- The York Play: A Facsimile of British Library MS Additional 35290 together with a Facsimile of the Ordo Paginarum Section of the A/Y Memorandum Book (review)
- Comparative Drama
- Western Michigan University
- Volume 18, Number 2, Summer 1984
- pp. 179-181
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Reviews 179 Macbeth seems apparently to be an exception, because at the end of the drama we read that “time is free”; the evil-infected world seems to be purged from the power of destruction. However, Kastan argues, the position of the hero who feels like one “tied to a stake” is both heroic and tragic. “At the heart of tragedy is the realization that death and destruction are inescapable, an immanent, not merely imminent reality” (p. 101). Some critics have argued that in King Lear the inherent morality structure and the redemptive aspect transcend “the image of that horror.” Kastan acknowledges that there is an element in the play which suggests that truth and justice will eventually prevail in the sense established by the traditional emblem Veritas filia temporis. Yet, we should not neglect the device of irony in the play which Elton has demonstrated. After the emblematic relief of Act IV, the inevitable human suffering is reaffirmed in Act V. There is no redemption in this world, there is no cosmic optimism: “Lear cannot be saved by (or in) time; he can only be saved from it” (p. 116). For all that, however, we cannot deny that authentic human experience is born out of the tragic depth. The romance structure is open again but it involves (and at the same time transcends) the tragic experience. The end is a real restoration and redemption. The example of Cymbeline shows how it is a “reworking of King Lear in a different mode” (p. 159). The closing chapter compares Hotspur and Brutus as “the fools of time” because “they never properly understand the risks and gains of living in time” (p. 169). On the whole the problems Kastan tackles in his book are vivid and relevant not only for a Shakespeare scholar but also for every human being who has been concerned with the vexed questions and the ultimate significance of human existence. Indeed, this is a genuine and marvellous book on Shakespeare which subtly suggests how artistic form and shape can respond to what philosophy or discursive thinking have failed to answer exhaustively. TIBOR FABINY University of Szeged, Hungary The York Play: A Facsimile of British Library MS Additional 35290 to gether with a Facsimile of the Ordo Paginarum Section of the A IY Memorandum Book. Introd. Richard Beadle and Peter Meredith. Leeds Texts and Monographs: Medieval Drama Facsimiles, VII. Leeds: University of Leeds School of English, 1983. Pp. lxi + . 5 Color Plates. ¿ 8 0 . This facsimile of the Register of the York Creation to Doom cycle is the most ambitious of the Leeds Medieval Drama Facsimiles, and includes in addition six pages from the York Memorandum Book A /Y that provide further information concerning the production of this theatrical effort, which took place almost yearly at the Feast of Corpus Christi from the fourteenth century until its suppression approximately two decades after the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The introductions by 180 Comparative Drama Richard Beadle and Peter Meredith to both the Register and the Ordo Paginarum sections of the York Memorandum Book provide detailed bibliographic analysis. Attention is given to missing leaves in the manu script of the pageants and identification of the scribes as well as to era sures, alterations, and additions to the manuscripts. A note on the music is provided by Richard Rastall, and five fine color plates illustrate the songs which are notated as part of the text of the cycle on fols. 250v-256v. Except for the first quire which was copied by another scribe, the Register is mainly the work of a single scribe, for convenience called Scribe B, who was a professional employed for the task shortly prior to 1470 or in the decade thereafter. His task was, we may assume, to produce an official version of the cycle. This official copy, as certain of the nota tions added to the manuscript at a later date indicate, sometimes differed from the plays actually presented by the guilds. Nevertheless, it would appear to be the copy that, from 1538 or earlier, the city clerk held at the first playing station in front of Holy Trinity Priory. A thick volume...