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Reviews173 Candide to see that the latter differs from the former precisely by its emphasis on plot. Also, the idea that Manon and Des Grieux are the victims of "blind destiny" that "afflicts the two lovers with one randomly chosen catastrophe after another" (p. 128) is extremely debatable, and depends on our taking the word of Des Grieux, that most unreliable of first-person narrators. Elsewhere, Pasco is much better on point of view. Professor Pasco's attempted justification of the rejection of Philip Walker's myth interpretation of Germinal by Grant and Hemmings is unconvincing: they were simply objecting to an excellent, imaginative reading based on a new approach—because it was new. Walker's contribution has been brilliant and seminal. But I am inclined to agree with Pasco rather than Walker in seeing Zola's reference to Ceres in relation to Mme Hennebeau as a straightforward parallel—not as ironic, as Walker suggests. On the other hand, the claim that Germinal "sets off the Voreux-Réquillart giant against a god residing in a tabernacle " (p. 76; italics mine) seems strange: I do not read any such opposition in the novel between these two elements. Professor Pasco's study ofA la recherche du temps perdu is quite right to associate the trio of steeples with the trio of trees (p. 156); indeed, these triads, like that ofthe three farms, are ofcrucial symbolic significance for the psychological makeup of the novel. In spite of some disagreements on points of detail, I came away from this volume impressed with its ambition to forge a broad new way of viewing the genre. The work is imaginative and well informed, and does not shy away from the close reading that is an essential test for any theory. The readings are sensitive and mature, and there is no question in my mind that Pasco's grasp of, for example, the unreliability ofthe narrator ofLImmoraliste is accurate: the views of Laurence Porter and John Booker on this subject are naive and superficial by comparison. Thus, in many details of the analyses as weU as in the generous sweep of argument, this study warrants careful consideration and may have laid the foundations for a major contribution to our understanding of the novel form. University of TennesseePatrick Brady Bergson, Eliot, andAmerican Literature, by Paul Douglass; 210 pp. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1986, $23.00. Whatever happened to Henri Bergson, that Wunderkind philosopher who stirred the intellectual circles of pre-World War I Europe and America? Popularity is often fatal to philosophers, and to hear Paul Douglass teU it, the real Bergson suffered patricide at the hands of "Bergsonism," a warped offspring which diluted and distorted the complex, dialectical thought of the master. 1 74Philosophy and Literature What Douglass's study attempts, then, is two things: a critical reconstruction, orresurrection, ofthe authentic Bergson and a demonstration ofhis importance to T. S. Eliot and modern American literature in general. Against the popular view of Bergson as an irrationalist in philosophy and an anti-formalist in aesthetics, Douglass argues for a more complex picture of a thinker who associated creative intuition with reflection rather than feeling, and who posited a tension between the fixity of language and the fluidity of intuitive forms (which themselves possess a "logic"). Moreover, Douglass believes that Bergson's aesthetic, rooted in a recognition ofthe "paradoxical permanence ofceaseless change," provided a foundation for the modernist poetic techniques of indirection and the use of myth as a way to make sense of the chaos (flux) of memory, time, and history. Given this corrected view of Bergson, one that emphasizes the dialectical quality of his thought, Douglass sees a close affinity between him and T. S. Eliot, arguing against the consensus view that Eliot had abandoned Bergson's ideas for those of F. H. Bradley long before 1920. Douglass makes a good case for the persistence ofBergsonian themes throughout Eliot's criticism and shows how Eliot's struggle with aesthetic issues, like novelty and tradition, intuition and memory, suggests that his relationship to Bergson's ideas was one ofevolving accommodation rather than outright rejection. However, his claim for a Bergsonian influence on later Eliot poetry like...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 173-175
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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