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

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. Kernodle ranges widely in general comment on 'The Mannerist Stage of Comic Detachment' but too discursively: the best things are asides about Twelfth Night (128) and As You Like It (129) deriving from directorial experience with the plays. (R.W. INGRAM) Alexander Leggatt, Citizen Comedy in the Age of Shakespeare. University of Toronto Press, x, 167, $10.00 'Citizen Comedy' is one of those conveniently elastic terms which allow the student of Elizabethan drama to write, within very broad limits, about almost any play that happens to interest him. Alexander Leggatt avails himself to the full of its accommodating nature. Defining it initially as 'comedy set in a predominantly middle-class social milieu: he promptly contracts his critical umbrella to manageable proportions by limiting his study to plays written between 1585 and 1625, and, with two exceptions, to plays that are set in England. These arbitrary yet admirably realistic restrictions cause one major casualty - the exclusion of The City Madam, 384 LETTERS IN CANADA the play in which Massinger gives his views on the right use of wealth, as well as on the wrong use of it which he had already attacked in A New Way To Pay Old Debts. They are not responsible for the fact that Lyly's Mother Bombie, which far outdoes any previous attempt to adapt Latin comedy to an English selting, receives no mention. This omission is, presumably , an oversight. The great virtue of the book is the novelty and the rightness of the approach which it makes to its subject. Interested primarily in what the playwrights have to say about the practical issues of everyday life, such as the making of money and the making of marriages, Professor Leggatt abandons chronology and authors in favour of themes. Typical chapter headings are 'Citizen Hero and Citizen Villain,' 'The Prodigal,' 'Who Wears the Breeches?,' and so forth. Two valuable consequences follow: the minor dramatists come into their own; and so do the plays of multiple authorship. The acknowledged masters continue, of course, to dominate the scene. No matter what the topic may be, Dekker, Jonson, Massinger and, above all, Middleton have something important to say about it. But on certain speCific matters men such as Barry, Davenport, Field, Sharpham , and Haughton Can hold their own with the great. Ram Alley, for example, emerges from the intelligent and sympathetic analysis it is submitted to as a rather better play, as well as a much sharper and more astringent play, than A Trick To Catch the Old One from which...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 383-385
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
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.