The Mystery Fancier (Vol. 7 No. 1) January-February 1983

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Wildside Press LLC, 2010 - Literary Criticism - 54 pages
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The Mystery Fancier, Volume Seven Number One, January-February 1983, contains: "Captain Joseph T. Shaw's Black Mask Scrapbook," by E. R. Hagemann, "Detection by Other Means," by Bob Sampson, "Joe Orton's and Tom Stoppard's Burlesques of the Detective Genre," by Earl F. Bargainnier, "Bloody Balaclava: Charlotte MacLeod's Campus Comedy Mysteries," by Jane S. Bakerman and "Spy Series Characters in Hardback, Part XIII," by Barry Van Tilburg.
 

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Contents

Volume 6 Number
1
Detection by Other Means by Bob Sampson
7
Joe Ortons and Tom Stoppards Burlesques of
18
Spy Series Characters inHardback Part XIII
30
Movie Reviews by Walter Albert
36
Letters
43
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About the author (2010)

When the National Theatre needed a last-minute substitute for a canceled production of As You Like It, Kenneth Tynan decided to stage Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a work by an unfamiliar author that had received discouraging notices from provincial critics at its Edinburgh Festival debut. Of course, the play, when it opened in April 1967, met with universal acclaim. In New York the next year, it was chosen best play by the Drama Critics Circle. In such an unlikely way, Tom Stoppard came to light. Born in Czechoslovakia, a country he left (for Singapore) when he was an infant, he began his literary career as a journalist in Bristol, where play reviewing led to playwriting. After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Stoppard's reputation suffered through the production of a number of minor works, whose intellectual preoccupations were shrugged off by reviewers: Enter a Free Man (1968; "an adolescent twinge of a play," N.Y. Times), The Real Inspector Hound (1968; "lightweight," N.Y. Times), and After Magritte. But in the 1970s, the initial enthusiasms aroused by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were more than vindicated by the production of two full-length plays, Jumpers (1974) and the antiwar play Travesties (1975), whose immense verbal and theatrical inventiveness made them absolute successes on both sides of the Atlantic. Stoppard's method from the start has been to contrive explanations for highly unlikely encounters---of objects (the ironing board, old lady, and bowler hat of After Magritte), characters (Joyce, Lenin, and Tzara in Travesties), and even plays (Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, The Importance of Being Earnest, Travesties, and The Real Thing, 1982). In the 1970s, Tynan called for Stoppard---as a Czech and as an artist---to engage himself politically. But although political subjects have since found their way into pieces from Every Good Boy Deserves Favor (1977) to Squaring the Circle (1985), politics and art seem to have become just two more of the playwright's irreconcilables, which meet, but never join, in the logical frames of his comedy. The presence of political material---such as the Lenin sections that nearly ruin the second part of Travesties---has occasionally strained the structure of the plays. But in The Real Thing Stoppard is comfortable enough with the satire on art and activism to bring a third subject, love, into the mix. Stoppard has acknowledged his Eastern European heritage nonpolitically, in a series of adaptations of plays by Arthur Schnitzler (see Vol. 2), Johann Nestroy, and Ferenc Molnar.

Charlotte MacLeod was born in Bath, New Brunswick, Canada on November 12, 1922. She immigrated to the United States in 1923 and became a naturalized citizen in 1951. She attended the School of Practical Art, now the Art Institute of Boston. She was a staff artist and copywriter at Stop and Shop supermarkets from 1945 to 1952. She also worked at N.H. Miller & Co. advertising firm from 1952 to 1982 starting as a copy chief and ending up as a Vice President. She wrote two series under her own name, a Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn Mystery series and the Peter Shandy Mystery series. She also wrote two series under the pseudonym Alisa Craig, the Madoc and Janet Rhys Mystery series and the Grub-and-Stakers series. She also wrote Had She But Known: A Biography of Mary Roberts Rinehart and a dozen juvenile books. She won five American Mystery awards and a Nero Wolfe award. She edited the anthologies Mistletoe Mysteries and Christmas Stalkings. She is the co-founder and past president of the American Crime Writers League. She died on January 14, 2005 at the age of 82.

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