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Reviews81 or expressing female suffering through a male medium: the male detective, the male narrator, the male confessor. In plots that often revolve around the legal status of marriage and conflicts created by inheritance laws, the women who threaten the social order by challenging patriarchal control of these institutions are incarcerated, punished, and marginalized, thereby reaffirming the status quo. According to Cvetkovich, Daniel Deronda, for example, has a "form of power that replicates, rather than alters, the structures that confined [Gwendolen] in the first place" (9). Gwendolen's confessions yield no effective solution to the place of the nineteenth-century woman who marries for financial security. While all of these novels broach radical critiques of marriage, women's dependence on men for financial security, and patriarchy, each falls short because it represents a political and social problem surrounding gender as a personal or affective problem. Readers' pleasure, Cvetkovich suggests, derives from misrecognition of the causes of pain and misrecognition of the remedy — tears that express both temporary relief and powerlessness to change the system. Most original, perhaps, is Cvetkovich's final chapter, in which she reads Karl Marx's treatise Capital (1867) as a sensational narrative that reveals the suffering of the male equivalent of the sensation novel's oppressed heroine: the nineteenth-century worker. Cvetkovich claims that Marx's idea of value anticipates Saussure's idea of the arbitrariness of the sign, by arguing that the differences between objects create their values just as Saussure argued that differences between signs create their meanings. Mixed Feelings is an important book for students of Victorian fiction and mass culture, as well as scholars interested in negotiating tensions between feminist, new historicist and marxist approaches to popular culture. Cvetkovich's readings of Victorian fiction and culture are original, provocative, and convincing. MARY CHAPMAN University of Alberta David Stove. The Plato Cult and Other Philosophical Follies. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991. xiii + 209. $26.95 US (cloth). D.C. Stove suffers neither foolishness nor fools gladly. Indeed, he suffers them not at all. Moreover, he has a generous interpretation of the 82Victorian Review foolish: it will be a rare reader who does not disagree with at least some of his forthright denunciations. On the other hand, it would be sad if there were readers who did not, occasionally anyway, enjoy his acerbic way with philosophically fashionable foolishness. Stove is impatient with what he perceives as irrationalism, and the opening chapters of The Plato Cult and Other Philosophical Follies continue the assault on cognophobes initiated in earlier works such as Popper and After: Four Modern Irrationalists (Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, and Feyerabend). Despite its title, The Plato Cult is largely occupied with the Victorians. After a quick look at Popper (whose irrationalism is put down in part to horror victorianorum [21]), and a brisk, though telling, assessment of some central views of Nozick and Goodman, he moves on to discuss a currently unfashionable philosophical stance, spending approximately half the book dealing with nineteenth century philosophical idealism ("Idealism: a Victorian Horror Story", Parts I and II) and the almost incredible hold it obtained over practically the entire philosophical community, particularly in England. Idealism, in this context, has little to do directly with ideals, and everything to do with ideas. It is that offshoot of Cartesianism, usually blamed on Bishop Berkeley, which holds that only the mental exists, and all apparently non-mental items are to be accounted for as logical constructs upon a mental base. Conversely, materialism proposes, in principle at least, to account for the mental as being ultimately explicable in terms of the physical. Nowadays almost all practising Anglo-Scandinavian philosophers are materialists of one stripe or another, in part perhaps, as Jerry Fodor has recently suggested, for the same reason that Churchill was a democrat, that is, because the alternatives are so appalling. But things were not always so: In 1887 almost every philosopher in the English-speaking countries was an idealist. A hundred years later in the same countries, almost all philosophers have forgotten this fact; and when, as occasionally happens, they are reminded of it, they find it almost impossible to believe. But it ought never to be forgotten. For it shows...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 81-85
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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