byOxford University Press, $2.75..
Mr. Fry’s latest play is one in which tragedy is distilled into comedy. The setting is a great Austrian country house: the time, 1848. when the Hungarians revolted against the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The action centers on the persistent efforts of an Austrian countess to save the life of a worthless young deserter, whom she neither loves nor likes, and whose presence brings dire trouble to her entire household. The main themes are the value of a human life, and the error of using violence even to redress deep wrongs. But, as always in Fry, the language is the thing, and to my taste a fine thing.