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books and company Theories of the Theatre: A Historical and Critical Survey from the Greeks to the Present Marvin Carlson Cornell University Press; 530 pp.; $45 (cloth) Theories of the Theatre arrives at a time when theatre critics and scholars are becoming increasingly interested In theory, which has never been a major issue in American theatre criticism. Carlson's book begins with Aristotle and more or less ends with Derrida, who is deconstructing the production of western culture Aristotle helped set down. Carlson took upon himself the exhaustive job of outlining the major and often minor theories of drama and theory in the history of western thought. We should be grateful for this textbook which brings together in one setting a theoretical survey which has never been taken elsewhere. As such it makes a good companion to the Barrett H. Clark classic European Theories of the Drama. Carlson's book sticks close to the established theoretical line so there aren't really any surprises here, and it would have been exciting to discover the work of eccentric figures left out of history books, or only mentioned in passing. Also, though Carlson limited his book to western theory, this may not have been such a wise choice since there is so much interest now in Asian performance. Major Indian and Japanese theories could easily have been accommodated in the volume. All in all, this book is a necessary starting point for future theories of theatre that are likely to be written in the coming years. Bonnie Marranca A History of the Theatre Glynne Wickham Cambridge University Press; 264 pp.; $29.95 (cloth) Western Theatre: Revolution and Revival Patti P. Gillespie and Kenneth M. Cameron Macmillan; 575 pp.; unpriced The burden of successfully inculcating something like an historical sensibility falls heavily on the writer who would present a unified account of theatre's origins and subsequent development and its relation to the society and culture which shaped it and which it reflects. The scope of this task 116 ...


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