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306 BOOK REVIEWS Story ofa Stairway, with its portrayal of the hopes and failures of three generations of Madrid tenement dwellers, which gave a new direction to the Spanish stage. Buero, now Spain's most significant living playwright, together with Alfonso Sastre, the author of frequent critical essays on the social purpose of drama, has been instrumental in creating a theater of awareness which contrasts sharply with the conformist "establishment" fare of their predecessors. Since Twayne volumes exist on the theater of both Buero and Sastre, Holt is justified in devoting somewhat less space to them than their importance merits. Holt's last chapter deals with a second group of post-war dramatists who emerged between 1955 and 1965, and who follow in the path of Buero and Sastre. Their socially committed and critically realistic theater has been accurately described by critic Ruiz Ramon as a "theater of protest and indictment." This group - consisting of Olmo, Buded, Muiiiz, Gala, and M. Recuerda - has been able to get only a relatively small number of their plays actually staged. Because of prohibitions by the censors, they have come to be known as the "lost generation." In this reviewer's opinion, Holt (who prefers the plays of poetized reality written by Lopez Rubio, Ruiz Iriarte, etc.) devotes much less attention to this group than it merits. In addition, it would seem to have been preferable to include at least a brief discussion of Ruibal, Martinez Ballesteros, and Bellido, most of whose works, like those of the realistic group mentioned above, have been denied performance by the censors. However, as Holt states, an analysis of their plays is available in George Wellwarth's Spanish Underground Drama. In conclusion, Holt's emphasis is quite different from that which other critics , including the reviewer, might have chosen. However, it does reflect the preponderance on the Spanish stage of plays which have tended to avoid the harsher aspects of reality. In general, Professor Holt's book is a good overall view of the contemporary Spanish theater which is enhanced by his broad knowledge of recent European and American drama. MARTHA T. HALSEY The Pennsylvania State University BERNARD SHAW: A PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY, by Daniel Dervin. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1975. 350 pp. $15.00. Daniel Dervin's study is a fairly orthodox Freudian analysis of Shaw's life and career. Believing that what is experienced in the theater is "a transference of energy" from the playwright t the audience, Dervin seeks to establish the source of Shaw's creative energy. Chapter One, "The Superfluous Child," locates the principal source in Shaw's response to his mother's psychological disabilities. Deprivations in his mother's childhood (combined with a sad case of penis envy that masculinized her) lead to deprivations in Shaw's childhood, which Shaw then spent a lifetime compensating through a strategy of "manic denial." "Shaw's manic denial, as well as his early identifications with his mother and continuing idealization of her, reveals a tendency to reestablish a state of symbiosis with the mother as a refuge from oral conflicts of cannibalism or abandonment and remote from genital confusion. Traditionally this state is the realm of 'oceanic feeling,' of oneness with the universe .... " Thus the Life Force is Bessie Shaw writ large. Candida, Anne Whitefield, etc., are Bessie, too. And Shaw's BOOK REVIEWS 307 "correspondence with a lifelong series of women ... stimulate[d] ... a sense of symbiotic presence." But the Life Force, unlike the traditional God, is fallible, and thus simultaneously it "incorporates Mrs. Shaw's primordial divinity ... with her faltering roles as daughter, wife, and mother." In Chapter Two, "Impecunious Son," Shaw's dipsomaniac and (at least in spirit) cuckolded father contributes an anticlimactic sense of humor (masochistic in his case) as a defense mechanism supportive of Shaw's developing manic disposition (a way to make trifles out of tragedies) and an example of flawed authority that Shaw will later project onto the patriarchal institutions of his day. Further, his father's impotence leads to Shaw's general downplaying of phallic-man, culminating in his effort to eliminate the male sexual role from the human sphere entirely. And on it goes, as Dervin nails...


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pp. 306-307
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