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BOOK REVIEWS Taking this study as a whole, one serious flaw is that neither Bauer nor McClure nor Hanson discuss in any detail the verse epigraphs and poems and their effect on the tales. Often a poem is essential to the plot. The Gardener" as history of an unwed mother is only one possible reading without The Burden," in which Helen reveals the inner suffering beneath her "respectable" front: To lie from mom to e'en/To know my lies are vain -/Ah, Mary Magdalene,/Where can be greater pain?" Though Bauer's comments on They'" are penetrating, she fails to make the connection with the prefatory poem. If in the tale itself "we learn the truth only when the narrator does," The Return of the Children,"though undoubtedly sentimental, has forewarned the reader that something unheimlich is to come. This reviewer must also regret that, except in discussing the children 's stories, little attention is paid to the relationships between stories within Kipling's collections. They function like architectural drawings, each of which shows a different elevation or floor plan, which the beholder must mentally assemble to make a portrait of the house. So in Many Inventions (for instance) military, naval, Indian stories combine with tales of the imperial capital to make a "conspectus of Empire" (to use Kipling's own phrase). Read together, they show both its power and its cost in human terms among the lower ranks of the rulers (the cost to the ruled, though he demonstrates it elsewhere, is not a theme in Many Inventions). The limitations of Bauer's book were no doubt imposed by lack of space. What it does, it does reliably and well. But without noticing the links between poem, story and neighbouring texts, it is not possible to have what Bauer calls "the true Kipling experience." Lisa A. F. Lewis Wallingford, England Förster Theorized Tony Davies and Nigel Wood, eds. Ά Passage to Indm". Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1994. xiv + 172 pp. $19.95 THIS VOLUME OF FOUR specially commissioned essays on A Passage to India in the Open University's Theory in Practice series has as its main aim a closing of the rift between literary theory in the abstract, as presented in monographs, journals, and academic conferences , and the study of a specific canonical text in the undergraduate classroom. Tony Davies's introduction demonstrates how the tradition 523 ELT 38:4 1995 of humanist criticism framed and then limited debate about this text, and then ably and succinctly surveys recent, more overtly politicized and histericized readings. Davies traces how discussion has increasingly moved away from Forster the author to open-ended text-centered approaches focussing on gaps, fissures, and the troubling parts that could never quite be tucked in by New Critical methodologies. He argues that these problem areas now lie revealed through Marxist, feminist, and postmodern criticism and problematize the text in ways that earlier readings, less self-consciously theorized and serving different ends, did not. Introduced by Nigel Wood, each of the essays is based on a particular theoretical orientation, outlined at its opening. A sense of continuing dialogue is fostered by the questions Wood poses to each writer at the essay's conclusion and by the list of "Further Reading" that closes the volume. Parminder Bakshi's The Politics of Desire" usefully sets the novel in the Orientalist context laid out by Edward Said, showing how Edwardian homosexuality idealized and gravitated to the freedom of southern cultures, and how Forster himself participated in this romanticization of the Other. She then attempts to demonstrate that "from the beginning... to its end, A Passage to India is concerned with homosexual love." This deliberately sweeping claim is typical of her argumentation throughout. The violence in the Caves episode, for instance, "signifies a collapse of Western civilization and heterosexual society," and in the story of Adela, Forster "proceeds to demolish marriage." Bakshi summarizes how awareness of Forster's sexual life, a knowledge unavailable to previous generations of critics, demands a reckoning with the novel's suppressed homoeroticism and troubled handling of heterosexuality. Stimulating and valuable in its expanded definition of Orientalism, Bakshi's reading nonetheless occasionally tends to strain...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 523-526
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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