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Reviews34 1 process by which popular women writers have come to be viewed as academically respectable and have gained entry into a revised canon. The final chapters of TL· Canon and the Common Reader, one of which statistically reviews the successes and failures of women in the academy, and the other ofwhich focuses on the rhetoric that male scholars typically employ about feminists, are somewhat tedious. The thin conclusions are notjustified by the degree of detail. But the main weakness of this book lies in its oddly rigid understanding of feminism. Kaplan and Rose repeatedly stress that feminists show concern for common readers, shun professionaljargon and elitist vocabularies , and spurn the self-promotion and competitiveness that define the conduct of male academics. But not all feminists are outsiders and advocates of a clear, accessible discourse. There are plenty who now occupy (and sometimes misuse) positions of power, just as there are also many who speak and write under the sign of Marx, Derrida, Lacan, or Kristeva and whose highly abstruse language must seem very alien and peculiar to so-called common readers. The restricted boundaries of Kaplan's and Rose's approach are also evident when they comment on the changes that an enlarged canon produces. They tell of programs and curricula that have finally enabled women to read texts that dramatize their own lives and mirror their experiences. This is crucial, to be sure, but it is too limited a notion of the advantages that expanding the literary canon creates. Texts by women, African-Americans, and other marginalized groups frequendy are valuable precisely because they instruct readers about lives different from their own. Indeed, this is one of the foremost reasons to encourage a multivocal canon: it helps us to gain knowledge about cultures, and about issues of race, class, and gender, to which we may not have been exposed before. Kaplan and Rose's failure to register this point is perhaps the most perplexing feature of their otherwise shrewd, incisive book. Wellesley CollegeWilliam E. Cain HenryJames and Revision, by Philip Home; xii & 373 pp. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, $89.00. Philip Home's valuable (and expensive) book examines the structure, style, and process of composition of the New York Edition of Henry James's novels and tales. Home takes as his special concern the nature of James's extensive revision, and in abundant detail he shows the adjustments in tone and meaning that James made in specific texts. Henry James and Revision is scholarship of a 342Philosophy and Literature high order, and it will spur critics to return toJames's writings, and particularly to those he revised, with an enriched sense of their subde, meticulous artistry. The heart of Henry James and Revision is Home's sustained analyses of the early and late versions of Roderick Hudson, The American, TL· Portrait ofa Lady, Daisy Miller, and The Aspern Papers. But Home ranges widely, in both published and unpublished sources, and thus he brings to bear on his discussion of each text a vivid feeling for the shape of James's stylistic development as a whole and evolving conception of his craft. Home also devotes excellent chapters to the planning and execution of the New York Edition, the similarities and differences betweenJames, Keats, Pope, Wordsworth, and Tennyson as revisers of their work, and the striking, complex notion of "re-reading" as "rewriting" that informs James's relationship to the texts that he reviewed and organized for this definitive collection. In a brief final chapter, Home also comments keenly on James's attitude toward writing and revision in the final stages of his career, after the job of preparing the New York Edition had been concluded. And in a helpful appendix, he provides a thorough chronology ofJames's life and literary labors from 1903 to 1912, the period which Home's study surveys. In his exploration of particular texts, Home illuminates well a number of important, often controversial issues, including the ending of The Portrait ofa Lady and the presentation of "point of view" in Daisy Miller. He is a patient, precise critic and possesses an extraordinary awareness of the nuances that distinguish the different versions of the phrases...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 341-342
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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