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216 Comparative Drama little else about them. In Brand, for example, the Dean and the Mayor, who sacrifice integrity for comfort and reputation, simply provide foils for Brand’s conception of moral autonomy. In the later plays Ibsen often represents the baffling complexity of reality through the density of the secondary characters. Rebecca West in Rosmersholm, for example, is herself a complete individual, and she defines Rosmer’s conflict by under­ going a recognition analogous to his. Similarly, Ibsen’s creation of realistic semblance requires from the spectator a more concrete and specific re­ sponse to the strategies of consciousness. Formal condensation and realistic detail increasingly provide an illusion of solidity and compre­ hension, while the work of the play destroys that illusion. This analysis of the strategies of consciousness and their structural ramifications is only a part of Professor Lyons’ argument. His study of Ibsen’s metaphorical structures and their interrelations with dramatic action is of crucial importance in the interpretation of these plays. Ibsen’s primary metaphors are overdetermined in the same way as dream symbols. That is, the metaphors do not simply add new strata to fixed meanings; rather, their significance is limited only by the dramatic struc­ ture. This makes it possible to fuse two contradictory meanings in a single metaphor. The exploration of these contradictions takes place through the dramatic process in which each primary metaphor is trans­ formed at a crucial point in the action. Metaphorical interpretation of these plays must, then, build carefully upon the ways in which particular images develop and are transformed within their contexts. My review has schematized and simplified the more general argu­ ments of Professor Lyons’ Introduction and Recapitulation. The reader, on the other hand, will find the detailed analyses of the individual plays the best recognition of Ibsen’s integrity as a dramatist. These analyses, for all their brevity, have accomplished the invaluable task of clarifying Ibsen’s concerns and unifying his work; their arguments will be at the center of any discussion of Ibsen for some time to come. I cannot em­ phasize too strongly that this is not just another book about Ibsen. JAMES L. LARSON University of California, Berkeley Alfred Harbage. Shakespeare Without Words and Other Essays. Cam­ bridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972. Pp. ix + 229. $9.50. To read a collection of an eminent scholar’s occasional papers gathered from the best part of his career—these extend from 1936 to 1969—is to wander among the furniture of his mind. Here stands the solid piece that will sustain years of good use, there lies some bric-a-brac, of antiquarian interest perhaps, still bearing the enthusiasm of its first discovery: none of it that is not touched with the grace of its owner, his urbanity, good nature, and frequent sense of humor. Mr. Harbage is the Cabot Professor of English, Emeritus, at Harvard, and these essays amply demonstrate his knowledge of Elizabethan plays, fine in its sharp Reviews 217 particularity, and his interest in tracking down a date, a title, or an author. At one extreme is a delicious parody of New Criticism, “Cosmic Card Game,” so sustained that some of its original readers in 1951 were deceived into sending letters of protest to The American Scholar. That Antony and Cleopatra, it begins, is a tragedy about Antony and Cleo­ patra is a vulgar error. On the “cosmic” level, our insights are only to be traced by giving proper attention to the thematic, iterative imagery which falls into five laminated patterns: the Chaos Pattern, the Bedclothes Pattern, the Insect Pattern, the Alcoholic Beverage Pattern, and the Card Game Pattern: “the last carries the theme and obtrudes upon the con­ sciousness of the properly qualified reader the shifting relationships, the play and false-play, the, so to speak, brouillamini á jouer in a Cosmic Game of Triumph.” The pattern begins with the first of two hundred and forty-seven instances of the iconographic element “heart,” establish­ ing Antony as the King of Hearts. Lepidus is the King of Diamonds, utilizing as pun the Latin lapides, gems. And so it goes on, gently destroy­ ing the edifice as it is built. There is no...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 216-218
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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