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BOOK REVIEWS larly valuable and stimulating. Florence P. Casteras explores the ways in which Victorian art represents female artiste and other working women. She contrasts the confidence and power so often celebrated in male self-portraits with the ways in which portraits of female artiste (by women or men) compromise their subjects' creativity and self-possession ; we are relieved to find quite "different pictorial realizations of self-expression and self-discovery" after the turn of the century. Yet, as Casteras amply demonstrates, mid-Victorian women could expose the victimization of women artiste and governesses, as Emily Osborn did; they could show as Florence Claxton did in her satirical painting, Woman's Work, how women were made subservient to "children, husband , mentors, prejudicial misconceptions, to modern history iteelf." Osborn's Nameless and Friendless is often discussed today in histories of women's painting, but Claxton's valuable and exciting work was unfamiliar to me. Hopefully further studies will appear on this figure. In the same spirit, George Landow retrieves the work of the turn-ofthe -century sculptor, Margaret Giles, showing how her female nude Hero refigures woman as sublime rather than beautiful: muscular, powerful, physically and emotionally active. If this article does not have all the subtlety and depth of thought which usually distinguish Landow *s work, the closing essay by Amy Koritz makes up for it. This interdisciplinary study first provides an original reading of Wilde's Salome: the heroine is not merely an exotic femme fatale, but, as well, a mystic who has "colonized the spiritual realm for sensual ends." Koritz suggests that most critical readings of Safome, as well as the performance history of Richard Strauss's opera on the subject, expose a kind of cultural compulsion to misread Wilde's play as an apotheosis of perverse sensuality. Most striking, however, is Koritz's analysis of Maud Allan's music-hall dance, "A Vision of Salome," which "embodies the inherent contradiction of an ideology that divided female sexuality... containing one extreme by spiritualizing it and ite opposite by relegating it to the bestial nature of an Oriental. .. Other." This article aptly rounds off a collection which is both exciting and important. Margot K. Louis ------------------- University of Victoria Precursors of Modern Poetry James Olney. The Language(s) of Poetry: Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson , Gerard Manley Hopkins. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993. xiv + 158 pp. $27.50 257 ELT 37:2 1994 EST THIS PUBLICATION of the second Averitt Lecture at Georgia Southern University, Professor Olney focuses on three '"precursors' of modern poetry." He acknowledges that in his book "passages of poetry" constitute "an extraordinarily large proportion of the text" but adds, Ί like to think that the reading of the poems in the course of presentation gave the lectures whatever distinctive quality they may have had." While that may well have been the most distinctive quality of the lectures, at least one assertion in them is perhaps not as unoriginal as it may seem. Olney presents a definition of poetry that may seem elementary to twentieth-century readers, but might have startled many of our predecessors. Of the three features that in his opinion constitute poetry two are obviously traditional: "a heightened rhythmization of language; a heightened figurativity of language." In 1865 Hopkins defined poetry in a similar fashion, as "marked parallelism" in "expression "—rhythm, metre, alliteration, assonance, rhyme—and in "thought." Hopkins stated that the latter results in "the peculiarities of poetic diction": more "metaphor, simile, parable,... antithesis, contrast, and so on." However (though he does not cite this definition), Olney extrapolates "peculiarities of poetic diction" in a way that might have surprised even a modernist precursor such as Hopkins: "a personal formation or deformation of the language, to an extraordinary degree —what I will term 'making strange' with the language. . . . eccentricity of usage." Later he explains that this "quality of strangeness.... can be viewed as eccentricity, queerness, madness, distinctiveness, uniqueness, originality, unconventionality, peculiarity, oddness, singularity , quaintness . . . and we are all familiar with the notion that strangeness is the inevitable companion of what we were once taught to call genius." After giving us some examples, he adds that "strangeness, to remain strangeness, must be specific and intrinsic to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 257-260
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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