Contrasting Readings
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ELT 45 : 3 2002 thus continuing a game the Surrealists once enjoyed, marking his sympathy along a scale from 0 to 20. Virginia Woolf was "graded" 3. Yet Man Ray could not control the way others regarded, indeed projected onto, that captivating face. Woolf's power to provoke, in Silver's phrase, "category crises" continues apparently unabated as becomes an ever more visible and recognizable presence in popular culture. The last part of Silver's book gives ample testimony to that effect, including Sally Potter's controversial filming of Orlando and the incident mentioned earlier in this review, the visually impertinent photomontage concocted by the owners of the Hardback Café in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, that affixed Virginia Woolf's head to Marilyn Monroe's body. Silver's energetic compilation of examples makes one wonder whether Woolf's image can really be subjected to more destabilizing appropriations. She insists throughout her richly detailed book that Woolf is the great défier of any categories, ideologies, boundary markers that would fix her in an immutable aesthetic or political stance. But whether Woolf the icon will continue to generate startling new "versions" of herself is an open question. Silver thinks she will. She concludes her book with a series of brief afterimages capturing the persistent flickering of Woolf in the public eye. Her very image, these anecdotes attest, still functions powerfully as symbolic code for fear, femininity, politics, art (alternately genteel and febrile or satiric and iconoclastic). Whatever one's own version of Virginia Woolf icon, we leave this book convinced of Woolf the writer's continuing power to arrest and enchant, soliciting, by the force of her words, each new generation of readers to come to terms with what she could, at any given moment, be meaning and what she might be saying to them. Maria DiBattista ______________ Princeton University Contrasting Readings Jopi Nyman. Under English Eyes: Constructions of Europe in Early Twentieth-Century British Fiction. Costeros New Series 129. Atlanta: Rodopi, 2000. 211pp. $34.00 Daniel R. Schwarz. Rereading Conrad. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2001. ix + 194 pp. Cloth $34.95 Paper $16.95 THESE TWO BOOKS show a sharp contrast in focus and critical approach. Jopi Nyman's Under English Eyes examines a wide variety of fictional and nonfictional texts through the lens of postcolonial theory, aiming to question the construction of English identity in the years be352 BOOK REVIEWS fore the First World War. Daniel Schwarz's Rereading Conrad moves chronologically through the works of a single author and, while responding to contemporary feminist, postcolonial and gay and lesbian readings , largely eschews them for a combination of formalist analysis and humanist critical appreciation which emphasizes the unity of Conrad's oeuvre. The recent contest for the leadership of Britain's Conservative Party, pitting "europhiles" against "eurosceptics," demonstrates that the topic of Jopi Nyman's recent book, Under English Eyes: Constructions of Europe in Early Twentieth-Century British Fiction, is still a contested area of the English national imaginary. Nyman's study uses postcolonial theory to examine British fictional representation of Europe in much the same manner in which Edward Said and Homi Bhabha have examined British imperial fiction. In this analysis, writers such as D. H. Lawrence , Arnold Bennett, and Katherine Mansfield produce a coherent sense of Englishness in opposition to a disavowed and denigrated European Other: Europe is thus both constitutive of, and yet always contrasted to Englishness as the core of a larger British national identity. After a theoretical and conceptual introduction, Nyman proceeds by devoting a chapter each to an eclectic, but thoughtfully chosen series of texts. Canonical works such as Lawrence's Twilight in Italy, Bennett's The Old Wives' Tale, Mansfield's In a German Pension, and Conrad's Under Western Eyes mingle with bestsellers such as Anthony Hope's The Prisoner ofZenda, and Erskine Childers's Riddle of the Sands, as well as Mrs. Alec Tweedie's travelogue Through Finland in Carts. Through a series of persuasive close readings, Nyman notes that most of these texts reinforce Englishness through a process of othering—it is only Conrad's novel which offers the possibility of Bhabha's Third Space "beyond the delimited...


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