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586Comparative Drama Marx, Said, and even the venerable MLA Style Manual. These limitations notwithstanding, this volume announces a powerful new paradigm that will surely influence the study and teaching of early drama for decades to come. A New History of Early English Drama deserves the attention of every serious student of the period in question. STEPHEN K. WRIGHT The Catholic University ofAmerica C. Christopher Soufas. Audience and Authority in the Modernist Theater of Federico García Lorca. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1996. Pp. xv + 190. $42.95. The subject of numerous critical works, Garcia Lorca's theater has generally been studied by Hispanists who have focused almost exclusively on its thematic or social messages. In the present study, Christopher Soufas argues that the existing criticism is incomplete and that a full consideration of Lorca's theater must take into account "the constructive pathway he was building toward the type of stage authority that he knew was necessary to bring his theater—and Spanish theater in general—into the European mainstream" (150). He seeks to remedy this void by examining the evolution of Lorca's theater in terms of his relationship to historical Spanish audiences. His analysis focuses on the author's efforts to restore the prestige of Spanish theater by wresting stage authority from ill-prepared or intolerant spectators. As he explains in his preface, his purpose in this study is two-fold. First, he wishes to shed light on "Lorca's specific attitudes toward theater during his lifetime and in relation to his historical audience" (xiv). Secondly, by applying theoretical performance models, he intends also to situate Lorca's plays within the agenda of the Modernist European theater of his day. He determines that it is by means of its association with the artistic paradigms of Modernism that Lorca's theater progressively derives significant authority. Soufas's innovative approach, examining Lorca's works chronologically, finds great continuity in all of his dramatic production and dispels the traditional perception that his later works tend to be more "realistic" than earlier, more experimental pieces. The first chapter is introductory and surveys previous Lorca criticism . At the same time it outlines the historical and theoretical framework for this study by explaining Modernist aesthetics and performance theory as well as the Madrid theater scene and the characteristics of Lorca's theater. Soufas finds that critics have been unwilling to understand Lorca's literary production in relation to Modernism, although he was a full participant in this multifaceted international movement that dominated artistic expression in Europe. Modernism's new paradigms, significantly different from the representational models of realism or Reviews587 naturalism, attempted to subvert or even sever connection with mimesis and to transform an alienated universe into personal styles and private languages. Lorca's art was, in Soufas's view, dedicated to the exploration of a private reality, but his Modernist tendencies have not been emphasized due to his tendency to use traditional Andalusian settings. Soufas points to his use ofmetadramatic characters, Modernist indexicality , and what the director of The Public calls a "hidden force" as evidence of Lorca's affinities with Modernist expression of his day. He sees Lorca's theater emerging in response to the authority of two offstage domains—the audience and the existential-artistic imperatives of the hidden force—which cause the stage to become the location of an ongoing dialectic about the disintegration of traditional authority. Chapter 2 looks at Lorca's largely unsuccessful early theater and the author's growing awareness that theater must concern itself with issues of performance and reception, placing more emphasis on the directorial function. An open contentiousness is observed between word and image in Lorca's first theatrical works—a struggle between comedy and tragedy, and an ongoing dialectic between the values of script and scenario, seen as necessarily coexisting and yet antagonistic aspects of playmaking. These features are evident in Mariana Pineda, Lorca's first legitimate theater production, which portrays a famous Spanish heroine as seen by the imagination of a young girl. Due to its intimate perspective of events, in Soufas's view this play emphasizes the role of theater as the public extension of an essentially private understanding and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 586-589
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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