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176 Comparative Drama for himself. He is yawning and in bare feet. ... [Vanbrugh] has his actor, nndressed as he is, behave as if he were already fully dressed and at the court reception planned for· the·evening . . . showing the immediate discrepancy between the real and the imaginary figure" (Pl" 51·52). The analysis is enriched by cross-reference to Brecht's Galileo. For those who can identify and correct Professor Styan's lapses of memory, this book can be enjoyable and interesting, but it is not to be put in the hands of the nnwary: most regrettably, it is not a book fQ:l': the Birkenhead Public Library. DEREK HUGHES University of Warwick Christine Dymkowski. Harley Granville-Barker: A Preface to Modern Shakespeare. Washington: Folger Books, 1986. Pp. 240. $32.50. This volume comes fast upon the heels of De~is Kennedy's recent, excellent appraisal of Barker's work, plus rus equally praiseworthy, carefully turned edition of Barker's plays, and Eric Salmon's much-needed, if somewhat poorly organized, awkwardly edited collection of Barker's letters. This flurry of activity on behalf of Barker's career signals a healthy resurgence of·interest in this enigmatic, perplexing, highly influential man of the theater. , Reciting the facts of his professional life, .one notes his departure from practical stage work in his middle age to become later on a distinguished critic-scholar providing magisterial commentary on various Shakespeare plays in his famous ]>refaces, essays of seminal importance in any consideration of twentieth-century Shakespearean scholarship and¢ticism. Also the presentation of Barker's plays by lhe RSC and on BBC television' in the last decade or so has provided audiences .the opportunity to re·examine the man as someone much more than a "mere professor" who deserted tbeplayhouse for the study. Barker is a crucial and pervasive force in this' century's history of theatrical reform, his Shakespearean contributions notwithstanding, a "lost leader" most deserving of the critical re-evaluation now nnderway. . Professor Dymkowski's study, Yet another contribution to the Barker revival, and a revised dissertation submitted at the University of Virginia, examines promptbooks and reviews to reconstruCt noteworthy aspects of Barker's Savoy productions of The Winter's Tale, Twelfth Night (1912), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (1914). She considers these pieces and their treatment in profuse detail, .while also focusing on Barker's Shakespearean criticism as it demonstrates, reflects, and comments upon his .stage work-Le., what we have is a good look at the relationship between Barker's page-tQ.stage efforts. His theory and practiCe are also explored in a lengthy chapter which looks at the Preface to King Lear and its direct connection tathe famous Old Vic production (1940) which starred Gielgud and on which Barker assisted. He did not, be it clearly noted, "direct" this effort·as the author incorrectly asserts and assumes in the first sentence of Chapter 4. No one, not even Harley GranvilleB ~ker, could or would direct Lear in the final ten days of rehearsal, a tiine to which Barker lent hisprofonnd and superlative guidance. Reviews 177 There follows an extended discussion of this famous Lear which relies !!ometimes too heavily on the impressionistic recollection of Hallam Ford~ ham, though it is pleasant to read the fascinating letters which Gielgud and Barker exchanged during this time. But Barker. to reiterate, can in no real, practical sense be considered the director of this production. The author is simply wrong, and to perpetuate this myth encourages more of the mystique above and about .the man and his reputation. One should note, in this latter regard, Cathleen Nesbitt's perceptive antidote toward sentimentalizing about Barker (n. 16) p. 225, as a corrective. A brief conclusion secures Barker in his rightful place as the' great mover and shaker of "Shakespeare's return to the stage" in our century; then come two appendices which supply programs and cast lists of nncommon interest, and the notes which are frequently and richly suggestive, more so than some of the text. However, there are also several disturbing, irksome matters which rob the book of genuine excellence. The author, noting many production details from manysources,refuses.to provide...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 177-179
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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