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382 LETTERS IN CANADA new ground but also the recovery of an understanding of Spenser's great poem that seems more and more nearly to approximate that of its early readers. (THOMAS H. CAIN) The Elizabethan Theatre 1Il: Papers Given at the Third International Conference on Elizabethan Theatre held at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, in 1"ly I970, David Galloway, editor. Macmillan, pp 175, $7.95 David Galloway, with more reason than Falstaff, could say in July 1970: This is the third time: I hope good luck lies in odd numbers.' The Conference on Elizabethan Theatre was securely established as an International Conference. Most of us are satisfied with one experience of conference organizing but David Galloway has made a profeSSion of it: he has now handed over the Elizabethan Theatre Conference to George Hibbard but its existence is his achievement. The Conference has always understood the 'Elizabethan theatre' to mean the buildings, the actors, their stages, and their audiences and has treated plays as things meant to be seen and to be heard. John Lawlor's envoi to this volume, 'Continuity and Innovation in Shakespeare: succinctly urges attention to the play in performance. T.J. King introduces the topic in its broadest sense and presents the introduction to his nOw published book on Shakespearean Staging, 1599-1642. At the other extreme , Herbert Berry brings the Boar's Head more sharply into focus as a theatre ( though he admits to some inches of discrepancy in over a hundred feet). His incredible thoroughness commands respect and close attention in the reading (one assumes a much shorter version was presented at the Conference) Clifford Leech suggests ways in which the sardonic humour of Westward Ho, Eastward Ho, and Northward Ho appealed to 'an in-group whose members rivalled each other, could even show respect for each other as well as an occasional mockery, could make in-jokes which its audience could be expected to take up' (15). Then, by way of The Widow's Tears and The Duchess of Malfi he returns to the question of which plays could be played at both public and private theatres. The question is brusquely answered by J.A. Lavin: dramaturgy was not affected by the physical characteristics of the theatre; public, private, and court theatre repertories were interchangeable; dichotomies between public and private theatre styles and audiences are not 'substantiated by the facts' (73). Alfred Harbage is peremptorily dealt with but the main defendant is G.E. Bentley in the case of 'Shakespeare and the Blackfriars HUMANITIES 383 Theatre.' This is a widely and, Lavin argues, uncritically accepted essay. He tests its arguments severely and trenchantly demonstrates the weakness of arguing from 'probably' to 'surely' to 'must' to 'is.' But an argument with weaknesses is not necessarily entirely wrong, as J.A. Lavin's own paper shows. He finds 'must' and 'probably' useful and his assertions are far bolder than Bentley's. Nonetheless this is a vigorous, lucid paper that must have ruflled the Conference as it will its readers. That is one of its virtues; to confer is not always to agree. Modes of argument need to be tested, what constitutes a 'fact' in theatrical history and how it is used need to be re-examined. This is what the Conference does. As if to try his fellow-speaker, Glynne Wickham argues (with 'Bentleyan ' suppositions) that Cymbeline possibly and The Winter's Tale almost certainly celebrate the investiture of Prince Henry as Prince of Wales in 1610 and the cementing of the friendship of England and Scotland. Jonson and Daniel wrote masques for the event; 'it seems probable that Shakespeare would either choose or be required to make a similar contribution' (93). The case is not proven. In The Politics of Scholarship: A Dramatic Comment on the Autocracy of Charles I:W.R. Gair takes a less exposed position. The central incident in Marmion's The Antiquary leads him to rehearse pithily and interestingly the history of the Society of Antiquaries as far as the sealing of Cotton's library by a suspicious Charles. This is brieRy related to Marmion's play and one wishes the connection were further explored. Finally, George R...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 380-382
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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