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90BOOK REVIEWS Veuillot is described as "an autodidact of genius," an excellent writer whose best work was as a journalist.Although his private life was distinguished by gentleness , modesty, and politeness toward his family and friends, his journalistic career was marked by strident polemics, irony, and cunning wit. A convert to Catholicism,Veuillot used his pen as a sword against"libres penseurs" and to defend "the true faith." Convinced throughout his life that he expressed the opinion of the great majority of Catholics,Veuillot's career was marked with disagreements with many bishops as well as other lay leaders. Mgr. Sibour, Archbishop of Paris, and Mgr. Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans, felt that Veuillot was overstepping his role as a lay journalist and introducing demagogy and laicism into the Church. But other bishops, like Mgr. Parisis of Arras, defended Veuillot, claiming that in a time when priests were not heard in the world at large,lay preaching through the vehicle of the press was necessary. Ultimately, the ultramontane Veuillot was defended by Pius LX,"his pope," whom he championed at every turn. Pierrard does an excellent job of outlining the major issues Veuillot dealt with during his journalistic career, especially the quarrels between intransigent and liberal Catholics within the "Catholic party" over political and religious questions from 1840 through the late 1870's. However, Pierrard fails to acknowledge any work published outside of France on Veuillot and the quarrels of the nineteenth-century Church. Most importantiy he does not cite Marvin Brown's extensive biography of Veuillot (1977), which made masterful use of much contemporary monographic research. One of his most notable interpretive disagreements with Brown's work is that he believes that Veuillot is a precursor of the turn-of-the-century anti-Semites, Drumont of Libre Parole and Bailly of La Croix, while Brown asserts that Veuillot's attitude was rather medieval —seeking the conversion ofJews, as of all unbelievers. An appended essay by Emile Poulat examines Veuillot's legacy, raising tantalizing questions regarding the continued struggle between the Church and modernity and underlining the contradictions implicit in Veuillot's unique position as a lay person, who spoke as the self-anointed defender of the hierarchical Church. Neither Pierrard nor Poulat seems to recognize Veuillot's increased significance as current studies in the history of religion focus on the reemergence of intransigence in the world-wide struggle in many religious denominations against modernity. Anita R. May Oklahoma Humanities Council The Oscar Wilde Encyclopedia. By Karl Beckson. (NewYork: AMS Press. 1998. Pp. xviii, 456. $125.00.) A writer and wit with as much appeal to a wide-reading public and drama devotees as to literary critics and academics, Oscar Wilde has been the subject BOOK REVIEWS91 of more than 14,000 books and articles. Over the past twenty years, he has received more attention than most other nineteenth-century writers. On February 14, 1995—the 100th anniversary of the premiere of The Importance of Being Earnest—he received formal recognition in the Poets' Corner of WestminsterAbbey . A window bearing his name,year of birth, and year of death was officially set in place. Even during his most egocentric phases the poseurWilde, who often boasted that he dedicated his genius to his life rather than his art, never dreamt that his name would be enshrined in the Abbey, where such literary luminaries as Chaucer, Browning, and Tennyson are entombed and where such other famous figures as Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Dickens, and T. S. Eliot have memorials of one sort or another. This encyclopedia, the first ofWilde to appear, is a comprehensive guide to the massive amounts of material onWilde's life and art. Its author, Karl Beckson, who has concentrated a lifetime of study on Wilde and his circle, has written some 750 entries on the most important matters pertaining to a remarkable figure whose extraordinary success and precipitate fall are reminiscent of classical tragedy. Several entries cover significant cultural and literary conceptions ofWilde's period. Each of his works, major or minor, is accorded a separate entry and is followed by biographical information relative to initial publications and subsequent appearances in revised forms. Entries on his lectures, with a special...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 90-92
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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