In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

210Philosophy and Literature (inter) national history" (p. 152). A final chapter explores Moby Dick as a synthesis of Marxist elements. Melville's true subject is global exploration and commerce; he consistendy questions the values of American democracy and religion, envisages eroticism in economic terms and pushes alienation to schizophrenia. His style, which alternates between third-person narration and direct address, documentation and story telling, blurs the distinctions between fiction and historical facts and, "like Marx's writing, is a powerful incentive to liberation" (p. 198). One can only regret the brevity of this book, which hints at, but does not elucidate, either the relationship between Melville and the French symbolist tradition or Marxist interpretations of Balzac's other novels. Ahearn, nevertheless , is an admirable defender of both Marx and the novelists he examines. Perhaps the greatest merit of this study is its refusal to see these artists as naive, or as victims of ideology. As Ahearn asserts in every chapter, even if they do not come to the same conclusions as Marx, their complex, even contradictory, perspectives are based on an understanding of the economic forces that created their world and ofhuman beings as both pawns and shapers of history. Ahearn proves that Marxist thought does not impose reductive views on modern fiction but rather opens exciting avenues of literary exploration. Whitman CollegeMary Anne O'Neil PictorialistPoetics: Poetry andthe VisualArts inNineteenthCentury France, by David Scott; xii & 210 pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988, $39.50. The dust-jacket cover (and frontispiece) of David Scott's elegandy written and sumptuously illustrated study of the interplay of the visual arts and poetry in nineteenth-century France is beautifully emblematic of die book itself. Daumier's Amateur d'estampes features a "very Baudelaire-like figure" (p. 60), as Scott notes, bending down to leafthrough a collection ofart prints lyingbetween two leather covers the size of a large folio. The prints, that is, looking like the pages of a book—of which one in particular seems to have caught his eye. The reader randomly thumbing through Pictorialist Poetics is likewise quite likely to find somediing upon which to linger, for it is full of delightful insights into the many devices by which poets from Hugo to Baudelaire to Mallarmé have made paintings into texts and poems into spaces in such a way that, as Mallarmé put it, "nothing will take place but the place." Mallarmé expressed diis in the poem widi which this book concludes, Un Reviews211 coup de Dés, a kind of high-water mark of textual spatialization. Leading up to his commentary on that enactment of shipwreck and foam—in which he suggests , for example, how the whiteness of the page has invaded die text—Scott begins by considering the theories ofsuch late eighteenth- and early nineteenthcentury philosophers of art as Lessing, Cousin, and Jouffroy, and shows how French poets were to give a new meaning to Horace's utpictura poesL·: no longer is it a question of poetry being as descriptive as painting but of its being as visual, as static, as much "an artistic arrangement of signifiers" (p. 2). Poetry paralleled painting in its historical development as well, for "just as the primary role of colour was being rediscovered by Romantic painting, Romantic poets were reassuring the fundamental importance ofimage and metaphor in poetry" (p. 15). Words, like colors, were beginning to be used as raw material. Poets like Hugo or Heredia would begin with their rhymes—though it is not at all unlikely that this has always been the case—and work backwards from there, as a painter would "often make a selection ofharmonious colours before getting to work on his canvas and in this way allow his choice of colours to influence his choice of subject" (p. 30). Indeed, Scott points out the degree to which rhyme—and the syntactical inversion it often necessitates—makes us read poetry in a non-narrative, non-sequential way: from right to left, and up and down. The Italian sonnet form, borrowed from the sixteenth century and brought to some kind of perfection in the nineteenth, was particularly conducive to spatialization. Impressionist painting finds an analogue in the "mille touches menues" (p...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 210-211
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.