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Reviews 187 here is brief and rather pseudo-sociological; Harbage has done this bet­ ter and with greater eloquence; and Robert Omstein, among others, might have something to say here in opposition. I raise these “questions” because like any study of the first order—and I think F rom S tory to Stage will have a very strong effect on our com­ mon scholarship—Bluestone’s book moves the reader to praise as well as thinking. SIDNEY HOMAN The U n iversity o f F lorida Robert Y. Turner. Shakespeare’s A ppren ticesh ip. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1974. Pp. viii + 293. $12.50. In this excellent book, Professor Turner deals with the development of Shakespeare’s early art. He finds that the apprentice plays—that group of plays ending with A M idsu m m er N ig h t’s D ream —“recapitulate phylogenically the main historical movement in drama of the sixteenth cen­ tury from the generalized didactic morality play to the relatively literal drama as a distinctive art form” (p. 5). The chronicle plays were organ­ ized, he says, along the lines of an oration; the audience was instructed in patterns of moral behavior. But though the earliest plays thus were didactic, the later plays were “mimetic”—Turner’s word for dramatic, self-contained narrative. The early plays were shaped by principles of rhetoric whereas the later apprentice plays were formed by different principles of characterization and action. Shakespeare, and Elizabethan drama generally, moves from exposition of ideas to dramatization of them. Turner’s thesis is sound, his argument is clear, and he demon­ strates his case ably. We can congratulate him on his important and use­ ful piece of work. After a lucid introductory chapter, from which I have quoted, Turner provides nine essay-chapters showing how Shakespeare’s dramatic pur­ poses change during his early years in the theater. These nine group themselves around two or three general topics. The first four deal with various aspects of dialogue, and the last four or five with aspects of dramatic organization. Though related to one another, they are pretty clearly independent essays on related themes, interesting both in their own right and as they reinforce one another. All are well argued with ample evidence from numerous plays. The progress of the discussion is notably clear. The book has been extraordinarily well edited by diligent, sharp-eyed scholars, not the least of whom must have been Turner himself. The first chapter is “The Problem of Dialogue.” In it Turner notes the prominence of dialogues in the early plays of address and proclama­ tion, of wordplay and repetition, of ornamentation and amplification. The characters talk little of their feelings, he notes, not because they are 188 Comparative Drama unable but because Shakespeare in these years directs our attention else­ where—that is, to ideas more than to personalities. The language of the plays is organized to instruct and move an audience, more than to reveal character. In the second, related chapter, “Confrontations,” we are con­ cerned with dialogue which presents a clash between characters. But even here in the earlier plays the emphasis is on ideas, not persons. Ini­ tially Shakespeare uses a kind of Marlovian scheme in which all speakers are equally witty and thus provide a fair debate. Later, “moral insights emerge from the dramatized narrative in a different way” (p. 47), for increasingly the thoughts of the speakers are presented as the speakers feel them. They make decisions before our eyes, on stage, within their speeches. They are not placed in sharply oratorical oppositions now, for the drama of character replaces the drama of debate. Irony is exploited, and audiences are assumed to be as interested in process as they are in proposition. “Persuasions”—the third essay-chapter—continues the consideration of dialogue. From a concern with values, Shakespeare becomes con­ cerned with illusion. The early plays emphasize moral clarity; but in­ creasingly Shakespeare is concerned with a different kind of verisimili­ tude. More and more “experiences of the narrative are primary, not illustrative, and no statement of theme is quite adequate to encompass them” (p. 77). The plays avoid...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 187-190
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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