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Reviews 381 ignored genres of pantomime, extravaganza and burlesque. Each volume contained an insightful preface surveying that particular genre’s evolu­ tion and its contributions to subsequent development. Booth’s current volume, Prefaces to Nineteenth-Century Theatre, brings together the introductions from each of the books in his earlier collection. Unfortunately, while each essay remains a useful preface to the dramatic genre it is concerned with, the overall work fails to meet the promise of its title. With the emphasis clearly on the dramatic literature, theatrical context suffers. Missing are treatments of the acting styles which brought these plays to life and detailed examinations of the audiences for which these plays were uniquely appropriate. Similarly, managerial policies as they shifted throughout the nineteenth century could have received more careful explanation. Some of the shortcomings arise out of the decision to publish the prefaces without revision. Acting styles and production techniques were treated in appendices in the original anthology. With the first of the prefaces begun over thirteen years ago, the author acknowledged some need for possible revision in light of the significant advances in nineteenthcentury theatrical scholarship during the ensuing decade. Accordingly, one is left to puzzle over why the author chose not to accommodate these developments in a new text. A revision would have saved the book from the awkwardness brought on by the expedient cutting of references to “the plays in this volume,” as on page 129 where the reader is left with a gaping white space and no number in the text for the note at the bottom of the page. Still, the essays provide strong introductions to the dramatic genres which dominated the nineteenth-century English stage. With its brief bibliographic essay on recent scholarship, Prefaces to Nineteenth-Century Theatre, then, is a good starting point in the study of that drama. JAMES S. MOY The University of Wisconsin Felicia Hardison Londre. Tom Stoppard. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1981. Pp. 180. $10.95. This is a well-ordered book which does not impose an order on Stoppard’s oeuvre. Furthermore (or consequently) it is a lively book. Londre refuses to make Stoppard more metaphysical than he pretends to be or than she thinks he is. Instead, she lets his oeuvre unfold before our mind’s eye, as nearly as possible as it would if we were seeing it unfold before us on stage. Londre is obviously accustomed to making a play clear to a troupe of actors and making a production clear to an audience. She shows Stoppard, on whom there has been remarkably little academic criticism, as a serious, multi-cultural craftsman, respon­ sive to social pressures but responsive, above all, to what works on stage. As a groundbreaker, she shows what lines of interpretation may— and may not—be profitably pursued in further study. Her own line is author-oriented, i.e., she looks to see whether and how Stoppard achieves what he intended to do. She devotes most space 382 Comparative Drama to Jumpers and Travesties, the former her favorite, operating “on a subtly zany level of reality,” as it pits “moral philosophy against logical positivism.” She commends his use of scenic imagery. Although her approach is not psycho- or socio-linguistic, she provides, in my opinion, intriguing data for linking Stoppard’s late exposure to English with highly successful and original theatrical technique. Stoppard, as she points out, is a native Czech speaker who has advised his critics, “It is possibly of significance that I missed the first four years speaking English.” After his very early childhood in Czechoslovakia, he lived in the polyglot communities of Singapore and Darjeeling until, with his mother’s remarriage to a British officer and the end of World War II, he was immersed in insular English monolingualism. I would suggest that these biographical accidents may have a direct connection with his scenic imagery, his visual non sequiturs and, of course, non sequiturs qua non sequiturs. That is, Stoppard like, say, Brecht, has a highly visual sense of language. If an object is named, it must be made visible. But, as a non-native speaker, Stoppard is (or has had the experience of being) less likely to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 381-382
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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