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Reviews 377 inclusion “extracts . . . not readily available in a modem English transla­ tion” (p. 2). Besides Karl Young’s 1933 translation of it (DMC, II, 472), I am aware of at least two more recent English versions, Albert B. Weiner’s (New Haven, 1958) and Robert S. Haller’s (Lincoln, Neb., 1971). But Meredith’s rendering is a sort of variorum presentation, and I would certainly not argue with the goal of making such a document even more “readily available.” The translations themselves epitomize the conscientiousness, and thus usefulness, of the book’s entire design. Every point of ambiguity is modestly acknowledged by putting the risky foreign word in brackets after its translator’s choice of an English equivalent. It can make for broken reading at times, but how preferable it is to rash interpretation! Indeed, Appendix I gives us five extended “Originals of Texts Not Readily Available,” each annotated as to topic, all French. To Peter Meredith (who handled the Latin and English sources), John E. Tailby (German), Raffaella Ferrari (Italian), Lynette K. Muir (French), and Margaret Sleeman (Spanish), English-speaking teachers and students of medieval theater now owe a debt of the deepest gratitude. RAYMOND J. PENTZELL Hillsdale College Susan Bassnett-McGuire. Luigi Pirandello. Grove Press Modem Drama­ tists. New York: Grove Press, 1984. Pp. vi + 190. $17.50, hardcover; $9.95, paper. A book on Pirandello in this delightfully readable series is most welcome. Authors are “involved with theatre as playwrights, directors, actors, teachers and critics,” as the editors—Bruce King and Adele King—remind us. Their editorial stance deserves high praise. The teaching of drama is in itself diificult in the best possible circumstances; more and more we are coming to realize that ideally drama should be taught in and through production or dramatic readings such as those staged every year by The Pirandello Society of America at MLA. The Grove Press Modern Dramatists series represents, therefore, an important new approach to drama criticism. Susan Bassnett-McGuire’s book confirms the value of such an approach. Following the format established for this series, the author first presents Pirandello, the man and writer, in an easy-flowing account of his life and reputation both in Italy and abroad. The theater plays—Six Characters in Search of an Author, Each in His Own Way, and Tonight We Improvise—are treated together in a second chapter. “Playing with Truth/Life?” is the third chapter, where the author focuses on Right You Are (If You Think So), The Rules of the Game, To Clothe the Naked, and The Life I Gave You (marvelously performed for the first time last November, with Vera Visconti Lockwood in the demanding lead role, as part of The Pirandello Society of America 25th anniversary celebration in New York). “The Mask of Identity,” “Myth and Fable,” and “The Search for Theatre Forms” are subsequent chapter headings. The book, though obviously designed as an informed introduction to Pirandello, 378 Comparative Drama nevertheless has an organic structure which is often lacking in many more “scholarly” books of this kind. The format is therefore stimulating and thought-provoking, even though there is little time for in-depth analyses of plays. Still, within the limitations set by the nature of the series, the material is displayed with confidence and succeeds in arousing interest. Not to be forgotten here are the photographs of key moments in Pirandello’s life as a dramatist—including one which shows the six characters making their stage entrance in the 1923 Pitoeff production of the play, via a large elevator of the kind used to lower and raise props. The story of Pirandello’s initial skepticism about the effectiveness of Pitoeff’s brilliant device for literally dropping the six intruders into the midst of a rehearsal on stage is well-known; but it was a pleasant surprise to see the photograph of that incredible moment, when a director inter­ prets the intention of the playwright even beyond the latter’s own expectations. For some perhaps Ms. Bassnett-McGuire’s book may seem to be an oversimplification of a difficult subject. Pirandello, after all, if we accept Robert Brustein’s statement that he was “the most seminal...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 377-378
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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