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Reviews593 as openly feminist and romantic as is her view in Antony and Cleopatra. She sees the hero's mother, wife, and family friend Virgilia as analogues to the Sabine women whom Rome's bachelor founders kidnapped —symbols of the quintessential femininity within Roman virtus. Volumnia is a figure of heroic pathos. Her womb and personality create the wound-filled warrior son. Fittingly, she is to be "identiffied]. . . with Rome, as the fertile resource without which the state cannot reproduce itself, cannot continue." On the one hand she is a victim, in "complicity with [patriarchal] power," but she is also the under-celebrated savior of that power, for to her the state has "assigned" a "maternal power" more flexible and capable than that of her "rigidly consistent masculin[e son] and the impotent patricians." Kahn relishes the irony that Shakespeare denies the preserver of Rome the chance even to star as a parent in a pietà. Instead, the Romans fail to "realiz[e] that Volumnia's imprint on her son results in his death" and she is a necessary educative force if the "Roman state" is to move on "[t]he way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs." One yearns in vain, however, for Kahn to speculate on how an early modern audience would apply these ironic lessons to the emerging English empire. CLIFFORD RONAN Southwest Texas State University Claire Sponsler. Drama and Resistance: Bodies, Goods, and Theatricality in Late Medieval England. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997. Pp. xvii + 209. $54.95 (casebound); $21.95 (paperbound). There are some books with which one is in serious disagreement much of the time but which nevertheless are both challenging and illuminating . Others are among those that belong on a list of prohibited books which should be kept safely locked away from graduate students. Claire Sponsler's Drama and Resistance belongs in both categories. Almost every assertion in the book requires careful thought to determine whether or not it is plausible, though even when totally indefensible it might stimulate thinking in new and fruitful directions. For example, Sponsler's analysis of the killing of the Innocents and the Crucifixion brings her to the observation that "these damaged bodies are not made whole again, are not brought back to life, and are not restored to the social whole" (159). In the case of the Innocents in the civic cycles or the Digby Kyllyng ofpe Children oflsraelle, this is true. (However, in contrast, the liturgical Fleury Ordo Rachelis brings the boys back to life through the agency of an angel, whereupon they return to the choir.) The Christ of the Crucifixion is another matter, for in the Easter event, which always followed the events of Good Friday in these pageants, the body of the Lord is returned to life—and it is this body 594Comparative Drama which was believed to give wholeness and health to the social order throughout the centuries ofthe Christian era. Paradoxically, the violence inflicted on Christ's body is a necessary event in the system of exchange which was understood to serve a transformative function in the society so that acts of charity might replace deeds of selfishness and hatred. The "damaged" body of Christ, with wounds still displayed, not only appeared alive in the Resurrection and subsequent plays up to the Ascension, but also reappeared in the Last Judgment. In the Chester Doomsday, the wound in his side continued to emit blood as a sign of his saving grace, and so too was he represented in the popular arts such as the woodcuts in the Biblia Pauperum. Unfortunately, the evidence of popular works, including wall paintings, painted glass, and woodcarvings , is ignored by Sponsler in spite of their much closer relevance to the popular civic drama than books of hours and elitist illuminated manuscripts. In attempting to connect two early sixteenth-century miniatures in the Tourotte Hours (Walters Art Gallery, MS. W 222) with an aspect of performance, Sponsler observes that the one (fol. V) presents a comfortable interior scene of a specific family in prayer with SS. Anthony and Peter, while the other (fol. T) shows the father and mother in a barren landscape where they are "exposed...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 593-596
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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