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Reviews 91 synopses of all of them. If there is little new in his critical approach, it is because he is intent on providing information to the uninitiated reader. The book is an encyclopedia of factual detail of almost every significant play published (if not produced) since the Revolution. It is neither as intense and personal as Nikolai Gorchakov’s T he T h eater in S o viet R ussia (English translation, 1957) nor as vindictive and authoritarian as Marc Slonim’s R ussian T heater fro m th e E m pire to th e S oviets (1961): Segel’s book is directed at the lay reader and as such it is mostly on target. It will be interesting to see what Simon Karlinsky, who has been writing a volume on Russian drama, will do with the same material. Segel has written a well-documented and critically sound work; but there is always room for controversy. In discussing Meyerhold and “the lasting impact of his innovations,” Segel cites Peter Brook and Jerzy Grotowski as having come under the Russian director’s influence. Grotowski would wince; Brook would bristle. The Pole considers Stanislavsky and the Polish director-innovator Juliusz Osterwa his mentors; Brook considers Brook— and few others—as his creative inspiration. Meyerhold ’s “bio-mechanics” cannot even be considered a starting point for these two directors: they have always searched for answers beyond the body, even beyond the human condition. As for the photographs in this volume, few of them seem to have relevance to the text. But quibbling aside, Segel has provided students of drama and theater a rare glimpse into the world of Soviet-Russian dramatic literature, an area up to this time virtually terra incognita. He is the best equipped scholar in the field to cope with the problems inherent with Soviet-Russian drama—the unavailability of texts, censorship, and the lack of freedom in the arts. He has had to be highly critical because the task of selecting “important” plays is aggravated greatly by the fact that the choice is a limited one. But Segel comes prepared to meet the challenge: in the past ten years he has produced several books on Slavic drama, including T he M ajor C om edies o f A lexan der F redro, T he T rilogy o f S u kh ovo-K obylin , and Polish R o m a n tic D ram a. E. J. CZERWINSKI S tate U niversity o f N e w Y ork, S to n y B rook Elliot Krieger. A M arxist S tu dy o f Shakespeare’s C om edies. London: The Macmillan Press Ltd.; Totowa, N. J.: Barnes & Noble, 1979. Pp. x + 181. $25.00. A better, though more cumbersome, title for this study might be “The Socio-Political Psychology of Shakespearean Comedy.” First, the Marxism is not intrusive, and Krieger’s contentions that all the social classes in a play be given the same sympathetic understanding and that aristocratic attitudes are implicitly questioned by Shakespeare are not necessarily Marxist. In any case, Krieger does not use his approach as a doctrinaire theorist, but as a critic closely examining a literary text. 92 Comparative Drama Second, the study includes only four of Shakespeare’s comedies: T he M erch an t o f V enice, A M id su m m er N ig h fs D ream , A s Y o u L ik e It, and T w elfth N igh t, while the final chapter analyzes 1 H en ry I V in order to compare, and ultimately to distinguish, it from the four comedies. The title signals a more complete survey. In his Introduction, Krieger succinctly sets forth the concepts to be used in the following chapters. He asserts, without qualification, that in each of Shakespeare’s comedies one of two things occurs: (1) The protagonists move from one location, where the action begins, to a new location, where it concludes; or (2) the action begins as a group of characters arrives in a (for them) new location. In either case, the new location is a “second world.” As Krieger sees it, “the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 91-94
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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