The London Merchant and The Gamester. But even the close analyses are uneven in quality, and in the more expansive historical parts (which must obviously be the main justification of the book) she is often totally lost, even in so fundamental matter as dating, in which there is no consistency of method. Plays, if they were performed prior to publication, should obviously be dated by their première, though, if specific reference is made to a preface or dedication , these should be dated by the year of publication. Kavenik's predominant policy is to date plays by publication date, which can be misleading when there is a marked gap between performance and publication as in the case of Edward Howard's The Usurper (1664/1668), which is given the latter date (59). Yet James Howard's All Mistaken (1665/1673) is dated by performance (37), and Sir Robert Howard's The 310Comparative Drama Committee (1662/1665) is erratically dated in both ways (e.g., 29, 37). Newcastle's The Country Captain (acted c.1640, published 1649) is dated by its first Restoration performance in 1661 and described as a new play (37). An Evening's Love (1668/1671) is dated both to 1668 (48) and 1671 (12); yet its preface is dated to 1668 (47). Tuke's The Adventures of Five Hours (February 1663) is dated both to 1662 (Old Style?) (9, 48) and 1663 (30). And an unacceptable number of dates are simply wrong by any system. But dates are not the only problem. There are a great many factual howlers, one of the most extraordinary being the statement that Angelica Bianca is an invention of Behn (she features prominently in the source of The Rover, Killigrew's Thomaso) (52). In discussing Garrick's treatment of Shakespearean texts, Kavenik manages three errors in one sentence: a wrong date (of Davenant's Macbeth), a wrong title (of Tate's The History of King Lear), and a major blunder: the version of Romeo and Juliet current in the earlier eighteenth century was not James Howard's but Otway's (172). Even worse is the potted history of English opera from its beginning which, with a very awkward sense of structural placing, she inserts in her discussion of The Beggar' s Opera (123-24). Again, there are wrong dates, of Psyche and Psyche Debauch 'd (the latter being rather misleadingly classed as an opera...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 309-312
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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