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260Philosophy and Literature we cannot know anything. Finally, Chapter Six, Apologia Pro Vita Mea, presents the journey — die education and scholarly pursuits — of a soul who wishes, in the final analysis, "to be considered as a teacher or as nodiing" (p. 162). Professor Gardner's book is lively, constructed with lucidity and learning and as clearly written as it is conceived. This alone makes it a welcome anomaly in today's critical market. The author hesitated when asked to give the Norton lectures because she felt that she had nothing new to say. She decided, however, to restate the classical view, and, in so doing, she produced a novel book of contemporary literary criticism. Its major drawback lies in the fact mat the audior brings togedier disparate forces to form a common enemy and, in the ensuing battle, deconstruction is often confused with reader response criticism, Harold Bloom is oversimplified and misrepresented and, unfortunately, in taking on only Fish and Kermode individually, Gardner can hardly be credited widi having defeated her most significant foes. The strength of Gardner's book is not found in a step-by-step critique of "the enemy" but in the force of her own vision of literature which postulates a hierarchy at the top of which sits die imaginative artist. The critic, biographer, and director, unlike the imaginative artist, practice "non-autonomous literary forms" (p. 168). Their role is to interpret works of art, not to replace them, to seek out die privileged meaning in the text, not to create their own meaning. The more we create the meaning of the text, the more solipsisdc our reading becomes and the less we enlarge our being, not only by failing to imagine with other imaginations but by failing to communicate with our imaginative superiors. We must refuse to assert the primacy of language over meaning and, unlike Kermode who concludes diat both books and die world are "hopelessly plural, endlessly disappointing" (p. 135), reaffirm our belief that the great books, like the world, are exhilarating and inexhaustible. The more esoteric and obscure our criticism becomes, the less we influence a world in desperate need of the human values that the great imaginative minds have to offer it. Despite its faults, it is hard to put down this book, in any sense one wishes to attribute to that verb. In Defence ofthe Imagination reiterates in every chapter that Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton are the constants, while critics, biographers, and directors are the variables. Whitman CollegePatrick Henry T. S. Eliot's Intellectual and Poetic Development, 1909 to 1922, by Piers Gray; xii & 273 pp. Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1982, $30.00. An extraordinary success! Piers Gray may not only manage to restore many people's faith in relating philosophy to literature, he may even reconcile civilized readers to the Reviews261 post-pubic ritual of composing doctoral dissertations. Gray's book developed from thesis research at Cambridge, based not least on the Hayward Bequest of Eliot manuscripts at King's College, and he also makes frequent use of Eliot's own Ph.D. doctorate, written on Bradley under Royce at Harvard. For the period between "Nocturne," published in 1909, and "The Waste Land," Gray tells us, "this book attempts to give the general reader the developing arguments Eliot felt compelled to discuss . . ." (p. xi). To follow many ofthe arguments and examples, Gray's choice ofgeneral readers had better read French easily. They had best have reflected already on philosophy of mind, and history, and science. They would do well to have already wrestled hard with die possible meanings of terms like "fact," "theory," "interpretation," "complex," "world view," "miracle," "science," "religion," "sign," "satire," "comprehensive," "unconscious," "coherence," "construction," and "truth." Some Biblical and classical scholarship will not come amiss. Outrageous criteria for general readers? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The fact remains that if readers do have some of this background, they are likely to finish Gray's book with an enhanced understanding and a fuller enjoyment of some remarkable modern poems. In 1909, the story begins, Eliot felt drawn to France mainly by the free-spirited poetry of Laforgue and the Symbolists. In the Paris of 1910 he came to share...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 260-261
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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