Hortense Allart: The Woman and the Novelist by Helynne Hollstein Hansen (review)
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neither a negation nor an antithesis of Romantic idealism. Instead he argues for the essential conspiratorial nature of Romanticism, providing a framework in which to fit the most difficult and perplexing pieces ofthe Romantic canon. By exploringthe Maid ofButtermere scandal, Christensen demonstrates that Romanticism "requires a conspiracy view ofhistory in order to do justice to its keen sense of the intimate analogy of die person with the political" (152). In addition, he analyzes the contradictory sides of Romantic hope. The first six chapters lay the groundwork for the last chapter, which attempts to address the particular problems of the humanities in the modern university. He describes a Romantic ethics that provides a touchstone for the transition of the university from an hierarchical world offalse oppositions to a "humane world of collaborative labor" (192). He wishes to use the conspiratorial nature of Romanticism to restore the common world and envisions this as the future of the humanities through the use ofpoetry and computers. Aldiough Frank McConnell calls this work "the most brilliant, comprehensive, and humanizing discussion of Romanticism" (book jacket), the entire book is centered on a Romanticism defined by Wordsworth and Coleridge. All ofthe new research being completed on women writers is completely ignored by the author. His view ofa new way to study die humanities in the university also seems primarily focused around a project he was involved with at Johns Hopkins Center for Digital Media Research and Development. Thus, in the end, he provides an interesting but disappointingly narrow view of Romanticism and its usefulness for the world ofacademe today. Helynne Hollstein Hansen. HortenseAllart: The Woman and the Novelist . Lanham, MD: University Press ofAmerica, 1998. 294p. Ruth B. Antosh State University of New Yorx at Fredonia Though little known today, HortenseAllan, a contemporary ofGeorge Sand, was a high-profile figure in Parisian intellectual circles during the first halfofthe nineteenth century. Her determination to carve out a career as a serious writer, despite being an unwed mother with few financial resources, would make her noteworthy even in our time. But during rhe early nineteenth century, when bourgeois French women were expected to be models ofvirtue and domesticity, Allan was decidedly unconventional. Helynne Hollstein Hansen's book is a fascinating study of this pioneering feminist. The chapters discuss Allan's novels in chronological order, telling the story ofthe life circumstances surroundingeach work. Since most SPRING 2001 + ROCKY MOUNTAIN REVIEW * 103 ofher fiction was strongly autobiographical, this information is ofgreat importance . Allan's many works of nonfiction — including histories of Florence and Athens, a treatise on Cicero, and essays on religion and on French government — — are glossed over rapidly. Overall, Hansen focuses more on Allan's life than her fiction, although detailed plot summaries and some commentary on each work are included. She draws on a number ofsources, including three previous studies ofdie audior, and die letters ofAllan, Sainte-Beuve, and George Sand. Above all, what emerges from this study is the portrait ofa complex and contradictory personality who lived and breathed the spirit ofRomanticism; though determined to remain independent, she never ceased to search for a soulmate. Unlike Sand, who wed at an early age, Allan objected to the constraints that marriage imposed upon women under the Code Napoléon. As a young woman, she refused to marry, bore two children by two different men, and campaigned in her novels and essays for more liberal divorce laws — a stance that was, for the time, quite radical. Ifshe opposed marriage, Allan certainly was a proponent of free love, and apparently had a remarkable libido. A list ofher attachments reads like a Who's Who of the nineteenth century. She chose her many lovers for their intellect and passion; among the most famous were Chateaubriand, Sainte-Beuve, and the British diplomat Henry Bulwer-Lytton. A loyal friend as well, she was deeply fond ofGeorge Sand and Marie d'Agoult, a novelist who is nowbest known as Liszt's mistress. Her affection for both women was unswerving, even though the former criticized her behind her back as "une écriveuse" and die latter seduced Bulwer-Lytton while he was still carrying on an affair with Allan. Hansen stresses Allan's absence of rancor towards...


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