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86 Comparative Drama ling on theme and symbol while only indicating plot would have given a truer picture of his poetic realism and would have given Londr6’s book a much-needed sense of continuity. The volume is difficult to read straight through because it has no discernible interpretative thread hold­ ing it together. Emblematic of the book’s faults are the production stills. There are eight, and three picture performances of Williams plays in the Soviet Union. Does Londre then stress in the text the affinity of the Russian character with that of the dramatist’s melancholy, doomed Southerners? Does she comment on the aptness of Stanislavskian acting styles in presenting his works? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The text says nothing about Williams and the USSR, unless one counts the severaltimes -repeated fact that Anton Chekhov is his favorite playwright. Londre may not be responsible for the photo selection, but the irrelevance of the stills to the rest of the book, when in fact they could be made extremely relevant, neatly illustrates the book’s disjointedness. Londre displays a solid grasp of Williams’ work; she writes clearly and conveys what she wishes to convey effectively. It is her choice of emphasis and her fragmented organization that weaken the book which, unfortunately, fails as a balanced consideration of Williams’ symbolic dramaturgy. INA RAE HARK University of South Carolina Glynne Wickham. Early English Stages, 1300 to 1660. Vol. Ill: Plays and Their Makers to 1576. New York: Columbia University Press, 1981. Pp. xxvi + 357. $27.50. In 1959, the first volume of Glynne Wickham’s Early English Stages appeared in print as the first installment of an ambitious project that would examine the staging of drama from 1300 to 1660. From the Pre­ face of this first volume, we learn that Professor Wickham had intended to begin his book, with a much less ambitious plan in mind, in 1954, but the reading of F. M. Salter’s Mediaeval Drama in Chester led him even­ tually to a plan which called for four volumes— a plan which remains unfinished since we are still waiting for the final installment. Volume I and Volume II, Part 1, especially were happy contributions to scholarship, provoking interest in those matters which would seem to be crucial for our understanding of the visual effect of the early drama. They surveyed an immense amount of material from diverse sources, and defended the thesis that the Reformation had made the death of the old religious drama inevitable. They also attempted to pinpoint the line of demarca­ tion between the older emblematic stage and the new proscenium arch stage, emphasizing the role of Inigo Jones and the court masques which followed the Masque of Blackness in 1605. It is surely necessary to emphasize here the excitement that many of Reviews 87 us felt when we first encountered Professor Wickham’s account of the English stage. At once he opened up the whole range of stagecraft, of visual effect, and of dramatic records as they then had been uncovered. As the result of Professor Wickham’s research, the plays at once seemed more accessible, more playable. No other single scholar has perhaps con­ tributed so much. The older criticism, which is partly summed up in Hardin Craig’s English Religious Drama (1955), suddenly appeared very out of date and even naive in the light of Professor Wickham’s accomplishment. Thus it is with some sense of disappointment that we open this third volume of Early English Stages, since now rather than being on the forefront of criticism Professor Wickham seems at times to be relying on older insights and the temptation to provide sketchy summaries of plays. For example, though in his discussion of the liturgical drama the work of C. Clifford Flanigan would support and extend some of his thinking, Flanigan’s name does not even appear in the bibliography. Indeed, from an examination of the bibliography it is clear that much of Wickham’s research must have been done prior to 1970, since so much of the rich harvest of scholarship that the past decade has brought in this field is not even mentioned. To provide another example...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 86-88
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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