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250 Comparative Drama of literary-dramatic history which determines what is and what is not to be found in this collection. And in the end the true history of medieval English drama can be neither a six-century log of evolutionary growth nor a “descriptive charting of definitive points of change.” Yet, for now, the parameters fixed by Taylor and Nelson permit far less room for un­ ripe contrivance, far more for our coming to know this drama as drama, in all its art and all its depth. CARL T. BERKHOUT University of Notre Dame Frederick Lumley. New Trends in 20th Century Drama. 4th Rev. Ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972. Pp. 418. $8.50. Dr. Lumley’s latest revision of his Trends in 20th Century Drama retains both the thesis and much of the contents of his earlier (1956, 1960, 1967) versions. In this revision, as in the other Editions, he views the theatre from an Arnoldian perspective, insisting that the theatre’s function is to enrich the community by offering a “philosophy of life which is neither excessive or distorted” (5). “Poetic vision” which offers an optimistic outlook on life is to be preferred to “false pessimism,” political or religious propagandizing, and commercialism. Given this ap­ proach to modern theatre, he does not find much to praise in contempo­ rary practitioners; the absurdists, the Artaudians especially, represent an “interregnum,” a rejection of the old without inception of the new. Dr. Lumley’s critical stance then remains consistently eclectic; he looks wist­ fully at the dramatic past and longs for rebirth in the dramatic future. The major contribution of this series of revisions lies in its compre­ hensive coverage of plays and playwrights of the present century. Dr. Lumley’s brief biographies of the playwrights and succinct synopses of their plays make Trends a convenient reference book. He covers Britain, the U.S.A., Europe (Western and Eastern), with a glimpse at the Orient. The chapter titles, “The State of Drama” in these areas, indicate the survey approach he takes. The survey includes, as well as leading play­ wrights, the more prominent companies and movements. For vital in­ formation on authors, companies and trends, as well as thumbnail sketches of the dramas, Trends continues to be an invaluable source. The 1972 revision does not however represent simply an expansion of the 1967 edition. Some of the playwrights treated in the earlier edition have been dropped and new ones added. In the section on American theatre, for instance, Gelber, Kenneth Brown, Kopit, Philip Barry, and Saroyan have disappeared; Paul Zindel, Lorraine Hansberry and LeRoi lones (sic) have been added. Havel and Grotowski appear as repre­ sentatives of the new theatre in Middle Europe. The omissions and addi­ tions reflect, to some extent, the doldrums of contemporary theatre, at least from Lumley’s point of view. No stars have burst on the horizon since 1967; the “new” playwrights either follow established patterns or offer promise. Reviews 251 New Trends in 20th Century Drama, then, indicates that there have not really been many new trends since the previous revision. Consistency of approach is a virtue, but it seems somewhat otiose to issue new calls for a theatrical renaissance at regular intervals. The next edition of New Trends might well include a revision of critical standpoint that would illuminate the causes of the state of drama and its future. THOMAS E. PORTER University of Detroit Michael Manheim. The Weak King Dilemma in the Shakespearean Histo­ ry Play. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1973. Pp. xii + 198. $ 8. 00. Every age finds in Shakespeare’s plays (and usually in Shakespeare’s mind) a mirror of its own attitudes and concerns. This generalization applies especially to the history plays, which have been fitted to ideas of political organization and political behavior from the rewritings of the Restoration adapters (who were indifferent to the playwright’s intention) to the interpretations of modern directors and critics (whose readings are often firmly based on historical research). In the aftermath of World War II, E. M. W. Tillyard’s emphasis on the restoration of Order after a long period of destruction and the death of an evil and cruel...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 250-251
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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