In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

following the productions of complete cycles from '975 onwards. A producer needs a cue-list giving him all the necessary information, but the information is here scattered in several places - principally in sections 1 and 4of my first paragraph. Moreover, while the index ofsongs (section 1) gives the sources of texts, the sources of the music are relegated to an appendix (section 4): again, this hides away vital information, and is especially strange in view of the book's title. Secondly, this and other matters suggest that more expertise on music and liturgy must eventually be brought to bear on the subject. For example, is the Gloria of the Mass really a possibility when we look for a musical settingof the angels' Gloria? Musical and liturgical considerations suggest not, but the opposite is implied by Dutka's listing of three possible sources for the text- the Mass Gloria first- without any critical assessment of their relative merits (p 29). In one sense these are quibbles, however, for the book does not pretend to approach the difficult practical questions concerning the use of polyphony, etc, that it will eventually be our aim to answer. Dutka's purpose has clearly been to present the results of literary and musical archaeology, and future researchers in the subject will be grateful to her for accomplishing a much-needed task so successfully. (RICHARD RASTALL) John Ripley. Julius Caesar on Stage in England and America, '599-1973 Cambridge University Press. xiii, 370, illus. $37.50 For one reason or another Julius Caesar has not been at the centre of modern critical readings of the Shakespeare canon, though it has long been a favourite school play, because of its 'sensational action, straightforward characters, and absence of sex: and actors from Betterton to Gielgud have delighted in it, as have literary actors from Polonius toJames Tyrone. Its popularity on the stage was perhaps at its peak in the nineteenth century, in England and America, but it was also surprisingly successful in the Restoration, when the subject of political assassination might have seemed too touchy; it remained one of the Shakespeare plays that Restoration audiences saw unaltered and largely uncut. Its political 'relevance' has always been emphaSized in one way or another by directors or audiences: early American audiences were drawn to the virtuous republicanism of the play, lending less attention to the success of the ruthless demagogues, one assumes, while a more recent American production, that of Orson Welles in '937, provided the political colouring that has largely prevailed in staging for the last forty-odd years. John Ripley's book is at its best as a fascinating chronicle of the taste through which the play has been fIltered over the four hundred years of its stage career. The myth of Rome, exotic and noble, has always been HUMANITIES 107 most tellingly reflected in the second-rate art of any period, and in the theatre we can locate certain stylistic touchstones which have had their effect on the reading and playing of Julius Caesar: in 1713 Addison's Cato, a hundred years later the Virginius ofSheridan Knowles, one of Macready's great vehicles, and a hundred years after that the 1926 film of Ben Hur. The aesthetics ofstaging have changed as the presence of the populus Romanus has been more or less insisted on. Shakespeare's own Roman mob was probably quite small, as stage mobs continued to be in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; their schoolboyish misbehaviour on the 'lend me your ears' speech is frostily recorded by Francis Gentleman. The careful rehearsal and grouping of many actors to form a massive spectacle is perhaps best known as the hallmark of the Meininger troupe at the end of the nineteenth century, but this fashion of staging the play began with Kemble's production in 1812 and reached its absurd peak in a production in Los Angeles in 1916, with five thousand performers as gladiators, slave girls, and soldiers. Ripley is less interesting as a critic of the play itself; he feels that it has not been well served by modern productions and calls it 'a heroic play adrift in an anti-heroic age: He is more sanguine...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 106-107
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.