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308Comparative Drama rists provide the basis of this "complex intersections of American Theatre and culture." Hence in this mingling of cultural and theatrical history (Lafayette's visit, and the opening of the Erie Canal, for instance , are the framework on which the first part of the discussion rests) the prologue sets the scene for a discourse of useful information; but Banks allows herself to be weighted down and clogged with postmodern gibberish which gets in the way of her presentation of oldfashioned theater history, still worthwhile for those unwashed in the waters of current literary mumbo-jumbo, postmodern or otherwise. Here, for example, is the author at her obscurantist best: "Antebellum spaces of legitimation focus the tension between attempts at uniformity and manifestations of multiplicity" (164). That would not have meant much to poor, plain old Joe Jefferson as he traversed the country with his gypsy company playing in found spaces or whatever came his way, being grateful for what little comfort he could find, as he and his troupe brought theater to the masses. One comes away from this tiresome book wondering what precisely it is meant to be? Neither fish nor fowl, its mingling ofpast facts with the present theoretical nostrums founders and finally sinks in its own soggy morass of incoherence and incomprehensibility . JAMES COAKLEY Northwestern University Mark C. Pilkinton, ed. Bristol: Records ofEarly English Drama. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1997. Pp. lxxxii + 382 + 4 plates. $125.00. This fine collection of records for Bristol, one of the most important cities of the realm in the period under scrutiny, is a significant addition to the Records of Early English Drama series. As its editor points out, the final volume is the achievement of scholarly collaboration : in addition to the customarily expert Latin translations and glossary of Abigail Ann Young and English glossary of William Cooke, the volume benefits from a nineteen-page section on "Patrons and Travelling Companies" by Arleane Ralph, and an introduction to the "Historical Background" by Patrick Carter. The editor himself gives an account of the "Drama, Music, and Ceremony" of Bristol, together with the customary "Document Descriptions," and the edited "Records" themselves. The policy of the series is to ensure that the editor's introduction to the records constitutes a chronicle raisonné rather than a history in the full (and much-contested) sense. Pilkinton carries out this task admirably : one is shown beginnings and endings, processes and changes are sensibly inferred where they are not fully attested by record (this is particularly true of the Reformation); patterns of institutional activity Reviews309 emerge as does an overall picture of a powerful, culturally rich, diverse and self-conscious city through whose ceremonial both historical change and continuity are refracted. Pilkinton judiciously helps the reader towards the leading, and sometimes unique, features of Bristol's festive, musical, and ceremonial traditions, but one also senses the special nature of the city through the way the records themselves combine manuscript and print culture. The relative proportions of these sources have undoubtedly been affected by the heavy loss of parish records during the war, and by the fact that the most important manuscript archive , of Mayors' Audits, dates only from 1531. But the Short Title Catalogue of printed books provides five, sometimes very substantial, entries, and reveals the significance for a London public of what went on in Bristol, just as Pilkinton reports that London merchants braved infection to do business there. In particular, these printed accounts add to the heavy textualisation of the Bristol records, through their detailed reports of royal progresses through the town. Of the many such visitations only four are present in the records: those of Edward IV, Henry VII, Elizabeth I and King James's queen, Anne, but even the briefest of these (Edward's) contains lines of verse spoken to him. We get twelve stanzas of rhyme royal for Henry, seventeen pages of speeches and description of the entertainment offered to Elizabeth, and twenty-one, combining manuscript report and Robert Naile's lengthy couplet publication , on the elaborate sea battle with "Turks" staged for Queen Anne. (Bristol made full use of its opportunities for playing in and around water.) During those hours...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 308-311
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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