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HUMA.!'\JTTIES 441 the subjects covered are the various literary representations of the Rape of _Lucrece, the question of historical notions of selfhood, and authors such as Gongora, Ariosto, Cervantes, Boccaccio, and Marguerite de Navarre. Serving as bookends to the collection are more general essays on the interactions between history and anthropology and between theories of narrative and drama. The collection as a whole is made much more Lm.ified and userfriendly by the inclusion of a general list of works cited and an index for the entire volume; very few edited collections bother with these features, and it is to be hoped that Hart will make this standard for the series. There are several imp-ressive pieces of work within this wide array, but the collection as a whole bears only a tenuous relation to any widely recognized definition of 'cultural studies.' As Hart states in his preface to the series, the two disciplines he wishes to juxtapose 'emphasize popuJar culture, visual arts, and the sociology of literature.' None of these subjects, however, receives any detailed attention here, and there is little in the way of non-literary history either. As the above summary implies, the subjects of the essays in Imagining Culture are, in the main, canonical and literary, and most follow the traditional modes of literary analysis that the cultural studies movement (in its many manifestations) implidtIy or exphcitly seeks to challenge. It should be stressed that this is not an indictment of the essays themselves: Gise]e Mathieu-Castellani's excellent essay 'Pour une poetique de la nouvelle' is a fine example of the high-quality work to be found here, but it is as thoroughly 'literary' in its methodology and subject matter as its title implies. Other highlights of the collection include Olga Zorzi Pugliese's essay on the dialogue f01m in the Renaissance and Massimo Verdkchio's work on the modernity of Ariosto, but these too never stray far from orthodox formal and historical literary scholarship. Even Hart's own essay on the early modern historiography of the Americas focuses on 'close readi.ng and rhetorical analysis of the process of European possession of the New World' rather than on any of the non-literary manifestations of imperialism. As an engagement with the question of comparative literature's relation to cultural studies, therefore, this volume is not a success; it raises an excellent question that it completely fails to address. As a contribution to the study of early modern European literature, on the other hand, it succeeds admirably and brings together a collection of studies that play off each other very welL (JOHN HUNTER) Viviana Comensoli. 'Ho11sehold Business·: Domestic Plays of Enrly Modem E11glmul University of Toronto Press 1996. x, 2.38. $5o.oo Working against the older critical tradition that saw the domestic drama of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries as preaching the lessons of a culture with a fixed value system, Viviana Comensoli, in a book very 442. LED'ERS IN CANADA 1997 much of our own time, insists that it speaks with many voices and that some of those voices challenge conventional complacency about domestic life. Thus, the Patient Grissil of Dekker, Chettle, and Haughton, while apparently endorsing domestic authority in its main plot, challenges that authority in its subplots. While Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness stereotypes Arme Frankford's adultery, seeing it as a helpless coJiapse into natural female weakness, the anonymous Arden of Feversham gives the murderous Alice Arden a mind, a will, and a voice of her own; or as Comensoli puts it, the play 'gives voice to a radical discourse of desire.' Nor are women the only rebels: in a provocative reading of A Yorkshire Tragedy, Comensoli sees the Husband's madness in terms of 'a stultifying domesticity ' exemplified in the bland advice of the characters who try to control him. The home, apparently the centre of domestic comfort and civility, can provoke men as well as women to rebeL There is room for disagreement over all these readings- arguably, Alice Arden is as much a negative stereotype as Anne Frankford- but in each case Comensoli makes an important contribution to an ongoing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 441-443
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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