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206Philosophy and Literature author should be thought of as an inferred one and that there are different kinds of implied authors (for example, the singular proxy inferred from a single work and the synoptic proxy constructed on the basis ofan entire œuvre), Hix shows how the interaction of narrator, singular proxy, and synoptic proxy influences textual interpretation. Finally, in the fourth part of Morte d'Author, Hix argues that to abandon the assumption of authorial homogeneity does not imply that meaning has no locus and does not preclude aesthetic or moral judgments on texts or writers. Hix's study is admirably clear (analytical in the best sense of the word) and well informed—though he should have referred to the second edition of The Rhetoric of Fiction, which presents a more complex model of authorship than the first and, in particular, sketches a "career author" similar to the synoptic proxy. It draws on a wide variety of examples and proves wonderfully supple (synoptic proxies and singular ones, archives, artisans, and creative modes are not fixed entities but variables). On a few occasions, Hix's phrasing or argumentation are perhaps not sufficiendy precise or entirely convincing. He strongly suggests, for example, that Barthes, Foucault, and Derrida are humanists (p. 69); he considers Harold Bloom a deconstructionist (p. 220); and, in his interesting critique of Nehamas, he reaches conclusions that his own account of the philosopher's work does not quite warrant: thus, to say, like Nehamas, that writer and author are distinct does not entail that they have nothing in common. On a few other occasions, Hix leaves certain assumptions unexamined (for instance, that there is one singular proxy per reading of a text) and certain problems partly unexplored (what exacdy, in terms of his model, are the differences between authors and non-authors?). Still, Hix's study represents a decisive advance in the exploration of authorship and his theory accounts for the many usages of the term "author" and for the many functions they designate better than any other text I know. University of PennsylvaniaGerald Prince Revising Memory: Women's Fiction and Memoirs in Seventeenth -Century France, by Faith E. Beasley; xiv & 288 pp. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991, $42.00. One of the most welcome things about Faith Beasley's thorough study of women's writing and rewriting of history in seventeenth-century France is its shift of focus away from the figure of the king, a decision that sets this study Reviews207 apart from much that has recendy been written about the "patriarchal" politics and discourse of the Grand Siècle. As the author points out in the opening chapter—a useful survey of the meanings of "history" under Louis XIV—most of us have never learned about the many books which tell of the important influence of women on the court politics of early modern France. In certain of the works discussed in Revising Memory, this influence is portrayed as so considerable that the term "matriarchy" is not inappropriate. Beasley's study explores four texts which represent this women-centered and women-dominated view of early modern French society: the Duchess of Montpensier's Mémoires, Lafayette's HistoiredeMadameHenrietted'Angleterre, Villedieu'sDésordres de l'amour, and Lafayette's Princesse de Clives. RevisingMemory is an abundant and provocative bookwhich does many things. It contributes to our knowledge of the writing of history in the seventeenth century. It gives a readable introduction to the work of three major authors. It provides a new readingofone ofthe important literary debates ofthe century, the quarrel about plausibility or verisimilitude and the novel. It expands our knowledge of the generic creativity and experimentation of the "classical" period . And it offers comparative observations on women's and men's writing in this period. Yet Beasley's aim seems not so much to be a systematic gender opposition—male writers are discussed and quoted to establish a contrast on certain points but not studied at great length—so much as to explore the differences among the three women authors and four texts she studies in detail. Montpensier writes in the first person, providing an eye-witness validation, recording her leadership ability, "setting herself up...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 206-208
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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