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HUMANITIES 437 as promised; and by ending so thinly the study risks making us forget the solid virtue of its earlier textual comparisons. (R.B. PARKER) Carol Kleiman. Sean O'Casey's Bridge of Vision: Four Essays on Structure and Perspective University of Toronto Press. xiv, 148. $22.50 Like many books on O'Casey, by himself and others, this one aggressively defends his work from such charges as unoriginality, wanton or feeble experimentation, and overblown rhetoric. In the first of her four essays, Professor Kleiman asserts the independence of O'Casey from Toller's expressionist example and, too perfunctorily, the superiority of the Irish playwright over the German one. In the second essay she defends, once more, The Silver Tassie from Yeats's and others' criticisms of its structure. The third offers an exegetical commentary on Red Roses for Me; and the fourth describes O'Casey as a precursor of the Absurdists. The appended 'Notes on Production' suggest ways of staging The Silver Tassie and Red Roses for Me. The way in which Kleiman brings out the importance of Raymond Massey's 1929 production of The Silver Tassie, and its bearing on O'Casey's stage version, is the most interesting part of the book. Amongst other interpretive details of staging, Massey briefly introduced Harry Heegan into the second 'expressionist' act of the play and thus, Kleiman reasonably claims, enhanced the unity of the work. However, O'Casey apparently chose not to revert to his own earlier (draft) conception in which Harry was indeed present among the soldiers at the front. Kleiman 's researches and suggestions about this key point are very interesting but rather contradictory. She defends the structure of the play but goes one better than Massey in proposing that Harry should be doubled with The Croucher, the better to integrate the second act with the rest. In her essay on Red Roses for Me, she praises and explicates O'Casey's dialogue. The explication may not be altogether necessary and does not - any more than the praise - answer the commonly voiced criticism. 'As the setting sun floods the scene with golden, bronze and coloured light, Ayamonn's words grow luminous with the beauty of the natural scene before him,' she says of a passage in the play; and doubtless that is what O'Casey intends. But O'Casey's hero (described only too convincingly as 'parallel' to 'O'Casey himself,' 'Christ-like' and 'God-like') sounds uncommonly like joyce's Gerty MacDowell. At the very least there is a theatrical problem in the play. How is an actress to say, 'He whispered it in me ear as his life fled through a bullet-hole in his chest ... " without sounding a little insincere? Or, 'Isn't it a sad thing for him to be Iyin' 438 LETTERS IN CANADA 1982 lonesome in th' cheerless darkness of th' livelong night!' without sounding a little more parodic than the situation will bear? To my mind, Kleiman's advocacy for the dramatist would be more convincing if she did not feel compelled to defend his 'poethry: The claims for O'Casey as a precursor of Beckett and the Absurdists (based heavily on the 'state 0' ... chassis' evoked by Captain Boyle in Juno, and the pathos of Harry Heegan in his wheelchair) are rather factitious: an enterprising but overstated attempt to put O'Casey in the Absurdist van-, rather than the Expressionist rear-, guard. Whether it would be at all profitable to suggest in production that O'Casey's mixture of farce and pathos points the way to the Absurd seems most doubtful. But there is no indication whether, in this instance, Kleiman has the theatrical courage of her literary convictions. (MICHAEL SIDNELL) Michael Ballin, editor. D.H. Lawrence's 'Women in Love'; Contexts and Criticism Wilfrid Laurier University. 126 The editor's hope that this collection of essays 'will give the reader an impetus to continue the strenuous critical quest for new values and resolutions, enriched by an understanding of the manifold contextual bases of Lawrence's writing' (p vi) is intermittently fulfilled by the actual contents. The volume partly substantiates the reflection of one contributor , George Hibbard: 'Time and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 437-438
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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