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HUMANITIES 221 Lock's self-contained discussions typically provide factually accurate contexts, ventilated with what will be for most readers unfamiliar detail. In general, my scepticism has risen on occasions when his explanations have tended to simplify. The predominant effect of Lock's biography, however, is salutary complication. Reliable across a broad range of eighteenthcentury experience and exceptionally well informed about Burke's inunediate environment, this volume is now, for the years it covers, the standard biography of Burke. (JOHN FAULKNER) David G. John. Images oj Goethe through Schiller's 'Egmont' McGill-Queen's University Press. x, 326. $65.00 In his very brief conclusion to this pleasingly written and well-presented book, David John reiterates the premise for his whole undertaking, which is the need to go beyond the text itself in an effort to explore 'other semiological systems ... in order to understand the full significance of Egmont, as well as of other dramatic works.' Those other systems are brought into play throughout the study by means of fairly brief synoptic presentations of many of the most significant performances of Egmont captured on stage and film from 1789 (Mainz) to 1986/87 (Frankfurt/Main). The discovery of an annotated manuscript (M372) in the Reif5-Museum, Mannheim led Jolm to believe that he had before him a multi-performance text of Schiller's adaptation of Egmont of 1796. Although this manuscript had been consulted by Hans Heinrich Borcherdt, editor of volume 13 of Schiller~s Werke, Nationalausgabe (1949), a careful and precise examination by John of Borcherdt's presentation of the variants among all the available manuscript versions revealed that the many alUlotations added by hand in M372 had not been dealt with. !twas in fact Borcherdt's own assertion of the importance ofSchiller's stage adaptation ofGoethe's playas a key to the differences between text and performance that led John to devote renewed attention to the manuscript with all its additional markings. After a good introductory overview of Egmont scholarship from Heinrich DUntzer (1858) to Daniel Wilson (1994, 1996) and an initial chapter on scholarly editions to date, John presents as his second chapter a reproduction of the Mannheim manuscript, a scribe's transcription of Schiller's stage adaptation of the play, on the grounds of 'uncertainties surrounding the Mannheim manuscript and scholars' general disregard for the extratextual connotations it contains.' The immensely detailed notes to this chapter are evidence ofa painstaking and thorough annotation of the republished text. John presents all the deletions, insertions, comments, and rnarklngs that would appear to have informed those performances based on the manuscript . This then forms the basis for a considerable part of the rest of the study, whose chief focus in the following six chapters lies'on performance 222 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 and its constituent elements - the ingredients of dramatic tension, the impact of visual images, actors and acting, and so on. Schiller saw the original ending of Goethe's play - Egmont's vision of Gretchen - as a serious flaw, a leap into the realm of the improbable, acceptable perhaps in the world of opera but not of theatre. He therefore altered the endingconsiderably1 but did not omit it entirely, whichhas been claimed so often in the critical literature on the work. Goethe, however, disliked Schiller's treatment and later restored his own version, which in John's view bears more of the hallmarks of a painting than of a theatrical production. This is an important point for John, as it highlights the primacy of image over text in terms of theatrical efficacy and repeated revitalization which is the fundamental conviction underlying his present study. What John does best - and he truly does it in an exemplary fashion - is to present a wealth of detailed and complicated material very clearly. By means of division and subdivision of chapters he manages to relieve the reader at every point where the detail might begin to become overwhelming . One is truly grateful for the clarity of style and mmd behind and within this book. The one reservation that I have concerns what seems to me a failure to fulfil the promise contained in the title, Images of Goethe through Schiller's 'Egmont...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 221-222
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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