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90 Comparative Drama type (comedy, masque, interlude, etc.), title, and author are specified. Some indication of those plays known only from the Larpent manuscript would not have been out of place. The notes are full and accurate, and the index lists plays under both title and author—a welcome convenience. The book is adorned with eleven handsome illustrations, courtesy of the Harvard Theatre Collection. Considered as criticism or literary history, this book is scrappy, trivial, and woefully lacking in central point. To deal seriously with this material, the critic could concern himself with the plays for their own sake—and legitimately so, since a whole flock of them are delightful, interesting, and little-known. Alternatively, the critic might search the plays for information about the theatre, or attitudes toward the theatre and the theatrical professions. Smith and Lawhon fail to do any of these things in more than the most sketchy and rudimentary fashion. Whether this manuscript should have been resurrected is questionable at best. In its favor can be said that it speaks enthusiastically of a lot of almost unknown plays. Macklin’s The New Play Criticiz’d (1747), Murphy’s (?) The Spouter (1756), and elder Colman’s New Brooms! (1776), the younger Colman’s New Hay at the Old Market (1795), O’Keefe’s The Eleventh of June (1798), and Reynolds’ Management (1799) are among the many plays—not to mention the numerous occasional preludes—well worth the attention of a reader prepared to go beyond anthology pieces. In its exploration of such byways this book does have something to offer us. ROBERT D. HUME The Pennsylvania State University George Rowell. The Victorian Theatre 1792-1914: A Survey. Second Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978. Pp. xiii + 239. $26.00 cloth; $8.50 paper. Few have ever claimed that British drama flourished in the time of Carlyle and Dickens. The theater in nineteenth-century London has been variously assessed, but always at a higher valuation than new plays of the period. Aids toward assessment have been previously provided by George Rowell, Special Lecturer in Drama at the University of Bristol, in two anthologies of plays and one of dramatic criticism, adaptations of several Victorian works for the stage, and the survey first published in 1956 by the Oxford University Press, reprinted in 1967, and now appearing under a new imprint with an “Afterword 1978.” The survey is a reprint of the reprint. In response to complaints that neither Victoria nor her stage lived from 1792 to 1914, those dates have been added to the title. The Kembles, the Keans, Macready, Irving, and Tree are here. The heroes—though Rowell proceeds by understate­ ment—are Marie Wilton and her husband Squire Bancroft at the Prince Reviews 91 of Wales’s and their playwright, T. W. Robertson; Pinero in the 1890’s; and perhaps Harley Granville Barker for his productions of Shakespeare and Shaw. There are fewer hard facts than in Michael R. Booth’s Intro­ ductions and Prefaces to the five volumes of English Plays of the Nineteenth Century (1969-1976), but perhaps a greater caution, as over the question of whether Madame Vestris introduced a complete box set in 1832 (Rowell p. 79; Booth II, 3). The bibliographies of memoirs, biographies, critical studies and works of reference have been brought up to 1977. The fine descriptions of the nineteen illustrations of sets and scenes remain, although the illustrations have lost their luster in repro­ duction. The play-list is arranged chronologically by birthdate of play­ wright. The “Afterword” of twenty pages rushes through some of the sub­ jects that Rowell and others have been studying since 1956. It epitomizes his book Queen Victoria Goes to the Theatre (1978) and his brief Introduction to Victorian Dramatic Criticism (1971). In response to the labors of Michael Booth particularly, it acknowledges the existence of the provincial theaters and of the comedies, farces, burlesques, extra­ vaganzas, and pantomimes that received attention proportional to their historical significance in Booth’s anthologies, book-length studies, and articles. The “Afterword” represents the sort of economy that successful publishers force upon authors, but no amount of revision could have caught up with the research reported by...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 90-92
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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