118 REVIEWS representations of ageing and old age: despite the fact that we are all living much longer, artis- tic representations have been slow to reﬂect these demographic changes (a point which her analyses of the various permutations of Anglophone Bildungsromane dealing with ageing could be seen to undermine; indeed, she covers works by authors ranging from Burney to Dickens and Eliot, to Beckett and Franzen – and also discusses Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre). With its conventionally progressive teleological structure, narrative, Hartung argues, is an ideal me- dium through which to portray the ageing process. She ﬁrst examines the eighteenth-century Bildungsroman – which she views as representing the beginning of ‘age narratives’ – and in particular looks at ‘how older characters are treated within a genre which focusses primarily on the youthful hero(in)es as well as on how the possibilities and limits of growing old(er) are depicted for the male and female protagonists themselves’ (pp. 2–3). She then moves on to analyse the nineteenth-century Bildungsroman, before discussing narratives of dementia – narra- tives typically anchored in the ﬁnal life stages – in the twentieth and twenty-ﬁrst centuries. Overall, this is a wide-ranging, well-informed study, yet one whose potential strengths also account for its weaknesses: at times the reader feels overwhelmed by the sheer number of topics, texts and theoretical angles covered. In other words, this often thoughtful analysis risks diluting its usefulness by covering too much ground, when a more explicitly teleological approach to its own narrative would have been desirable. Ageing, Gender, and Illness features in ‘Routledge’s Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature’ series. A focus on fewer of those perspectives may have allowed a more integrated viewpoint to emerge. [doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqx054] HOFELE,ANDREAS. No Hamlets: German Shakespeare from Friedrich Nietzsche to Carl Schmitt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. 352 pp. £55.00. ISBN 978–0–19–871854–3. This is a truly fascinating monograph which explores the close engagement with Shakespeare which has emerged from Germany between the foundation of the German Empire in 1871 to the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.Ho ¨ fele skilfully presents the complications of the political right’s engagement with the Bard, and especially with Hamlet. In particular he debates Horace Howard Furness’s 1877 assertion that, despite many claims by German Romantic writers, ‘Germany is not Hamlet’ (p. 1). Ho ¨ fele follows his preface with an introduction exploring the Romantic associations of the German nation with the brooding persona of Hamlet. He follows this with a chapter explor- ing Nietzche’s engagement with Shakespeare and his attraction to Julius Caesar. In the second and third chapters, he then explores the inﬂuence of Stefan George on the anti-bourgeois commentary on Shakespeare, alongside the works of his ‘disciples’ Friedrich Gundolf and Ernst Kantorowicz, with a particular focus on the latter’s seminal work The King’s Two Bodies. In the fourth chapter, Ho ¨ fele analyses Goebbels’s reaction to Hamlet following the Treaty of Versailles, as well as the Asta Neilsen ﬁlm version. Chapter ﬁve considers Carl Schmitt’s adoption of Othello as the Shakespeare play which spoke most profoundly to German politics. The sixth and seventh chapters consider the reception of Shakespeare during the years of the Third Reich and the Second World War, which are then followed by another chapter analy- sing Carl Schmitt – this time considering his post-war claims that Shakespeare based the character of Hamlet on James VI of Scotland, soon to be James I of England. The epi- logue chapter brings Ho ¨ fele’s study to its completion with a look at the more recent history of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Deutsches Theater production of Hamlet/Machine, which com- bined Shakespeare’s text with Heiner Mu ¨ ller’s 1977 Hamletmachine, and engaged profoundly with the disintegration of the Communist regime. Detailed, persuasive and elegantly written, this is a fascinating study both for a specialist and a casual reader interested in the engagement between drama and politics. As Western politics takes a turn to the right, this study seems more relevant than ever. [doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqx056] IBELL,PAUL. Tennessee Williams. London: Reaktion Books (Critical Lives), 2016. 192 pp. £11.99. ISBN 978–1–78023–662–9. Paul Ibell’s new addition to the Critical Lives series from Reaktion Books is a very readable study of one of the greatest dramatists of the twentieth century. Ibell captures the relationship between the dramatist’s biography and work clearly and concisely (his comparison between Williams’s childhood and Larkin’s famous remark about the effect of par- ents on their children is particularly apt). This is a great introductory volume for those new to Williams’s work as well as for the casual reader, theatre professional or secondary school stu- dent. The popularity of Williams’s work on GCSE and A-Level syllabuses up and down the country mean that this volume could have a wider impact: its lively and clear style (as well as affordable price) make it a good read for a teenager eager to stretch their knowledge. 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Forum for Modern Language Studies – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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