restricted access Virginia Woolf: New Critical Approaches
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BOOK REVIEWS As a consequence, the Higher Poetry no longer served as inspiration, and Owen, drawing back from the conventional vocabularies of patriotism and militarism as the full lunacy of trench warfare disclosed itself to him, had to make a conscious effort—all the more heroic because he was denying so much of his upbringing, including his mother's teachings —to "deny the discourse of Tîngland'" and the respectability it claimed from Christian principle. Owen's patriotism was no longer an England that had the recognizable contours of the land memorialized in the poetry of Hardy, Kipling, Housman, and even Sassoon; it had transformed itself, by 1917, into "a community of sympathy, like a church or a political party." The nervous strains created by this battle to redefine his allegiances and his vocabulary led Owen to loneliness, illness, and mental breakdown . Shell-shock, a phenomenon introduced to medical science by the Great War but not well understood by the doctors who treated it, affected both the mind and body of any soldier who succumbed to it. The Army was sufficiently sympathetic to Owen's dilemma that it allowed Owen a full fifteen months before sending him back to the front, but he was never wholly cured. His poems after the Craiglockhart experience speak of "betrayal and contempt," and there are any number of "communicative breakdowns." Though war created for Owen a more intense love of his fellow soldier, it also destroyed love. Kerr notes the fact that Owen's poetry shares many of the qualities of "dissociation and fragmentation" found in The Waste Land and apologizes for not developing his insight more fully; but, like many observations recorded in passing in Kerr's monograph, this sets a reader's imagination racing. Yeats was never more wrong than when he summarily dismissed Owen's poems. Owen and Yeats shared many of the attributes of Modernism, as Kerr defines that credo in Chapter 10, The Disciplines of the Wars." It is indicative of Kerr's determination to rethink the whole issue of Owen's poetical significance that he does not think Yeats's dismissive judgment is even worth mentioning. Harold Orel _________________ University of Kansas Virginia Woolf: New Critical Approaches Diane F. Gillespie, ed. The Multiple Muses of Virginia Woolf. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1993. xi + 273 pp. $37.50 527 ELT 37:4 1994 John Mepham. Criticism in Focus: Virginia Woolf. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. 135 pp. $39.95 THE EIGHT ESSAYS collected in Diane Gillespie's The Multiple Muses of Virginia Woolf constitute a comprehensive and provocative reappraisal of Woolf s knowledge of and appropriation of the non-literary arts that contributed to the modernist rebellion. Gillespie has assembled sustained, detailed, and vigorous analyses not only of how Woolf incorporated musical or pictorial elements into her fiction but of the rich cultural milieu in which she and the Bloomsbury Group lived. As a source book, it is thick with information that any reader of Woolf will find useful; but it is also a fascinating glimpse into a perceptive mind that observed and evaluated artists and theorists on the cutting edge of modernism. Woolf defined the novel as a "cannibal" that could incorporate and transform all sorts of aesthetic experiences. To gather experience, she attended exhibitions, concerts, operas, films, and ballets and then talked about them with artists and critics who were in the process of revolutionizing the arts. With Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell, Clive Bell, and Duncan Grant, she discussed the theories and techniques of Post-Impressionist painting; with Lydia Lopokova and Maynard Keynes, dance; with Saxon Sydney-Turner, Ethel Smyth, and E. M. Forster, music; with Leonard Woolf, Dora Carrington, and Ottoline Morrell, photography and film. The authors of this anthology explore Woolf s diaries, letters, essays, and novels to cull evidence that she actively confronted the avant-garde of her day and constructed her own vital sense of modernism. Art historian Christopher Reed begins this volume by showing how "feminism and formalism meet in Woolf s works to challenge hierarchies of values and assumptions about aesthetic experiences created largely by male writers." Reed argues that, although Fry taught Woolf how to look at...


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