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Reviews209 Chapter Three, on French "university criticism," begins with a thoughtful analysis of the antagonism between the non-academic society and the academic. Lernout's goal is to situate the two voices and sort out their contributions; no easy task since the scene is complex and some institutions (like the Collège de France and L'Ecole normale supérieure) are less rigid. The latter institutions were always more hospitable to theoretical innovations, and many of the Normalians are now in the system. Lernout wends his way through this labyrinth meting out praise and blame. His main protagonist is the brilliant, but erratic younger critic, Jean-Michel Rabaté, whose entire production is scrutinized. But along the way he brings into play the important new strand of genetic or manuscript-oriented Joyce criticism fostered by the ITEM group, a development which he, like I, welcome as countering some of the extravagances while giving an opening to a modified poststructuralism in the work of critics like Rabaté. The chapter brings us to the turning point in the development of the French reactions to Joyce, perhaps its most controversial and creative phase. The longestand most informative chapter is devoted to the byzantine situation of Tel Quel and of its principal actor, Philippe Sollers. Here, Lernout outdoes himself, having read nearly everything, noting all the shifts including, ofcourse, the latest to Gallimard. He establishes for "anglosaxophones" the various ideological , critical, theoretical, and political shifts of both Sollers and his mutable flock analyzing Tel Quels very specialJoyce image, which he critiques splendidly. He also deals, though rather peremptorily, with theJoycean impact on Sollers's fiction. We are gready in his debt for this effort. A brief chapter on Anglo-American adaptations of the French Joyce is followed by a lengthy, considered, and highly critical conclusion in which Lernout lines up behind Lentricchia in examining the roots and questioning the elitism, the applicability, and the communication value of poststructuralist approaches (and not only to Joyce). The controversy this book elicits and merits should be tonic for the profession. University of Wisconsin—MadisonDavid Hayman Chaucer's Sexual Poetics, by Caroline Dinshaw; ? & 310 pp. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989, $37.50 cloth, $15.00 paper. In his discussion of the dangers of reading classical texts, the notoriously anti-feminist Jerome drew an image of a beautiful woman captive from Deuteronomy 21:10—13. It is permissible to love "her" but first "she" must shave 210Philosophy and Literature her hair, pare her nails, and give up her native raiment. The gendered message ofJerome's instruction allows Caroline Dinshaw to present him as a paradigm of the way in which his critical descendants continue to define the disruptive Other as feminine and, in order to love "her," limit "her" and ultimately provide "her" with univalent meaning. Dinshaw, using Judith Fetterley's definition of "immasculated" reading, identifies this process as reading "like" a man. (She notes that this is not the same as reading "as" a man, or being male.) What is unusual about Dinshaw's subsequent analysis of Geoffrey Chaucer's poetry is her assertion that despite (and, in some ways, because of) his literary environment and social context, he recognized this model and attempted to critique it. This is not just another attempt to rehabilitate a favorite author, no matter how unlikely a candidate, as politically correct. While Dinshaw's book may be idealistic, it is far from naive. Dinshaw's reading of Chaucer is based upon a close analysis of his play with language and literary models and an exploration of medieval theories of authorship and interpretation. "Throughout Chaucer's poetic corpus . . . ," she explains, "literary representation is understood in terms of the body ... as it enters into social interactions . . . functions in social organization ... is assigned gender value in transactions that constitute social structure." Dinshaw elaborates upon Chaucer's interest in "larger theoretical formulations about language, the self and society." She recognizes his alternatives to "misogynistic formulations," and cites his insistence on an "accounting for the exclusions and effects ofjust such representation." At the heart of Dinshaw's theory seems to be a belief that intelligence and imagination can overcome the cultural encoding of gender roles. If she is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 209-211
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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