Shakespeare Without Tears

$2.75 By Margaret WebsterWHITTLESEY HOUSE
THE readers of Mr. John Mason Brown’s introduction, however cordially they may denounce his apparent admiration for Miss Webster’s title, will agree even more cordially that he has set down the finest possible one-sentence review of her book, a very valuable one indeed, when he says: ‘Although Miss Webster is a scholar and a critic, what keeps her knowledge alive and her perceptions creative is that she is a theatre person.’ Her chapters are, above and before everything, testimony; that is to say, a record ot experience. What she writes about Shakespeare is what she has been taught by the most practical exigencies in the world — those of the actress and, even more important, of the stage director responsible for some of the most satisfying productions of our time. As a director she has been concerned with one objective only: to bring the modern actor, the modern audience, and the permanently living reality of Shakespeare together by finding the point at which they can truly meet. So guided, she picks her way through the often silly quarrels of mere textual scholarship with the unfailing common sense that, in its total leverage and effect, is wisdom. W. F.