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Reviews 221 pose is “to acquaint students of Spanish drama with the existence of an extensive and artistically interesting theater movement in contemporary Spain”; this reviewer is left feeling that he has accomplished his goals well. Through the examination of more than 100 manuscripts which he personally collected, we are presented with a comprehensive overview of the current theatre which steps beyond the criticism normally available on Buero, Sastre, and the escapists, and provides us an invaluable source of information about some very courageous people struggling to carry on a love affair with the theatre under the watchful eye of Big Brother. GEORGE WOODYARD The University of Kansas Mark Rose. Shakespearean Design. The Belknap Press. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972. Pp. 190. $7.95. In Shakespearean Design Mark Rose takes a structural approach to Shakespearean analysis. In his preface he says that he has “tried to be uncontroversial in matters of interpretation, employing readings that will not divert attention from the main point.” Unfortunately, unless struc­ tural analysis facilitates interpretation, it tends to become a rather point­ less and sterile exercise. What can be the reason for intricate pattern­ hunting if it finally does no more than support the present understanding of the plays? Mr. Rose says that he is going to give us “new tools for use in the classroom as well as in the study.” These tools consist of numerous exercises in viewing Shakespearean scenes as if they were panels in altar designs. For the audience he is addressing he feels it is necessary to translate ut pictura poesis. He speaks in passing of the “emblematic quality” of Lear in the storm and Hamlet in the graveyard, but never develops these passing references to crucial iconographic relationships. When we recall Edgar Wind’s “An Observation on Method” at the con­ clusion of his Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance, we realize what in­ sights the iconographic approach may give. Mr. Rose’s book consists largely of verbal divisions of scenes into three panels: a central panel supported by two smaller ones and an occasional additional unity which Mr. Rose, under the influence of comparative arts, chooses to call a “coda.” Such random transfer of terms from the “Sister Arts” makes this an exceedingly appealing book for structuralists who have tired of the words “baroque” and “rococo” and will be able to refer now to Shakespearean “panels” and “codas.” This approach is dangerous because it never moves beyond the plays. Historical and interpretive scholarship are largely ignored. The way in which the structure of Henry V is developed from the static Famous Victories, for example, is not mentioned, nor is any attempt made to see structure revealing new meaning. The book is a game of diptych­ hunting. In 1948 Stanley Hyman said at the conclusion of The Armed Vision that “an ideal modem literary critic . . . would be a synthesis of 222 Comparative Drama every practical technique or procedure used by his flesh-and-blood col­ leagues.” In these days of dogmatic adherence to a single approach, it is important to emphasize again that any study that ignores the findings of other critics, especially in the complexity of Shakespeare studies, is destined to appear superficial. The real danger of Mr. Rose’s book is that it will encourage students to oversimplify Shakespearean analysis. They may feel that when they have found the panels they have understood the play. When Mr. Rose says that his new tools are equally good in the classroom and the study, he suggests that what happens in the classroom is different from what happens in the study. The tools here are likely to be too rough for the refined process that many classes and inhabitants of studies both use in their common search for critical understanding. The opening chapters recommend thinking of Shakespeare spatially as well as temporally, then suggest that each scene is a “speaking picture,” and finally move into diagrammed analysis to prove this point. Having demonstrated by the third chapter that these speaking pic­ tures are related to one another, Mr. Rose gives a series of the pictures in detail as he sees them in Hamlet. His last two chapters present verbally and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 221-222
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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