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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Performing Arts

Eroticism and Death in Theatre and Performance by Karoline Gritzner (University Of Hertfordshire Press) Exploring a range of topics, including Greek tragedy, Shakespearean theater, contemporary British plays, opera, and the theatricality of Parisian culture, this compilation provides new perspectives on the relationship between Eros and Death in a series of dramatic texts, theatrical practices, and cultural performances. Detailed and analytical, these informative essays demonstrate how changing attitudes towards sexuality and death—opposed but entangled passions—were reflected in theater throughout the course of history. Psychoanalytical and philosophical models are also referenced in this work that features essays from dramatists Dic Edwards, David Ian Rabey, and David Rudkin. More 

A to Z of American Women in the Performing Arts by Liz Sonneborn (Library of American History: Facts on File) Facts On File's compendium of biographies of 150 American female performers packs a wealth of data into compact form. Pleasingly presented in clean typeface and illustrated with a sprinkling of photos, the book is easy to use. Choice of entries is multicultural and multinational, including Latina dancer Rita Moreno, Osage ballerina Maria Tallchief, Canadian singer and actress Eva Tanguay, and Chinese American actress Anna May Wong. The selection of entries rightly includes foreign-born women like Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor who anchored their careers in the U.S. The book considers performing arts broadly, even reaching out to rodeo for famed Wild West shooter Annie Oakley.

The writing style is simple, yet thorough. Introducing each entry are alternate names (e.g., Frances Anne Butler for Fanny Kemble), birth and death dates, and talents (e.g., Moms Mabley is described as "Comic, Actress"). Entries conclude with suggested biographies and periodical interviews and articles as well as recommended recorded performances, such as the video version of Sophie's Choice, a screen vehicle for Meryl Streep. Rounding out the text are a two-page list of sources, most composed after 1990; a list of entries by metier; a separate list of entries by birth date, ranging from 1800 to 1969; and a meticulous index by name and subject.


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