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210 BOOK REVIEWS this the mark of a Shavian realist? The reductiveness and inadequacy of these labels is particularly apparent when Wisenthal takes the passage between Broadbent , a Philistine, and Keegan, who in despair asserts he does not feel at home in the world, and then concludes, "No passage in Shaw's writings presents so strikingly the Philistine temperament as opposed to that of the Realist." Such disagreements notwithstanding, I find Wisenthal's interpretations for the most part sensible, perceptive, and convincing. Rightly, he divorces the effect of the Preface to Major Barbara from that of the play itself. With a splendid sense of theatre, he observes how the staging of the final moments ofJohn Bull's Other Island visually reinforces the triumph of Broadbent and the isolation of Keegan, and how Shaw visually suggests parallels between Stogumber and Joan when he has the cleric, upon returning from her execution, throw himself on the stool occupied by Joan during the trial. With admirable attention to detail, he justifies the thematic relevance of the Gentleman of the 1920s in the Epilogue to Saint Joan, the progression in Man and Superman from Tanner as Ann's teacher to Ann as his, the thematic appropriateness of the superficiality of the various characters' broken hearts in Heartbreak House - to mention only three of the book's abundant insights. His chapter on Back to Methuselah is better than any other analysis of that play I have read. He observes, for instance, that Shaw's making the politicians of the second play members of a divided opposition rather than the government further diminishes their stature, and that his consistent contrast of differing and evolving forces in terms of adults and children serves not only satiric purposes but also makes "the point that all creatures are children because they are always evolving toward a higher form of existence - an adulthood." Let me conclude by emphasizing that despite portions of Wisenthal's or Berst's books which I find unconvincing or unsatisfactory, each work as a whole is excellent and should prove immensely useful to critics and students of Shaw's plays. I learned a great deal from both. BERNARD F. DUKORE University of Hawaii THE COLLECTED LETTERS OF SIR ARTHUR PINERO, edited by J.P. Wearing. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 1974.302 pp. $15. Of the nearly 1400 extant letters, 337 appear here. Ample headnotes describe the form of each piece of correspondence, give location of the original, provide background information, and identify persons and works mentioned. As Mr. Wearing maintains, the correspondence deserves to be read "for the light it throws both upon the state of the English theatre of the period and upon one of that theatre's leading practitioners" (p. 4). Practically all of the communications went to Pinero's associates in the theatre and to fellow dramatists , the greatest number to critic William Archer, playwright Henry Arthur Jones, and manager Sir George Alexander. Notable exceptions are letters to L.E. Shipman, editor of Life from 1922 to 1924, who seems to have been one of his few intimates, and thirty letters to his aunt. BOOK REVIEWS 211 Although Mr. Wearing has made his selections to "illustrate the various facets of Pinero's life and work" (p. 4), the reader will not find great variety, since Pinero's interests were rather narrowly limited to things theatrical. Most of the letters deal with practical matters such as terms for productions in America, arrangements for casting, etc. A potential biographer looking for startling new facts will be disappointed, and students of dramatic theory will find only small rewards here. The historian of the theatre and drama will be somewhat more gratified by minute details that help to fix the dates of composition of certain Pinero plays, further define relationships between theatre managers and playwrights , and corroborate other records of theatre conditions. As could be expected, the letters give a fuller impression of the playwright's humanity than has been available in any other published source. One letter contains his recollection that before he was ten years old he became his father's "right hand" and that he was always "a very old little boy" (p...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5286
Print ISSN
0026-7694
Pages
pp. 210-212
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-03
Open Access
No
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