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380 Comparative Drama which give to them an added resonance. “The Royal Court Theatre and the Shavian Revolution” persuasively joins one theatrical revolution— the 1904-1907 Vedrenne-Barker season—with another—the staging of John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger and the developments to which Osborne’s play led. As in so many of his essays, Weintraub assembles all the facts on his subject and so allows us to see Shaw vividly in one of his specific aspects more clearly than ever before. The Vedrenne-Barker enterprise placed Shaw at long last in the forefront of the contemporary British theater of his time: Shaw became thereby a reordering influence in the history of the British drama much as Osborne was later to be. In “Shaw’s Mommsenite Caesar” Weintraub explores definitively the basis for Shaw’s Caesar in Mommsen’s History of Rome; incidentally, Weintraub characterizes expertly and memorably the Caesar of the play. “Four Fathers for Barbara” is a milestone essay which helps account for the measure of Shaw’s achievement in Major Barbara, arguably his masterpiece. Weintraub demonstrates that it is not only the mythic as­ pects of Andrew Undershaft that give him his extended dimensions, but that these dimensions also derive from the actual history of nineteenthand twentieth-century Europe. Elements of all the renowned exploitative armaments manufacturers of Shaw’s time are discernible in Undershaft: Charles McEvoy, Friedrich Krupp, Alfred Nobel, and Sir Basil Zaharoff. “Shaw’s Lear” expounds convincingly the parallels and analogues in Shaw’s Heartbreak House to the characters, incidents, and situations in King Lear. As for “The Genesis of Joan” it assembles all the materials that reveal the long gestation in Shaw’s mind of his classic chronicle play. Some of the other essays, if they lack weight for the serious student of the Shavian drama and of the Shavian Weltanschauung, are still sig­ nificant as they develop certain aspects of Shaw’s complicated personality and interests. In this category are “G. B. S., Pugilist and Playwright,” “Bernard Shaw, Actor,” "Shaw’s Lady Cicely and Mary Kingsley,” “G. B. S. Borrows from Sarah Grand: The Heavenly Twins and You Never Can Tell,” and “ ‘The Unknown Soldier’: Shaw’s Unwritten Play.” Stanley Weintraub has placed us in his debt for having assembled a packet of essays that are at once illuminating and a delight to read. FREDERICK P. W. McDOWELL University of Iowa From Hester Street to Hollywood: The Jewish-American Stage and Screen, ed. Sarah Blacher Cohen. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983. Pp. x + 278. $22.50. The eighteen essays in this volume represent an effort to survey the work of Jewish-Americans for the “legitimate” stage and in “popular” entertainment. The pieces on the “serious” playwrights are, on the whole, a little disappointing. Four of the figures discussed are of marginal in­ terest as dramatists: the essays on Singer (by the editor) and Bellow (by Keith Opdahl) concern very minor dramatic efforts by these masters of prose fiction, while the essays on Neil Simon (by Daniel Walden) and Reviews 381 Jules Feiffer (by Stephen J. Whitfield) make excessive claims for their work as moral and social commentary. Similarly, Woody Allen’s efforts to become a “serious” filmmaker—Interiors, Manhattan, and Stardust Memories—lead to the pretentiousness Mark Shechner shrewdly notes. The essays on major dramatists often ask, yet again, whether their work can be seen as “Jewish,” invoking such criteria as the use of Biblical or Judaic source materials, the presence of a moral vision rooted in Yiddishkeit (the culture of Eastern European Jews), or the accurate rendering of Jewish ethnicity (the folkways and speech patterns of Jews from Eastern Europe). In his essay on Clifford Odets, R. B. Shuman glances briefly at them all: he notes Biblical sources, traces such motifs as exile, alienation, and overprotective mothers (who “emasculate their men . .. [out of] love and concern” (p. 91), and follows G. W. Haslam’s analysis of Odets’ “Yinglish” stage dialect. He might also have assessed Odets’ political debt to The Group, a theater collective strongly influenced by Jewish socialism. Leslie Field’s essay on Paddy Chayefsky, the only serious playwright to draw heavily on both Judaic thought and Jewish...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 380-382
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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