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Reviews293 chapter offers eloquent and resourcefully documented demonstrations of the distinctive achievements and emphases ofplays which even previous devotees of this theater have not attempted to celebrate in this way. Let one example stand for many possible instances. The Revenge, which Hughes is confident was Aphra Behn's work, is a 1680 rewriting of John Marston's Jacobean city comedy, The Dutch Courtesan, which has received scarcely any previous scholarly attention. In three beautifully economical paragraphs, Hughes convincingly establishes the coherence of this radical Restoration reinvention of an early seventeenth-century original. He decisively contrasts the title-character in The Dutch Courtesan , "a force oflinguistic disruption," with the very different entanglement of Corina, her descendant in The Revenge, in "a false system of language," which denies dignified expression to "the self-disgust of the woman" fated to fulfill "the [male] fantasy" represented by "the alluring image of the prostitute" (286-87). He maps the way in which "the generic ambivalence of the play" parallels the frustration of the heroine 's attempt to turn the play "into the tragedy she desires" (287) and links this, in ironically provocative counterpoint, to the contemporary development of the genre of she-tragedy in the hands of such male dramatists as Otway and Banks. The final pages of The Revenge contain an extraordinary series of events in which the wife of an imprisoned highwayman frames herself for a capital offense so that she will share his fate on the gallows. She is, however, reprieved at the last minute, "and her husband attains the heroism of Tyburn without her" (288). The Dutch Courtesan contains no precedent for these plot-twists, and I can think of no parallel to them elsewhere in the post- 1660 repertoire. For Hughes, they confirm the brilliance with which Behn's remodeling of a male text insistently "portrays the woman's unsuccessful attempts to gain tragic status" (288). English Drama 1660-1700 offers its readers a constant flow of incisive revelations of this kind. Our map of post1660 playwriting has been authoritatively and decisively redrawn. MICHAEL CORDNER University of York Charlotte Stern. The Medieval Theater in Castile. Binghamton: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1996. Pp. ix + 321. $26.00. The study of medieval drama in Castile has been prejudiced by the poor survival rate of performance texts. This may explain why the most influential critical work on the subject has been either in the form of introductions to compilations or surveys focusing on medieval textuality as a whole. In this respect Charlotte Stern follows the most recent critical developments suggested by Ana Ma Alvarez Pellitero (Teatro Medieval, 1990), Carlos Alvar, Angel Gómez Moreno, and Fernando Gómez Redondo (La prosa y el teatro en La Edad Media, 1991), and 294Comparative Drama Ronald E. Surtz (Teatro Castellano de la Edad Media, 1992). Nevertheless , the broad Western European perspective chosen by Stern as a means of rethinking the main critical cruxes gives rise to some most imaginative hypotheses, which may be considered a step forward within this field. Stern's text, organized in five parts, encompasses a diachronic perspective in addition to chapters that discuss such matters as the conflict between orality and textuality, the problem of temporal boundaries in the history ofperformance in Castile, and the continued development of popular religious and secular drama in Spain after 1600. She also mentions Renaissance, baroque, and even paradramatic practices in presentday Spain as potential sources for the study of their medieval counterparts in order to fill the gaps left by the disappearance of many archives and by the inadequacy of research into many of those that do survive. Part 1 addresses the conflict oftextuality from a double perspective: first, to account for Castile's lost heritage, and then to expand this comparative survey to England, France, and Italy. Stern, maintaining a constructive position on this ongoing discussion, argues that a comparison between the records ofearly Spanish Drama and the evidence elsewhere in Europe proves its dramatic tradition. The low rate of textual preservation is then examined from the perspective of the material and intellectual environment surrounding dramatic performances during the Middle Ages. The exiguous dramatic evidence, which can be dated to before the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 293-297
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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