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Reviews419 plays tend to end with "negative" prophecies for the future, where the later ones have positive forecasts; that earlier plays have contrasting ending prophecies where the later ones are sequential; and that the aitia of earlier plays concern death and commemorative ritual, where the later aitia concern the survival of a character in name. Thus, he concludes , continuity is more important in the later plays, and closure in the earlier ones. Finally, Dunn suggests that the earlier plays adhere more closely to the traditional tragic form, where the later ones increasingly experiment and explore new genres. Euripides, says Dunn, "probably would have agreed that what he saw and understood in the later years of his career could no longer be expressed by means of tragedy" (157). This attempt to show chronological development in Euripides is the weakest part of Dunn's argument. His terms are vaguely and tendentiously defined. What, for example, constitutes a "negative" end? Medea's revelation that Jason will die ignominiously under the rotting figurehead of the Argo—Dunn's example of a negative prophecy—is a consummation devoutly to be wished as far as Medea is concerned, and many of her audience would be inclined to agree. Definition of terms aside, we lack the greater part of Euripides' output, but even the extant evidence for chronological development is, on Dunn's own showing, inconclusive and often contradictory. Finally, any argument that Euripides abandons the tragic form late in his career must find some way of explaining the Bacchae. Dunn dismisses this play in less than a page (182), hardly sufficient for defense ofhis argument. Other objections I might make to Dunn's observations are only differences of opinion. For example, Dunn finds the plot of the Trojan Women "disfigured" because of its lack of movement. I find the play's relentless focus on the unchanging and unchangeable suffering of its characters a magnificent tour deforce; but both are personal judgments. The book gives the reader much to ponder and to argue, and for that reason alone is worth a careful reading. Some might find it disconcerting that a book on closure in Euripides itself lacks a conclusion, but perhaps that is the point. LAUREL M. BOWMAN University of Victoria Yoshihiro Kurata. Kaigai Koen Kotohajime [The Beginnings of Overseas Performance]. Tokyo: Tokyo Shoseki, 1994. Pp. 267 + 34 illus.¥1500. A fascinating study of the earliest Japanese performing arts in the West, Yoshihiro Kurata's present work documents details of touring groups and their performance and history in the last decades of the nineteenth-century, complementing his earlier book, 1885—nen Ron- 420Comparative Drama don Nihonjin Mura [The Japanese Village in London in 1885] of 1983. These earliest performers were acrobats and jugglers whose demonstrations of great feats preceded the introduction of Japanese dance and drama to the West by well over thirty years. They first left Japan in 1 866, two years before the close of the feudal Tokugawa regime, as soon as the Government approved of Japanese citizens' travels abroad for either "study" or "trade." Obviously they went on tours under the pretext of "trade," and as the forerunners of the Japanese performers in Europe and America proved their enterprising spirit far ahead of actors. Kurata unearthed this little explored aspect of East-West interactions with convincing evidence from reviews and articles in numerous newspapers and journals in Japanese, English, and French, as well as official records preserved in the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several other offices and libraries. His main contribution to new scholarship is to put the achievements of these acrobats and jugglers in perspective, as discussed in the first chapter. In the second chapter he describes the "geisha" whose first foreign tours occurred in 1 867 appearing in the Paris International Exhibition and again in the 1900 Exhibition. The third chapter deals with the actors, Otojiro Kawakami and Sada Yacco, who made their sensational débuts on American and European tours from 1899-1902, and Hanako who followed suit shortly afterwards. In the end the author makes it clear that, despite his emphasis on strolling acrobatic players, the images of the other two kinds of performers were soon...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 419-423
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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