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170Philosophy and Literature Rortian principles to the global political arena underscores his own contribution to the reconstruction of "Rorty's humanistic pragmatism." Here it would be especially interesting to know what Rorty himself thinks of this extension and application of his ideas. Those readers who expect from Kolendaa polemical engagementwith Rorty's thoughtare likely to be disappointed. His avowed taskis to provide a sympathetic reconstruction of the humanistic pragmatism that lies at the heart of Rorty's philosophy. Kolenda performs this task deftly, combining a careful explication of Rorty's pragmatism with an inspired vision of its possible ramifications. His reconstruction of Rorty's pragmatism not only situates Rorty within an identifiable tradition of humanistic thought, but also deflects the common charge that Rorty's approach to philosophy is nihilistic. Rorty's Humanistic Pragmatism is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature devoted to Rorty's influence on philosophy. Pennsylvania State UniversityDaniel W. Conway Gendered Interventions: Narrative Discourse in the Victorian Novel, by Robyn R. Warhol; xvii & 246 pp. New Brunswick , New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1989, $37.00. In her preface to Gendered Interventions, Robyn Warhol claims ". . . that our prejudice against earnest (as opposed to ironic) direct address stems from our culture's aversion to feminine gestures" (p. vii). Whereas female novelists attempt to make the reader/narratee sympathize with the characters' plights, their male counterparts remind the reader of the artificiality of the novelistic world and encourage detachment from the characters. Warhol's distinction is not, however, engraved in stone. Several of the authors in her study—both male and female—employ both engaging and distancing strategies, although one method tends to predominate over another even in these "cross-gendered" novels. Gendered Interventions is divided into three parts, the first of which castigates feminist critics' reluctance to practice narratology. To redress this lack, Warhol proposes in Part Two a structuralist approach to narratology based largely on Gérard Genette's and Gerald Prince's work on narrative discourse. Throughout the book she essays to detach herself from reader-response critics by implementing Genette's distinction among the narratee, the implied reader, and the actual reader. She admits, however, that this distinction works more neady with Reviews171 male narrators' strategies of distancing than with female narrators' attempts at engagement. Chapters three through six test her theory against a series ofnovels published between 1845 and 1865. Gaskell's Mary Barton provides the perfect example of the engaging female narrator who intervenes throughout her story to advocate sympathy for the working poor. Warhol offers Charles Kingsley's Yeast and Thackeray's Vanity Fair as examples of male narrators' distancing techniques . The narrative interventions in Yeast are more self-conscious than those of Gaskell. According to Warhol they create a metafictional level in which one is continually conscious of the writing process. Throughout her book, Warhol contends that the male authors had other avenues for persuading their audiences and thus did not need to use the novel to communicate direcdy with their readers. Warhol's most interesting chapter is on Uncle Tom's Cabin and Adam Bede. These novels contain both distancing and engaging narrative strategies. Stowe employs the puritan preacher's method of turning signs into sensations, but she feminizes the process by transforming "a masculine means of enforcing spiritual presence into a feminine strategy for evoking presence in fiction" (p. 108). Adam Bede also uses preacher's rhetoric, but Eliot's narrator moves beyond Stowe's in complexity, reminding the reader that the story is realistic, if not real. Eliot sets up parallel worlds of fiction and reality which the reader views simultaneously. She thus provides us with a sophisticated androgyny: "The feminine insistence that the story is 'real' works in tandem with the masculine acknowledgment that it is 'really' a story" (p. 131). While she also discusses Trollope's Can You Forgive Her? and Dickens's Bleak House as cross-gendered texts, Warhol argues that both men departed only rarely from ironic male interventions. Part Three moves beyond discussion of novelistic narrators to consider the difference between Victorian men and women in public roles. Warhol argues that the female alternative to public speaking was novel writing: "By taking...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 170-172
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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