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172 Comparative Drama Middleton-Dekker oxymoron,” 1966), Ure was the first critic that I know of to consider the effect Dekker’s authorship of Blurt, Master Constable (which is certain in part, if not in whole) must have on the traditional impression students of literature have had of that dramatist. He may well, said Ure, referring to the Imperia scenes in Blurt, have been the dramatist “who started courtesan scenes [in Jacobean drama], ‘questionable’ scenes in which courtesans are depicted, with a certain bravura and loving concentration, running their households and clients.” And Ure proceeded in this essay to differentiate with precision and sensitivity the differing temperaments and styles of Dekker and Middleton and the effect of their respective comic manners on part one of The Honest Whore (where, unlike the majority of critics of that play, he was bold enough to recognize that Middleton does indeed have a share in it). The three essays on Shakespeare with which the volume opens date from 1961 and 1963 (the third, on Macbeth, is previously unpublished). They deal—as Ure’s essays on the non-Shakespearean tragic dramatists so often do—with the relation of inner and outer selves, the hero’s public role and the emergent self within the role which may or may not be in accord with it. The essay on “Shakespeare and the Inward Self of the Tragic Hero” (it was his inaugural lecture, delivered on the occasion of his appointment to the Joseph Cowen Chair of English at the Uni­ versity of Durham) is an eloquent and deeply felt survey of Shakespeare’s development as a tragic dramatist, from Richard II to Coriolanus, and it closes with one of Ure’s noblest passages: Literature is a kingdom of marvellous structures, but there are many other kingdoms containing objects as wonderful; what distinguishes literature, and the related disciplines of linguistic and historical study without which it cannot flourish, is that it is informed throughout with the human voice and with human relations, the voice and experience of the great literary artist, of a man speaking to men. On these grounds it will yield the primacy to none; wherefore, with St. Paul, ‘we faint not; but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is re­ newed day by day.’ (pp. 20-21) This posthumous collection of Ure’s critical essays was prepared by his friend and fellow scholar, Professor J. C. Maxwell, whose own death in the spring of 1976 is a further loss to the ranks of scholars of English Renaissance Drama. CYRUS HOY University of Rochester Andrew Kennedy. Six Dramatists in Search of a Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975. Pp. xiv + 271. $15.95. This is a valuable book on an important and difficult subject that has not received much sustained attention. It draws upon linguistics and philosophy as well as on drama theory. It is conceptually rich and stylis­ Reviews 173 tically incisive—the work of an informed and refined critical sensibility. With so much to admire, I may be ungracious in wanting more fluency, stronger continuity. The book deals with the forms that critical self-consciousness about language has taken in the plays of six modern British playwrights: Shaw, Eliot, Beckett, Pinter, Osborne, and Arden. Kennedy identifies three objects of the dramatists’ awareness: the exhausted language of natural­ ism, the availability of an “ ‘imaginary museum’ of possible languages,” and the growing distrust in the powers of language itself (p. 1). If such an unpolemical book can be said to have a thesis, it is this: the “crisis of language” in drama has been more myth than fact, and as myth it has been more of an opportunity than a liability (p. 231). The playwright has had the option of becoming “a subtle practitioner of parody and pastiche, a linguistically conscious ventriloquist” (p. 3). He creates a “critical” language, in contrast to the “limited” language of Ibsen and Chekhov (p. 15). They are “naive” dramatists (in a non-pejorative sense), makers of what Pirandello called “spoken action”—that is, a character’s “authentic self-expression under the pressure of action” (pp. 18, 54). Their “limited dramatic language . . . ‘holds as ’twere the mirror...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 172-175
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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