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Reviews601 get the latest news on Troilus and Cressida, for example, one would have to read through the entire volume. Michael Neill provides a wonderfully graceful epilogue of sorts on translation, in the sense of seeking the Other in Shakespeare. Much of the writing in this volume is expert. I enjoyed reading it. DAVID BEVINGTON University of Chicago Hanna Scolnicov. Woman's Theatrical Space. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Pp. xiv + 177 + 18 illustrations. $49.95. In a comparative historical study of select plays from Aeschylus to Pinter, Beckett, and Handke, Hanna Scolnicov explores the social and cultural implications of the traditional structural division of theatrical space into the interior and exterior of the house. She develops a critical paradigm which she hopes will replace traditional "plot and character" analyses (2) and suggests that we examine instead how "gender roles are spatially defined in relation to the inside and outside of the house" (6). She suggests that theatrical space in the Western tradition from its inception provides "a gender-charged environment," naturally fitted for acting out the drama of man and woman. For Scolnicov "the question of the theatrical space thus becomes the question of woman" (7). Scolnicov begins her inquiry with open-air Greek drama. Greek tragedy, she argues, explicitly genders interior and exterior spaces by assigning the indoors to women, the outdoors to men. It mimetically reproduces Greek culture's contrasting realms of oikos (the household, the world of women) and polis (public affairs, the world of men). In these early dramas, woman's theatrical space—"unseen" or "conceived," the invisible indoors behind the Greek skene—provides a dynamic counterpoint to the "seen" or "perceived" male space, the action foregrounded outdoors in front of the skene. Scolnicov tracks the changing tensions between unseen/conceived and seen/perceived spaces from classical to contemporary theater (with the exception of medieval drama). She suggests that with the advent of nineteenth-century drawing -room drama, "the polarity of within/without as outdoors/indoors is reversed" (6). That is to say that in the later drama it is the indoor or woman's space which is staged as the perceived space. Scolnicov concludes that by the twentieth century, theatrical space is primarily abstract : used to create a symbolic, metaphysical, and ultimately solipsistic world where "the question of gender and its direct spatial expression are of no interest ... a critical stage which is paralleled by the contemporary feminist crisis, the unresolved tension between woman, man and home" (9). By analyzing the dynamics of indoors and outdoors in this broad chronological spectrum of theatrical spaces, Scolnicov aims to reveal "the changing conceptions of woman's position in the family and 602Comparative Drama society" (8) from the sixth century B.C. to the present. She underscores that even those plays placing the woman center-stage are not necessarily woman-centered. After her initial exposition in chapter 1 of the division of theatrical space into the interior and exterior spaces made possible by the skene wall in early Greek drama and the initial designations of these spaces respectively as conceived and perceived space, Scolnicov discusses in chapter 2 Aeschylus's innovative focus in the Agamemnon on the threshold created by the skene. This threshold proves a tensile, liminal space which allows the audience to consider Clytemnestra's murder of her husband as a domestic, private doubling of Agamemnon's original public sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia at the beginning of the Trojan War. The threshold's juxtaposition of private and public domains "facilitates the symbolic depiction of the conflicting claims of oikos and polis" (21). In chapter 3, Scolnicov explores how Aristophanes uses the theatrical division of space into "within" and "without" to reverse gender roles comically in Lysistrata. "By fortifying themselves inside the Acropolis," Scolnicov explains, the women in this play exchange oikos for polis, "thus publicly proclaiming the reversal of male and female roles" (30). Especially intriguing in this chapter are the parallels she draws between woman's body and theatrical space. In the resulting eroticization of the conflict between the men and women of Athens, "every moment within its framework assum[es] sexual overtones," with the skene doors which represent the Propylaea symbolically doubling...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 601-604
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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